Neil­son urges fans to show calm ahead of Celtic’s visit

The Herald - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - GARY KE­OWN

ROBBIE NEIL­SON, the Hearts man­ager, last night is­sued a plea for calm ahead of the League Cup quar­ter­fi­nal visit of Celtic and warned the trou­ble­mak­ing fans be­ing hunted at Tynecas­tle that they will be rooted out and banned.

The Ed­in­burgh club apol­o­gised to Ross County at the week­end af­ter a sup­port­ers’ bus was at­tacked in the wake of their 2-0 Lad­brokes Premier­ship win and have been work­ing with Po­lice Scot­land to as­sem­ble ev­i­dence against the in­di­vid­u­als in­volved.

Matches be­tween Hearts and Celtic at Tynecas­tle are tra­di­tion­ally heated with the former man­ager of the league cham­pi­ons, Neil Len­non, be­ing jumped on by a home sup­porter on the touch­line dur­ing a match in 2011.

How­ever, Neil­son in­sists a group of young hooli­gans, un­der­stood to be no more than 30 in num­ber, will not be per­mit­ted to ruin much of the progress that has been made by Hearts dur­ing their re­turn from ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“We can erad­i­cate this from the club and we want to make this a great venue for peo­ple with kids, wives and ev­ery­one to at­tend,” he said. “Peo­ple should not be scared to come to Tynecas­tle. We want it to be a dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ment for op­po­si­tion teams – loud and en­er­getic – but there’s a line that can’t be crossed.

“We are mov­ing for­ward in so­ci­ety and can’t have things hap­pen­ing like at the week­end and pre­vi­ous week­ends. I think the state­ment from the club was great. We won’t ac­cept it. Yes, we want en­ergy and pas­sion and noise, but there is a line that can’t be crossed.

“The good work that has been done here won’t be un­done. The eas­i­est thing in the world would be to sweep it un­der the rug, but we want to high­light it, make sure it gets sorted and be sure that the fans who come to the game un­der­stand we are try­ing to stop this. They can help us.

“Last sea­son, we didn’t have a lot of po­lice. It was done by stew­ard­ing at a lot of the games and I think that is the fu­ture for this club and a lot of clubs, be­cause it is ex­pen­sive to po­lice a game. We will erad­i­cate it, move on and talk again about the good things that are go­ing on.”

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