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