Blind Sunderland fan 'spat on and abused' in incident after football match in Scotland

Hibs fan Carl McGee says he will think twice before going back to Ibrox, Picture: David Wood
Hibs fan Carl McGee says he will think twice before going back to Ibrox, Picture: David Wood

A blind Sunderland fan said he felt “ashamed” after being allegedly spat on and subjected to a tirade of vile abuse by a supporter at a match in Scotland.

Black Cats fan Carl McGee, who is also a Hibernian fanatic and travels from Durham to Scotland for both home and away games, said he was left fearing for his safety after the incident outside Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow ahead of Hibs' clash with Rangers on Saturday.

Mr McGee said he suffered brutal personal insults after a man approached him and a friend while they walked towards the away end before kick-off.

The 30-year-old, known to friends as “Macar”, claimed the man then spat at him before laughing and walking away.

Police Scotland reported five arrests for public disorder offences were made inside the stadium in a sign of the unrest surrounding the fixture.

He revealed he had “never experienced anything like” the same ill treatment at any stadium he had previously visited.

“I could feel him spitting on me, but obviously I can’t tell if I managed to wipe it all off,” he said. “I felt a bit ashamed, I don’t know how long I was walking around with someone else’s spit on my jacket.

“Obviously, I’m then going back down to Durham, so I am travelling four or five hours and I was nervous of what people might think of me.”

He added: “I’ve been away at lots of grounds, even with Sunderland to places like Newcastle and Middlesbrough, which are big local derbies, and I have never had anything like this happen, so it was a real shock.”

Mr McGee was later escorted back to the train station by fellow Hibernian supporters after the match.

He said the incident would not stop him from attending matches, though he would reconsider buying a ticket to attend Ibrox when Hibs visit next season.

“It won’t stop me from going to games,” he said. “I love football and the club too much for that, but it will certainly make me think twice before going back to Ibrox again.”

Hibernian won the match 2-1, but off the pitch five people were arrested for offences including breach of the peace, and culpable and reckless behaviour.

Two arrests were made for offences relating to the controversial Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, three weeks after Members of the Scottish Parliament on a justice committee recommended its repeal.

One final arrest was made for a sectarian breach of the peace during the 90 minutes of play.

In December, Rangers fan Sean Cowan, 54, admitted posting death threats about Hibs manager Neil Lennon on a fans forum after a match between the two sides in August.

Hibs fan representative Tracey Smith said: “Any incidents fed back to myself and the other fans representative have been passed over to our safety officer.”