34 Old Firm Arrests

Thirty-four people were arrested as Celtic beat Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at Parkhead.

An SPL match at Celtic Park last month led to 16 arrests within the stadium and more than 200 in the Strathclyde force area.

SPF chairman Les Gray says police no longer have the budget to deal with trouble at the games, and he wants the derby to be played behind closed doors or banned altogether.

Strathclyde Police said last night's arrests were for a variety of sectarian, racial and breach of the peace offences.

Police had warned they would crack down on drink-fuelled violence linked to the match after trouble in the wake of the last Old Firm game.

Speaking after the latest clash, which saw Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist and Celtic manager Neil Lennon having to be separated after the match, Mr. Gray said: ``What happens on the pitch is reproduced throughout Scotland, on the streets, in pubs, in homes.

``You cannot justify it. It can't keep on going.''

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says the violence has more to do with alcohol and is less about football.

The Scottish Football Association has launched an investigation into last night's match.

Chief Executive Stewart Regan said: ``I was both saddened and deeply embarrassed to witness the scenes that unfolded during what is supposed to be Scottish football's flagship fixture.

``I acknowledge the pressures of expectation on both clubs but last night's behaviour crossed the boundaries of acceptable conduct at a football match.''

 

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