Crackdown On Violence Ahead Of Old Firm Clash

Police officers are warning they're gonna be cracking down on drink-fuelled violence linked to the Old Firm clash at Parkhead later.

Last time Rangers and Celtic met more than 229 people were arrested in the Strathclyde force area.

In some cases, prisoners were said to have been driven 50 miles as police cells filled up.

Speaking ahead of the fifth Old Firm tie of the season, Strathclyde Police Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Corrigan said:

``They get drunk, become full of aggression and inevitably end up getting into bother. Alcohol is the problem, football is just the excuse.

Mr Corrigan also said sectarian and racist behaviour and abuse at football games, as well as provoking opposing fans and players, was ``completely out of order and will simply not be tolerated''.

He said Football Banning Orders for up to 10 years could be handed out along with ``hefty fines'' for the ``senseless conduct''.

At the last Old Firm match on February 20th, 16 men were arrested within the grounds of Celtic Park for alleged offences of a sectarian nature. Five have since received a Football Banning Order from two to three years and fines ranging from #130 to #400, police said.

Around 1,000 police officers were deployed on the day, while incidents of reported domestic abuse also rose.

The leader of Scotland's rank-and-file police officers said earlier this week that the only way to cut violent attacks was to ban the matches in the future.

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