Hibs' Leeann Dempster: nothing is off the table in battle against "idiots"

9 March 2019, 07:26 | Updated: 9 March 2019, 07:28

James Tavernier

Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster has refused to rule out closing sections of Easter Road after another night of shame in Leith.

For the second time in six days the conduct of the Edinburgh club's fans has been thrust into the spotlight after the bottle-throwing incident with Celtic's Scott Sinclair was followed by another shocking scene during Hibs' 1-1 draw with Rangers on Friday night.

The capital side provided an extra 50 stewards in a bid to prevent a repeat of last Saturday's Sinclair controversy.

But it failed to prevent a man leaping from the same stand the bottle was hurled from to confront Rangers skipper James Tavernier as he bent down to pick up the ball on the stroke of half-time.

The pitch invader booted the ball from Tavernier's hands but was quickly led away after squaring up to the Englishman.

Police Scotland have confirmed a 21-year-old man is now in custody.

The episode is the latest in a list of shameful incidents that have occurred this season and it is sure to spark a fresh round of debate on the need for Scottish football to clean up its act.

Asked if closing sections of the ground from which trouble emerges was one option to ensure it does not happen again, Dempster replied: "I don't think anything is off the table, to be honest.

"Instead of talking about a good game of football we are talking about an idiot - again. So nothing can be off the table."

Dempster headed straight for the Rangers dressing room after the match to offer an apology to Tavernier.

And she admitted she was "embarrassed" by the latest episode that has dragged both Hibs and Scottish football back into the gutter.

She said: "Given everything we have talked about and what has been said and written in the past six days I find it astonishing I have to sit here this evening and talk about another incident.

"The person you saw is in custody, where he should be as far as I'm concerned, and we'll find out more about it but he won't come to another football match at Easter Road. Ever. That is within our gift to deliver.

"There is security there and there are briefings and it is unfair perhaps on us and other clubs when idiots like this who are determined manage to get through and do what they do.

"Clubs work really hard to try and stop this type of behaviour and it is astonishing it has happened for the second time in a week given what happened last Saturday.

"I had to write to Celtic and Scott Sinclair to apologise and I've had to apologise to James downstairs. I apologised on behalf of the club, I told him the individual was in custody. I said to him we were embarrassed by it and James was gracious and took our apology."