Back in May Scottish football’s show-piece game descended into some of the most shameful scenes witnessed in a Scottish stadium in 30 years. After 114 years of failure Hibs finally had their hands on the Scottish Cup and thousands of their fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate, gesticulate, intimidate and, ultimately, assault several Rangers players. A small group of Rangers fans responded and made their way onto the pitch and some violent scuffles broke out. It took mounted police to clear the pitch and finally restore order before Hibs could be presented with the trophy.
So why, when reading the disciplinary charges issued by the Scottish FA today, is there only reference to property being damaged? Have the Scottish FA decided that assaults on players by supporters no longer merit punishment? Most importantly, is damaging some LED advertising hoardings a more serious offence than throwing punches at footballers trying to make their way off the pitch after a match?
There is a very distinct feeling that all parties involved in the shambolic organisation of the final are hoping it will just all go away. From Police Scotland dismissing a complaint over their handling of the game, bizarrely, claiming more cops could have caused fatalities to the Scottish FA’s independent report which spoke at length about moats.
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan has bumbled from one disaster to another throughout his time atop Scottish football. This blatant disregard being shown for the safety of players must be the one which finally topples him. Rangers must respond to this in the strongest possible terms. Not to excuse the behaviour of those in Rangers colours who made their way onto the pitch at full-time but to level almost identical charges at both clubs is beyond farcical.
Maybe the Scottish FA will surprise everyone in October by handing down a much harsher penalty to Hibs than Rangers. Then again why would you want to punish some “over-exuberance”. Isn’t that right SFA board member and Hibs chairman Rod Petrie...