A Rangers fan has been banned from attending football matches after being part of a brawl with Dons fans before a game in Aberdeen.
Blain Lang, 25, was at the Saltoun Arms pub on Frederick Street when it was “attacked” by a group of Aberdeen supporters and a mass brawl broke out.
Rangers supporters streamed out of the bar and running battles took place in the surrounding streets, in the course of which, Lang pushed a male to the ground.
Now Sheriff Lindsay Foulis – who himself attended Pittodrie last Tuesday evening as a Dundee fan – has banned Lang from all stadiums in the UK and hit him with a hefty fine.
Fiscal depute Peter Finnon played Aberdeen Sheriff Court dramatic CCTV footage of the area outside the Saltoun Arms.
Sheriff: ‘I was at Pittodrie on Tuesday night’
The incident happened around 2.45pn on April 23 last year, shortly before the Aberdeen v Rangers match was due to kick off at 4.30pm – a match which the Dons won 2-0.
Beginning to play the video footage, Mr Finnon explained the Saltoun Arms was a bar where away fans would congregate before matches.
The footage then zoomed in on a group of men wearing balaclavas and face coverings approaching from Park Street, who the fiscal said were Aberdeen fans.
Pausing the video, Sheriff Foulis enquired: “Do they go to a particular section of the ground, just out of interest?
“I was at Pittodrie on Tuesday night as a Dundonian.
“There’s a group who seemed to be all dressed in exactly the same clothing who sat in the west enclosure.”
‘He was advised the pub was under attack from Aberdeen supporters’
Mr Finnon advised this was the Red Shed where the “ultras” sit, but said he was “not sure” if the men in the video sat in that stand.
Returning to the footage, the fiscal described how it depicted a “pursuit” and the Rangers fans returning to the pub.
A large police presence was also visible in the footage, with officers trying frantically to bring the situation under control but struggling due to the sheer number of people.
Mr Finnon also asked the court to impose a football banning order.
Lang, of Capelrig Road, Glasgow, pled guilty to a charge of breach of the peace by, while within a brawl, pushing an unknown male and causing him to fall to the ground.
Defence agent Lisa Reilly said her client had driven up from Glasgow alone for the game before meeting friends in the Saltoun Arms, although he was not drinking.
She said: “While within the pub, he was advised the pub was under attack from Aberdeen supporters and a large number of people ran out and he ran out with them.
“He did not know the area and essentially followed the crowd.
“He accepts that, during that, he pushed an unknown male.”
‘Prevents you from attending football at the business end of the season’
Ms Reilly said Lang’s bail conditions during the prosecution had allowed him to keep attending matches at Ibrox and that there had been no further trouble.
Arguing against a blanket banning order, the solicitors explained Lang had a season ticket at Ibrox with his three-year-old daughter and other family, and also helped drive people with additional needs to matches.
Sheriff Foulis said: “Clearly there’s an organised police presence. Do they have prior intelligence or is it because the Saltoun Arms is a pub frequented by Rangers fans?
“Historically, going back to Mr Simpson and Durrant it emanates from, there’s a certain…”
“Rivalry?” Mr Finnon suggested.
The sheriff continued: “I think more than that.”
Sheriff Foulis ordered Lang to pay a fine totalling £1,040 and imposed a six-month football banning order, taking in all stadia in the UK or involving UK teams.
He added: “As a football fan myself, I’m perfectly conscious that, as a result of the imposition of a six-month football banning order, it prevents you from attending football at the business end of the season.
“But it will enable you to start attending very shortly into the new season.”
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