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Pyrotechnics at football matches must stop, says Ross County manager Malky Mackay

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.
Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

Malky Mackay has called for pyrotechnics to be stamped out of football following constant disruption from visiting supporters during Ross County’s defeat to Dundee United.

Although County took the lead through Blair Spittal, a double from Nicky Clark turned the match in United’s favour to secure fourth place in the Premiership.

The match was delayed on several occasions due to pyrotechnics being thrown on to the pitch by United’s travelling support – before, during and after the game.

Sections of the United support also twice invaded the pitch, with midfielder Kevin McDonald injured amidst one of the rushes on to the field.

Although he could understand the excitement of the visiting fans Mackay took particular issue with the use of flares, insisting he was concerned for the safety of stewards and officials who had to remove them from the playing field.

Mackay said: “It’s the last day of the season and there was a kind of carnival atmosphere.

“What it did was gave us a great atmosphere, with them bringing so many fans with them.

“But that safety aspect, with pyrotechnics coming on, is something that needs to stop in Scottish football as it can hurt people.

Ross County stewards remove a smoke bomb from the pitch.

“People have actually got to lift those off the pitch, and they are 500 degrees. I really don’t enjoy that at all, and it happened too much.

“I’m fine with the party atmosphere and people spilling on and off, as it’s one of those days.

“But the pyrotechnics need to be looked at and addressed in Scottish football.

“People are behaving in a certain way now they are back at football, which didn’t really happen before.

“It’s something that across the board isn’t acceptable, if we are talking about safety at football clubs, and respect at grounds for anything and everything.

“There are stewards trying to get these things off the park, which is putting their lives in danger.”

United boss Tam Courts stopped short of condemning the actions of the visiting supporters.

He said: “That (pyrotechnics) seems to be the way fans want to showcase themselves in a carnival atmosphere.

“The fans pitched up in huge numbers and gave us tremendous backing. We certainly felt that presence.

Dundee United boss Tam Courts.

“Kevin McDonald slipped and someone landed on top of him. I think it was his shoulder that got hurt.

“The Dundee United fans have been so starved of success for a club of this size, and have given absolutely everything home and away this season. I think they can be forgiven for being a bit over-zealous.”

County went into the game knowing they would finish sixth regardless of the outcome, with their own European hopes coming to an end earlier this week.

Mackay was pleased his own players got the opportunity to show their appreciation to the Staggies fans in a lap of honour after the match.

He added: “We were at home and I took the players in as I knew it would calm down.

Blair Spittal celebrates netting for Ross County.

“It was good to get this appreciation. I spoke to the players and told them to have their 10 seconds of disappointment – even then they got five seconds.

“I wanted them to get back out there, as this is about the 38 game season and making sure they are proud of who they are, of who their families are and the badge.

“They have to be proud of what they have achieved for Ross County this season because a lot of them are not going to be here next year. That group will split up now, and it’s just important they go and thank their fans.

“As the year has gone on, there has been a real connection between our fans and players.”

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