In a shocking incident that reignited concerns over fan safety at football derbies, a teenage Rangers supporter made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Nineteen-year-old Lee Findlay took things too far during a heated clash between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium. On January 2, 2023, amidst the tension and rivalry, Findlay, then 17, targeted Celtic fans with a glass bottle, injuring Owen Murphy. The match itself, a rollercoaster that ended in a 2-2 draw thanks to Kyogo Furuhashi’s last-minute equaliser.

Findlay’s choice of weapon? A Buckfast bottle, hurled into the away crowd as the game neared its end, leaving Murphy with two cuts on his forehead and permanent scars.

This has led Celtic to take a firm stand, refusing tickets for matches at Ibrox due to serious concerns over the safety of their fans. It’s not just about one incident; it’s about a pattern of behavior that’s seen fans and staff alike endangered by objects thrown by home supporters. The last match at Ibrox, played solely in front of Rangers fans, saw Celtic emerge victorious in a 1-0 win.

Facing the consequences of his actions in Glasgow Sheriff Court, Findlay, a first-time offender, pled guilty to culpable and reckless conduct.

The court learned of the moments leading up to the attack, with CCTV capturing Findlay scanning the crowd before launching the bottle towards unsuspecting Celtic fans. [SunSport]

Despite his lawyer, Haroun Malik, arguing that Findlay never intended to hit anyone, the seriousness of his actions was undeniable. Malik highlighted Findlay’s youth and remorse, noting his reduced alcohol consumption and shame over his actions, yet the impact on Murphy remains.

Soccer Football – Scottish Premiership – Rangers v Celtic – Ibrox, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – September 3, 2023 Celtic’s Callum McGregor and Joe Hart walk onto the pitch after half time REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Sheriff Mark McGuire didn’t mince words, emphasizing the gravity of Findlay’s actions within the charged atmosphere of a derby game. The sentence handed down—150 hours of unpaid work, a year under supervision, a curfew, and a five-year ban from football matches. Additionally, Findlay is to compensate Murphy with £300, a small gesture towards amending the harm caused.

This incident underscores a larger issue that can’t be ignored. Until Rangers implement a foolproof strategy to ensure the safety of fans, especially during the derby matches, Celtic cannot, in good conscience, expose their supporters to such risks.


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