The sight of a fan manhandling James Tavernier on the pitch at Easter Road on Friday was “a nightmare”, according to the Hibs striker, Marc McNulty, who witnessed the incident at first hand during an otherwise thrilling 1-1 draw with Rangers.
“You don’t want this in football, it ruins the game,” McNulty said of the moment when the intruder cleared the advertising boards to confront the Rangers captain before being hustled off by stewards and police.
“From a purely football point of view, if we’re playing well it stops the momentum if the game’s held up for a while to deal with it. When police are involved, it’s a bit of a nightmare. I can understand fans getting frustrated and having a go at the opponents, but you can’t accept chucking stuff on the pitch or jumping on the pitch the way this guy did.
“You can’t think about these things when you go out there, but if someone does come on you don’t know what they might be carrying or what their intentions are, so you need your wits about you.
“Thankfully the police dealt with it quickly, but it really isn’t acceptable. Listen, we all know it’s the passion that makes these games, but there has to be a line in the sand, 100 per cent.
“There’s a fine line between giving out stick – which everyone takes, it’s part and parcel of the game – and jumping that barrier and getting in a player’s face. When people are doing stuff like that, it’s makes things really hard.”
The latest instance of spectator disorder in the Scottish game came six days after someone – also in the East Stand at Easter Road – threw a glass bottle at Scott Sinclair as the Celtic winger prepared to take a corner kick.