Football: Scots probe Cup final violence as mayhem follows Hibs' historic win over Rangers

Fans clashing on the pitch after Hibernian defeated Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final in Glasgow on May 21, 2016.
Fans clashing on the pitch after Hibernian defeated Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final in Glasgow on May 21, 2016.

GLASGOW (AFP) - A full investigation will be carried out into the violence that followed Hibernian's historic Scottish Cup win after goal posts were destroyed, the Hampden pitch ripped up and Rangers received their losers medals in the dressing room.

The Easter Road side claimed a famous 3-2 victory thanks to a stoppage-time winner to claim the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1902.

Thousands of Hibs supporters flooded onto the pitch at full-time to celebrate and were followed by some Rangers fans.

A number of pitch battles between rival fans then broke out and mounted police were deployed to keep supporters apart.

Police horses were last needed at the 1980 Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Rangers.

As Hibs fans returned to the stands, parts of the national stadium's pitch were ripped up and goal posts broken.

The invasion significantly delayed the presentation of the trophy and there was no lap of honour by the Hibs players.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said he was appalled by the scenes of disorder and condemned the "contemptible behaviour" of supporters.

"The damage that has been caused and the disruption to what has been a fantastic football match has taken the gloss off what should have been a memorable occasion for Hibernian," he said.

"The Scottish FA, along with Police Scotland and the stadium management have initiated a full investigation into the scenes that unfolded to understand how such a volume of supporters were able to enter the field."

Police Scotland said a dedicated investigation team was being set up to identify those involved in acts of disorder and violence.

Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald of Police Scotland added: "Officers, including the force's mounted branch, responded and brought the matter under control as quickly as possible.

"We understand that feelings run high at these events and fans want to celebrate their team's win, however the reckless behaviour of fans entering the pitch is totally unacceptable and inexcusable.

"This created a significant safety issue. This action led to an outbreak of disorder between rival fans on the pitch."

A spokesman for Rangers said the club's players and staff were forced to receive their runners-up medals in the dressing room due to fears for their safety after a number were assaulted on the pitch.

"Rangers Football Club is shocked at the disgraceful behaviour of Hibs fans at full-time," the spokesman said.

"Rangers players and staff were assaulted by these fans who invaded the pitch and in the interests of their own safety could not return to the pitch for the medal presentation.

"There can be no place for the violent behaviour witnessed at the end of the final and Rangers fully expect the Scottish Football Association and Police Scotland to launch an investigation to find out where security measures failed and why.

"The club would like to commend Rangers fans for the restraint they showed under severe provocation."

Hibs manager Alan Stubbs condemned the scenes but said he wouldn't allow it to take the shine off his side's victory.

Anthony Stokes grabbed a double and captain David Gray scored an injury-time winner as Hibs made up for the disappointment of missing out on promotion to the Scottish Premiership by claiming the cup and a place in the Europa League qualifiers.

"It's not going to take away the satisfaction of what we've just achieved. I can understand it but I can't condone it," Stubbs said.

"It's disappointing and we don't want to see it, but from our point of view it was a fantastic game and we managed to do it and show a little bit of bottle.

"I said to them before the game 'Don't be part of history; make it'. They certainly did that today and I'm so proud of them.

"Whatever happens we will have to take it on the chin and rightly so.

"It is unfortunate but from my point of view we have to protect the image of the football club. We don't want to see anything like that or cause trouble but it was just over-exuberance and relief."

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie added: "It is deeply disappointing that this happened. It shouldn't have happened.

"The images should have been about the club celebrating the win as opposed to any other aspect of it."