Celtic Supporter Liaison Officer John Paul Taylor has responded to supporter complaints after worrying images emerged of pre-match problems outside of Tynecastle last night.
Celtic fans took to Twitter yesterday evening to highlight what was described as ‘a disaster waiting to happen’ after fans were herded into Heart’s home ground prior to the Scottish Premiership clash.
Another disaster waiting to happen at Tynecattle tonight. How long has this to be tolerated. We pay £34 to be herded in and put in potential crush situations. Has @celticfc asked Anne Budge how many trained stewards she pays for on match night? @CelticFCSLO pic.twitter.com/5Q1bFzO572
— Jeanette Findlay (@JeanFind) December 18, 2019
It’s not the first time there have been concerns about the way Celtic fans are handled at the Stadium. In May 2018, a video was posted online that showed supporters being pushed back by stewards with one of the gates (The Scottish Sun).
Now in the face of more complaints, the Celtic SLO has vowed to looked into the problems.
The Govan Emerald CSC got in touch with him on social media this morning to share concerns that ‘someone is going to get hurt’, with JP Taylor quick to reply and assure the supporter that he’s aware of the issue, calling for a review of arrangements.
@CelticFCSLO Jp some of photos av seen fae last night are shocking some ma members were at stadium fae 710pm just got in for kick off safety outside surely must come first it pitch black people all moving forward with no where too go someone is going to get hurt mate
— GOVAN EMERALD CSC 🇻🇦 (@GovanEmerald) December 19, 2019
Agree, wasn't an easy night for fans trying get access, arrangements need to be reviewed
— Celtic FC SLO (@CelticFCSLO) December 19, 2019
What was Hearts’ response?
The Edinburgh club meanwhile have defended themselves from the criticism, claiming that no concerns were raised to them on the night about the issue.
A Hearts spokesperson told The Scottish Sun: “As is commonplace for Category C matches, Hearts officials were in constant dialogue with their Celtic counterparts and Police Scotland when visiting fans entered the stadium prior to last night’s Ladbrokes Premiership fixture at Tynecastle Park.
“At no point were any concerns raised by any party with regards to ingress.
“When supporters do not allow sufficient time to enter the stadium, nor adhere to the host club’s safety measures, then delays can occur.”
Blaming paying supporters for the problems seems to be something of a deflection, especially when our liaison officer admits there are issues and that there needs to be a look at entrance procedures.
Hopefully, some sort of constructive dialogue can now occur to ensure that fans visiting the ground in future do not feel they are in an unsafe environment.
In large crowd situations, it should go without saying that safety is the absolute top priority.