HEARTS have hit back at Celtic fans who today have been complaining about the massive Squash outside Tynecastle last night that resulted in hundreds of Celtic supporters missing the kick-off despite being at the ground since just after 7pm.
Yet the Hearts response to the criticism was to blame it all on the Celtic supporters and insinuate that they brought it on themselves. The Edinburgh strugglers claimed that there were a number of ticketless Celtic fans seeking to gain entry and also rather bizarrely had a dig at the Green Brigade for not sitting in the correct seats allocated to them.
Hearts claim that the Celtic support failed to adhere to safety measures, didn’t comply with stewards’ instructions and tried to enter the ground without valid match tickets.
“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.
“What does not help these situations is stewards’ time being taken up with having to deal with away fans attempting to enter the stadium without a valid match ticket.
“Where overcrowding did occur, it was down to a large section of the Celtic support failing to comply with stewards’ instructions inside the stadium.
“The decision was taken on safety grounds not to attempt to enforce these supporters in Sections Lower J, K and L to move to their designated seats, and the club would like to thank Police Scotland for their support on this matter and throughout last night’s match,” a Hearts spokesperson told Scottish Sun.
They seem to be suggesting that there was overcrowding INSIDE the ground, rather than address the massive overcrowding OUTSIDE the ground that even the Police said was caused by Hearts.
Did the Green Brigade do what they always do and gather together down the front? Yes.
Should this surprise anyone? No.
Did they all have valid tickets? Yes.
Is where they choose to watch the game from within the away section in any way relevant to the crush that happened outside the ground where the club were causing significant delays and neither the stewards or the Police seemed to be too bothered about preventing supporters at the back and subsequent later arrivals from pushing forward to crush those at the front.
Here is an eye witness account from Lubo98 who writes for The Celtic Star and submitted the photos we published last night of the delay and crush ahead of the Hearts v Celtic Premiership clash.
“Police told us it was on the orders of Hearts.
“There probably were a few ticketless Celtic supporters but that did not appear to be the issue last night.
“Anyway they have scanners in place to prevent anyone getting into the ground and they had already been ticket checks.
“They kettled fans and had a one at a time approach to letting fans in and it was this that caused the huge crowds to gather outside the away section.
“For around ten to fifteen minutes it felt increasingly dangerous. The Celtic supporters, although anxious to get into the game as kick-off approached, remained calm and should be praised, not criticised by Hearts,” he told us.
“We were there in plenty of time, maybe just over a half an hour before kick-off yet missed the the first 12 minutes and there were loads of fans behind us in the queue.”
FROM EARLIER ON THE CELTIC STAR…
THE CELTIC STAR, stuck outside Tynecastle last night, broke the news from on the spot that many hundreds of Celtic supporters had been herded together and left locked outside the Stadium for no apparent reason in what looked like a coordinated decision by Police Scotland and the Hearts Stewards.
This morning one of the Celtic supporters clubs, the Govan Emerald CSC contacted John Paul Taylor the Celtic FC SLO with this message about the event that took place outside Tynecastle Park last night from around 7.10pm-to 8pm.
“John Paul, some of photos I’ve seen from last night are shocking some my members were at stadium from 7.10pm just got in for kick off. Safety outside surely must come first, it was pitch black, people all moving forward with no where to go someone is going to get hurt mate,” the GOVAN EMERALD CSC warned.
@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
And to be fair to JP, he replied pretty much straight away, agreeing with the points made and stating that something needs to be done.
“Agree, wasn’t an easy night for fans trying get access, arrangements need to be reviewed,” the Celtic SLO replied.
Agree, wasn’t an easy night for fans trying get access, arrangements need to be reviewed
— Celtic FC SLO (@CelticFCSLO) December 19, 2019
Photos – Missed Kick-off Frustration as Celtic fans held outside Tynecastle https://t.co/ERybTWfdZl
— Henriklubo (@Henriklubo) December 19, 2019
“Another disaster waiting to happen at Tynecastle tonight. How long has this to be tolerated. We pay £34 to be herded in and put in potential crush situations. Has Celtic asked Anne Budge how many trained stewards she pays for on match night?” Jeanette Findlay asked JP last night from outside the ground.
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
“Horrific pushing and crowding outside Tynecastle. No organisation. Dangerous. Kids getting squashed. Needs sorted,” Stephen Bissett tweeted and posted this video to show what it was like.
— Stephen Bissett (@stephenbissettt) December 18, 2019
Celtic fans had a recent bad experience with the Janefield Street Crush in September 2018 ahead of the Glasgow Derby. Curiously Oliver Ntcham scored the winner that day and also netted a cracker last night as Celtic beat Hearts 2-0 to go five points clear at the top of the league.
But that would have all been incidental and irrelevant had someone got hurt last night or in that passageway behind the North stand. On both occasions it was left to the Celtic support to remain calm and act sensibly to avoid a major incident occurring.
Hopefully Celtic are on the case on this today and we’ll get assurances ahead of our next visit to Tynecastle that their entry system has improved.