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A total liability Shame on Regan and Scottish clubs; PROTECTION RACKET WELFARE OF STARS IS BEING IGNORED PROTECTION Shame on Regan and Scottish clubs for Cup Final LED farce that leaves our game a laughing stock.

Byline: g.ralston@dailyrecord.co.uk GARY RALSTON

POINT MISSED Regan, left, and Petrie look on as pitch is invaded THE lights went out on more than LED advertising boards when the Scottish Cup Final descended into chaos at Hampden.

If Rangers really want to play a part in guiding Scottish football out of the darkness, they must start leading the way in the promotion of UEFA-style strict liability laws.

It would be a brave and bold move by the Ibrox board, whose anger at attacks on their players by Easter Road fans after May's end-of-season showpiece remains justifiably raw.

The wounds have only been re-opened by the pitiful response of compliance officer Tony McGlennan more than three months after the event.

You missed a trick, Hibs fans. Had you worn slippers to the game, your club would be in the dock next month for nothing more than two goalposts and a crossbar.

Rangers appear permanently upset these days but their latest statement is borne as much from frustration as fury at the failure of the governing body to protect their employees.

McGlennan will claim he was hamstrung by the rulebook but rarely has someone in a position of power in the Scottish game taken so long to come up with so little.

Shame on Scottish clubs for giving him such a meagre framework as initial exuberance by Hibs fans gave way to thuggish attacks on professional players in their workplace.

Shame also on SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, who has been involved in the biggest deflection seen at Hampden since George McCluskey's injury-time strike past Peter McCloy preceded another riot at the National Stadium in 1980. Regan oversaw the appointment of a QC, Edward Bowen, who admitted he wasn't qualified to deal with one of the key aspects of his independent inquiry, the response rates of police to the chaos and disorder that followed Hibs' 3-2 win.

Regan and the SFA - in line with his cohorts at the then SPL - turned the rule book upside down and inside out in a bid to find a way to soften the fall to Scottish football after the financial collapse of Rangers in 2012.

This time, the SFA have abdicated their responsibility to football and footballers by their decision to stand back in recent months under the banner of justice being seen to run its course - and it has been a cop out.

At the very least, the SFA should have called an emergency meeting in the immediate aftermath of the final to implement proposals aimed at avoiding future attacks on players and hammering clubs whose fans step out of line.

The suggestion from Rangers the SFA might even have been "unwilling" to take action they felt would have been appropriate is so serious you can only conclude they are currently examining all options, including legal routes. The irony is at least twice in the last decade the SFA tried and failed to implement a form of strict liability that would have held clubs more accountable for misbehaviour.

It was swatted aside when the late David Taylor pushed for its inclusion in the rulebook and in 2013 only five per cent of member clubs voted for its introduction.

It's believed Hibs favoured it - by coincidence, Rod Petrie is also an office bearer at the SFA - but it was only minnow clubs, mostly outside the senior ranks, who were of a mind to give it a go.

Once upon a time, when the SFA's administration had greater control over clubs, punishments for fan attacks on players - sadly, they're not so uncommon - were expected as a matter of course.

Celtic were fined PS1000 when one of their fans attacked Gordon Strachan during a game against Aberdeen in November 1980.

Rangers player Fernando Ricksen was attacked by a Dons fan in August 2003 while Ibrox keepers Ally Maxwell and Andy Goram were attacked by supporters, at Parkhead and Easter Road, in the early nineties.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was attacked on the touchline at Tynecastle and Derek Riordan was assaulted by a Hearts fan after netting a penalty for Hibs at the Gorgie ground.

Three weeks ago, two yobs were jailed for assaulting former Hoops keeper Rab Douglas when he was playing for Forfar against Airdrie, while also spitting sectarian abuse.

In recent years, clubs have wriggled off the hook, their pleas of having done all they could to avoid unacceptable behaviour by fans being accepted by the SFA.

The push from Hampden for strict liability is a bid to claw back power they lost the minute clubs turned up at disciplinary hearings with QCs to ride a legal coach and horses through their rules.

Rangers have talked tough in their latest statement and now they must be advocates of change or be rightly accused of rank hypocrisy. The promotion of strict liability would also force the Ibrox club to confront their own dark issues, almost exclusively a sectarian songbook that continues to drag its reputation down.

If they give the authorities power to act then Rangers - and Celtic - have most to lose from the repugnant chanting of fans, which proliferates especially when they're on the road.

Perhaps it would even be an indication from the current Ibrox board, who weren't in place when strict liability was last discussed at the SFA agm three years ago, they need help to clean up that unsavoury element of their club.

In the meantime, let's remember the damage done to those electronic advertising boards amounted to a figure well in excess of PS500,000.

Rarely has someone in our game taken so long to come up with so little

CAPTION(S):

CHAOS Mounted police and stewards push back fans on the Hampden pitch after Hibs' Scottish Cup victory
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 1, 2016
Words:960
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