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Football: Rousset denies attack on fan.

GILLES ROUSSET last night denied striking a fan during Saturday's Edinburgh derby and demanded greater protection for players.

Hearts' substitute keeper admitted some of the incidents at Easter Road were the most frightening he had experienced in Scottish football.

As Hibs managing director Rod Petrie vowed to ban the yob who hit Jambos defender Gary Naysmith with a coin Rousset said: "He could have been blinded."

The Frenchman fears players and coaches on the touchline are at risk of attack also because dug-outs are too small to protect them.

Rousset admitted shouting back at fans who hurled abuse at him as he stood near the touchline but he insisted: "To say I hit anyone is rubbish.

"If something is not done soon, we could see a player being attacked by a razor or a knife.

"We have got to have better security measures. The dug-outs are too small. You've got to stand up to be able to see the game. This means you are open to possible attack.

"On Saturday, I was genuinely fearful - it was the worst experience I've had in my four and a half years in Scottish football.

"Most subs have to stand outside the dug-out because there is not enough room and that leaves us vulnerable to attacks and taunts from the crowd.

"I was standing outside the dug-out near the Hibs supporters and they started shouting all sorts of rubbish, swear words you could not print. What made me really sad was that some it it was coming from kids who were maybe just five or six years old and women, too.

"Security men had to calm us down and tell us not to answer back but there were times I could take no more and said a couple of things back. But that was all. To say I hit anyone is rubbish.

"I did not feel protected. I had my back to the fans who were only about a yard away and it was dangerous."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Docherty, John
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 21, 2000
Words:331
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