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GANGSTER LINK IN CELTS STAB ATTACK; Police probe half-time horror.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by MAGGIE BARRY

A CELTIC fan stabbed as he queued for a half-time pie was the victim of a gangland drugs feud, it was claimed last night.

The 22-year-old was attacked by fellow Hoops supporters at Saturday's match against Partick Thistle.

But cops now believe a turf war over drugs in Glasgow's east end led to the bloody derby day knife assault.

One source told the Scottish Daily Mirror: "The word was out almost right away that it was part of this ongoing dispute over drugs.

"Those involved are well-known to the police. There were no other supporters involved - just Celtic fans.

"One knifed the other in a row over drugs between two factions.

"It was only a pity they chose a football match, because there were a lot of young kids around."

The victim was stabbed as he waited for his half-time pie and Bovril in the SPL game at Thistle's Firhill ground.

As he stood in line, an onlooker said several men - all wearing Celts colours - seemed to start fighting just before the whistle went for the second half.

The battle left a 22-year-old man badly wounded.

And terrified fans - many of them children - watched in horror as blood dripped from his wound, with paramedics fighting to stem the flow.

He was later raced to Glasgow's Western Infirmary.

The second half of the all-Glasgow match passed without trouble but police were scouring the crowd as they left, frisking several people.

A source added: "The police seemed to know who they were looking for and picked them out of the crowd to search."

However, no arrests were made and cops have now launched an appeal for information in their bid to trace the Firhill attacker.

A spokesman at the Western Infirmary said the 22-year-old man was in a stable condition.

Only last month an officer was shot at Shettleston Police Station after a man walked in brandishing a gun.

PC John Cunningham, 53, was seriously wounded but the gunman has never been caught.

There was speculation at the time that the shooting was part of the east end drugs war.

But police were anxious to play down the suggestion.

CAPTION(S):

DERBY MAYHEM: Partick's Firhill
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2003
Words:368
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