CELTIC all but clinched the Scottish Premiership title with a 3-1 defeat of Hearts last Saturday, but some away ticket holders have complained they missed the celebrations after being refused admission to Tynecastle when they turned up late.
Footage posted on social media showed an exchange between supporters and police, with one officer telling fans: “You’re not getting in. If you want a refund get hold of [Celtic Supporter Liaison Officer] John Paul Taylor... I’m not wasting my time.”
Celtic fans outside tynecastle trying to get in, ladies and gentleman police Scotland. They don't have a clue pic.twitter.com/c8heh82s0i
— Reiss Moran (@rmoran1999) April 30, 2016
The Edinburgh club have claimed the away stand was full to capacity before all valid ticket holders had turned up, due to fans with “non-valid” tickets gaining entry to the ground.
Celtic fan Natalie Dobbs was in a party of six that arrived at the ground a few minutes after kick-off.
She told The Irish Post: “When we approached the gate there were four officers rejecting fans entry. We all had genuine tickets. There were around 14 people, six of us from our club, the rest children and older men.
“After 10-15 minutes of standing demanding to speak to someone for answers, an officer came out and spoke to us. He claimed the stand had reached its capacity and no one else was entering.”
Ms Hobbs, a member of the Easterhouse Emerald CSC who has been going to Celtic games for 20 years, added: “A member from our bus had come out of the stadium and told us our row of seats lay empty and there were a few empty seats dotted around.
"Friends who entered the game had gone through five ticket checks with police and stewards and a ticket scanner to enter the stadium.
“Everyone was frustrated but more gutted as the roars from the goals came, knowing we should have been in there celebrating and cheering on our team who we had travelled from Glasgow to see. I was sickened and distraught.
“Tickets for Tynecastle are hard to come by. I got my ticket due to my attendance at away games this season. I have children and work hard to go and watch my team play at the weekend.
“While we were standing a police van pulled up with several officers approaching us. We felt intimidated so that’s when we decided to go. We are football fans, not criminals.”
SPFL: Tynecastle - 30/04/16 pic.twitter.com/wcBbO0Q3As
— Celtic Archives (@CelticArchives) April 30, 2016
Match Commander, Chief Inspector Bob Paris of Police Scotland, said: “While policing the Hearts vs Celtic match at Tynecastle Stadium on Saturday, April 30, stewarding staff informed officers that the ground had reached maximum capacity and they would be closing the turnstiles.
“Officers agreed with this approach and assisted in preventing any further entry in the interest of public safety. Fans who had valid tickets but were unable to view the match are asked to contact their club to establish why their seats were unavailable and seek a refund.”
Another fan, Andy Wallace, who turned up late and was refused entry, posted on Twitter: “Being told the Celtic end is full because people have been going in with fake tickets.”
A spokesman for Hearts told The Irish Post that the gates were closed after the away stand had reached capacity as a result of away fans entering with “non-valid” tickets, adding: “The club are going to start an investigation into exactly how these guys were able to get in.
“Celtic and ourselves had been talking about it before the game. We certainly knew there was potential for it to happen seeing as it had happened before, but obviously it’s happened again so we’ll be speaking to our stewarding company G4S and the police to try and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”