Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Football fan fined and banned for throwing coin at linesman

Calum Spence Image copyright SNS Group
Image caption Calum Spence suffered a wound to his head

A football fan who threw a coin at a linesman during a match has been fined £900 and banned from football matches for two years.

Stuart McGaughay hit assistant referee Calum Spence on the head, causing a 5mm cut to the back of his head.

McGaughay was also banned from watching games in pubs and other commercial premises.

The incident happened at the Livingston v Rangers game on 13 September at the Tony Macaroni Arena in West Lothian.

The 30-year-old's attack was caught on live TV by cameras filming the game.

After he pled guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court on Thursday, it emerged that he handed himself in to police shortly after the incident - admitting he was the culprit.

When charged, the Rangers fan replied: "I didn't mean it. There was no intention, but I understand."

Bleeding

Depute fiscal Kat Craig said the linesman had his back to the crowd of Rangers supporters during the match when he felt something strike the back of his head.

He touched the spot where the object had struck him and realised he was bleeding.

He suffered a 5mm cut to the back of his head but did not require medical treatment.

TV viewers watching the game saw the linesman appear to stumble before clutching the back of his head in pain.

Referee Craig Thomson then halted play to allow for treatment on the sidelines.

Image copyright SNS
Image caption The game took place at the Tony Macaroni Arena

Donna Maitland, defending, told the court McGaughay, of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, had lost his job as a delivery driver with a pharmaceutical company because of the court case but had since found a temporary post and was planning to work as a labourer offshore on an overseas contract.

She said: "He'd be in a position to pay a financial penalty and compensation at £20 a week. I don't think a football banning order is strictly necessary."

'Serious incident'

Sheriff Peter Hammond fined McGaughay £900, saying the fine would have been £1,200 if he had been found guilty after trial.

He also made McGaughay the subject to a football banning order for two years, not only barring him from any live football match in the UK and Europe but also preventing him from watching games in pubs and other commercial premises.

He said: "This was a serious incident of disorder at a major sporting fixture which not only was an assault on the official concerned but also incidents of this kind are a particular concern because of the effect they have on others and the propensity to cause disorder.

"It's a matter the court takes seriously, but I take into account you have no previous convictions. I am going to deal with this by imposing on you a financial penalty, but it will be a substantial financial penalty to reflect the seriousness of the matter."

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