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Maurice Edu and Kyle Bartley 'shocked' by racist tweets

image captionThe court heard Maurice Edu (left) and Kyle Bartley were sent the tweets after playing for Rangers against St Johnstone

Former Rangers players Maurice Edu and Kyle Bartley have told a court they were "intimidated" and "shocked" after receiving racist tweets.

The players - who have since left the club - were sent the messages by Michael Convery on Twitter after a game against St Johnstone in Perth on 14 January, 2012.

Convery, from the Linthouse area of Glasgow, was found guilty of sending the racist remarks.

The players gave evidence at his trial.

Bartley, 22, told Glasgow Sherriff Court he found the messages "intimidating" and thought that "society had got over these sorts of comments".

US international Edu, 27, described feeling shocked on seeing the messages he had been sent.

Although none of the messages were read out in full in open court, it was heard that Bartley was sent a direct comment from Convery and mentioned in a second one and Edu was sent two direct comments.

The players saw the tweets while travelling home from the match on the team bus.

'So much hate'

Bartley said: "I actually re-tweeted the tweet. It allowed the public eye to see the comments, and I reported it to David Martin, who is head of security at Glasgow Rangers."

The court heard the word "monkey" was used. Bartley said it was "a comment he was used to".

Procurator fiscal depute Jonathan Kemp asked how he felt on receiving them and the witness said: "I just felt a little bit hurt and disappointed really.

"I thought it's 2012, I just thought society had got over these sorts of comments.

"Obviously I don't know Michael Convery, I didn't understand why he would have so much hate for me."

Bartley was asked about another racist comment which mentioned his name, but wasn't sent directly to him.

He said he found it "very insulting".

Blamed son

Edu said he was shocked and embarrassed when he saw the first message that was sent to him.

He told the court that later that day, after receiving another message, he was still shocked and said: "I think that time was when I re-tweeted".

The court heard that, in his police interview, Convery told officers he had been suffering from food poisoning and was drifting in and out of sleep in his house on the date of the offence.

He told the court he suspected his teenage son was to blame, although claimed he did not see any comments being posted.

But he accepted the messages came from his Blackberry phone and his Twitter account.

The court heard that there had been searches on Google, hours after the tweets were sent, for "How to delete Twitter".

Convery was branded an "unreliable" witness by Sheriff Valerie Johnston.

She deferred sentence until next month and continued bail.