Fans facing jail after Rab Douglas attack

Stenhousmuir V Forfar 14/11/15 Rab Douglas for Forfar
Stenhousmuir V Forfar 14/11/15 Rab Douglas for Forfar

Former Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas today (Monday) told a court how he was subjected to vile abuse before fans ran on the pitch and attacked him.

Two men, Ian Bear and Ryan Lawrence, are facing jail and stadium bans after they admitted running on the park and brawling with the ex-Celtic keeper.

Douglas was playing for Forfar Athletic against Airdrieonians when the Loons scored a late winner that ensured the visitors would not get promotion.

The 19-times capped goalie said he had expected “banter” from fans - but that a small group of Airdrie supporters had turned nasty during the match.

Douglas told Forfar Sheriff Court as he lined up to take a goal kick in the dying seconds of the match, a fan spat on his back.

The court was shown footage of the end of the game - with home fans celebrating as the referee blows for full-time, before the camera pans back to the rammy kicking off in Douglas’s goalmouth.

Two men are seen rushing on to the park and launching an attack on Douglas, who told how he had to punch both in the face to defend himself.

The 44-year-old said: “The final whistle had just went and I heard our left back, Iain Campbell, shouting at me and I turned round.

“The first man was about two feet away from me.

“I tried to protect myself at first and we made contact with each other at the same point.

“He punched me in the head and I punched him.

“The second fan approached and we made contact as well.

“I’ve played 650 games in my career and it’s only the second time anything like that has happened to me.

“I didn’t know if they had weapons - knives or bottles - or anything on them.

“My teammates rushed over and grabbed me and got me away.”

Bear, 36, of George Street, Airdrie, and Lawrence, 19, of West Drive, Airdrie, both pleaded guilty to one charge each midway through their trial.

They admitted committing a breach of the peace by running on the field of play, shouting, swearing, using foul language and struggling with Rab Douglas at Station Park, Forfar, on April 11 2015.

An allegation that the crime was motivated by sectarianism was removed from the charges.

Douglas Allsop, 40, of Albert Place, Airdrie, Kenneth Murray, 30, of Canal Place, Aberdeen, had their not guilty pleas accepted and walked free.

Sheriff Gregor Murray deferred sentence on Bear and Lawrence until August and called for social work background reports.

He released them on bail conditions banning them from all football matches meantime.

Sheriff Murray told Bear that he was “in serious trouble”.

Turning to Lawrence, he added: “You have no previous convictions and I say nothing about what the outcome of this case is likely to be for you.

“But the manner in which you ran at Mr Douglas is of considerable concern.

“It goes without saying that football banning orders will be imposed when you are sentenced.”