Police launch inquiry after women’s Old Firm headbutt claim
Police have launched an investigation after the assistant coach of the Rangers women’s team appeared to butt the manager of their Celtic counterparts at the end of an Old Firm match.
The clash, which is also set to be investigated via the Scottish Football Association’s compliance officer once the referee’s report has been received, came shortly after Celtic scored a 99th-minute equaliser on Monday.
🗣️ ' We can't have that in football at all'
It appears Fran Alonso was headbutted by Rangers Assistant Craig McPherson at full-time ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/EdbCCoE5pG
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) March 27, 2023
Fran Alonso, the Celtic manager, sprinted down the touchline to celebrate wildly with his players, beating his chest as he joined them on the pitch. When the match finished soon after, he was approached by Craig McPherson, the Rangers assistant coach. Alonso claims he was called a “little rat”, and Sky Sports footage appears to show McPherson forcing his head into the back of Alonso’s.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said in a statement: “We have received a report regarding an incident at Broadwood Stadium. Inquiries to establish any criminality are at an early stage.”
The Scottish Women’s Premier League said: “The SWPL is aware of an incident following last night’s Rangers v Celtic match. This incident is being investigated by Police Scotland and the Scottish FA. The SWPL will not make any further comment at this time, whilst these investigations are ongoing.”
Tempers had appeared to be under control at full time as players shook hands. When the confrontation occurred, players from both sides rushed in to drag McPherson away, and several Celtic coaches came to the defence of Alonso.
Speaking to Sky as the footage was shown to him, Alonso said: “It is football. These are the emotions. It was not much. I felt a little bit of contact and then I heard him call me a ‘little rat’.
“It’s obviously disappointing to concede a goal in the last minute, I totally get it. But I don’t know why. I don’t know the reason. You would have to ask him. But I had no issues with them during the game.
“But, honestly, for me, it is nothing. It can stay here as part of the game. I don’t wish him to be banned or suspended.”
Alonso also defended his celebrations following Caitlin Hayes’s late equaliser: “It was an explosion of happiness. That was our section, our fans. They were as happy as I was. It was a beautiful moment that we deserved.”
Rangers head coach Malky Thomson said: “Craig is not that type of person. I think it is passion and we saw a lot of that on the pitch with two top sides coming together.”