Hearts FC ban shamed fans after pitch invasion against Hibs



TWO Hearts fans who shamed their side after running onto the pitch at Tynecastle during Thursday night’s live televised Edinburgh derby against Hibs have been banned indefinitely by furious club chiefs.

Managing Director Campbell Ogilvie lashed their conduct as “unacceptable” and said the pair had disrespected the Edinburgh side which only recently introduced a strict fans’ code of conduct enshrined by its Supporters Charter.

He said they would be shown the door immediately, missing out on one of the most exciting SPL run-ins for years as the SPL side bids for a last remaining Europa cup place.

The shamed pair ran onto the pitch after striker Derek Riordan scored a penalty for Hibs in the last quarter of the match.

BANNED: Hearts fan Robert Philips faces possible jail term
BANNED: Hearts fan Robert Philips faces possible jail term

They were unmasked yesterday as Robert Philips, 25, an electrician from Edinburgh who was warned he now faces jail and Ryan Wyllie, 16, a trainee plumber who was ordered to pay a fine.

Wyllie will also automatically be stripped of his season ticket.

Both appeared in court separately yesterday.

In a tersely worded statement, Mr Campbell said: “We have acted quickly with the police to identify two supporters who entered the playing area during the game.

“We have now written to both individuals and they will receive immediate, indefinite bans from Hearts games.

“On no account will we tolerate any unacceptable conduct and we view last night’s incident in a very serious light.”

Season ticket holder Wyllie, 16, vaulted a safety barrier and raced onto the pitch after Riordan buried his 79th minute spot-kick.

Riordan with the help of match day referee Steve Conroy managed to fend Wyllie off and stewards dragged him from the pitch shouting and swearing as his team went down to their capital rivals.

SHAMED: Wyllie stripped of season ticket
SHAMED: Wyllie stripped of season ticket

The teenager – who has attended matches since the age of six – spent the night in the cells and at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today (Friday) admitted a breach of the peace.

The sheriff dealing with the case turned down a request from prosecutors to ban Wyllie from football matches for life.


However the court will write to the Gorgie Road club advising bosses of their supporter’s plea.

Fiscal depute Malcom Stewart said Wyllie raced towards Riordan shouting and swearing before the front-man managed to fend him off.

Mr Stewart said: “This is one of the incidents whereby after the penalty kick Wyllie managed to climb the fence and ran onto the pitch and towards the player who scored the penalty. He was swearing and shouting unpleasant things to him and managed to reach the player but he was fended off by him.”

Mr Stewart said stewards and police dragged Wyllie from the pitch shouting and screaming and asked Sheriff Mhairi Stephen to consider a lifetime football banning order.


His solicitor, James Grant, said his client had been “caught up in the emotion” when other fans invaded the pitch.

Mr Grant said: “He has been an ardent Hearts fan all his life and is a season ticket holder at Tynecastle.

“He has been going to matches since his father began taking him when he was six years old.

“The opposition went one goal up and there was a gesture from the member of the opposition team whereby in close proximity to a section of the Hearts support he kissed the badge on his jersey.

“My client was far from being the first to run onto the field but said when he observed others he simply got caught up in the emotion.”

Mr Grant said his client was immature but was “full of remorse” for his actions, adding that Hearts were likely to ban him for life.

Sheriff Stephen described the incident as “squaring-up” with Riordan and said she intended to write to the club over Wyllie’s behaviour.


She said: “Your client seemed to hit the target in that it was he who squared-up to the player.

“The referee had to get in between them.

“This was indeed a completely stupid thing to do. It is difficult to accept that you were simply caught up with the others when it seems that you were the one that was running about the goal-scorer.

“Clearly you had and objective in mind.”

Sheriff Stephen added: “Whether or not your team get into Europe your probably not going to be able support them wherever they are.

“I don’t propose to make a banning order today on the basis of this one incident however I will be asking my clerk to write to Heart of Midlothian Football Club to indicating what you pled guilty to today.”


Sheriff Stephen reduced a £600 fine to £400 fine because of Wyllie’s early plea. She added that given the prominent photographs of Wyllie in newspaper reports of the game, he had little choice but to accept his guilt.

Wyllie, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, was given six months to pay.

An earlier hearing heard how Philips, 25, an electrician from Edinburgh, was bundled from the pitch by stewards and also spent a night in custody as his side went down to their bitter city rivals.

He admitted breach of the peace at Edinburgh Justice of the Peace Court.

Fiscal depute Robert Freeland said Philips jumped over the barrier and invaded the pitch after Riordan’s penalty.

Mr Freeland said: “It was around 21.20 hours at a game at Tynecastle Football Stadium during a match. At this time there was a penalty scored by a Hibernian Player.

“Philips jumped over the safety barrier and ran onto the pitch. On seeing him running on the pitch he was pursued by safety staff.”

Mr Freeland said Philips was escorted off the playing field by stewards before being charged with police.

His solicitor, Nigel Bruce, said his client was a first offender.

He added that because of Hibernian’s poor form and injury difficulties, Philips had expected and easy win.


Mr Bruce said: “He is extremely remorseful. He is a single man who has never been in any trouble before today.

“In the lead-up to the game the Hearts supporters believed they were going to get an easy win. There was an expectation in the Hibs and Hearts support that it was going to a one-sided match.”

Mr Bruce said that when Philips leapt the safety barrier and invaded the pitch, he instantly regretted his decision and tried to make it back into the crowd.

He said: “He regrets his actions. They were born out of frustration.

“He said as soon as he did that he thought ‘what am I doing here?’ and tried to get back into the crowd.

“He is very sorry for what he has done and the trouble he has caused. I’m sure this young man will not be back before the courts again.”

Mr Bruce said his client’s exclusion from Tynecastle as well as a criminal record was punishment enough and asked that Philips be admonished.

But Justice of the Peace David Hamilton said: “I’m considering a custodial sentence but before going down that route I will be calling for a social enquiry report.”

Philips will now be sentence later this month.

Hearts chief Mr Campbell was at pains to point out that Hearts have been working hard to forge a reputation as a family club, launching a series of community initiatives aimed at children including breakfast clubs and even cut-price season tickets.

But he warned such action by supporters – which will almost certainly see the club rapped further by the SFA – threatened to undo all those efforts.


He said: “We have worked extremely hard to develop a stadium that is seen by many supporters as one of the best for atmosphere in the country and we will not allow the reputation of Hearts to be tarnished by individuals who disrespect this club.”

His comments came less than 24-hrs after fans invaded the Tynecastle pitch seconds after Derek Riordan had scored a winning penalty for Hibs at the old ‘School End’ of the ground.

The Hibs star celebrated his strike by running towards Hearts supporters with a finger pressed to his lips in a mocking ‘Sssshhhhhhh’ jibe.

That infuriated a number of home supporters and saw match referee Steve Conroy and Hearts captain Robbie Neilson forced to tackle the pitch invaders.

Grade A referee Conroy shielded Riordan from the angry fan, grabbing him by the jacket and pushing him away as two others were despatched from the field by raging Hearts players.

But with jubilant Hibs supporters also spilling onto the pitch nearby after Riordan scored what turned out to be a match winning penalty against all the odds, Conroy only had a split second to decide what to do to stop the match ending in a battle.

Conroy said: “To be honest, it was just a natural reaction.

“Riordan scored and I ran over towards the touchline to make sure he didn’t go anywhere near the fans.

“Because you’re mic-ed up, the other guys were shouting at me, ‘they’re behind you Steve, they’re behind you’.

“I turned round and there was these three guys heading straight for us.

“I just held my hands out and the guy landed on the ground and he had a burst lip. I’m not sure, but he was running full pelt and skidded into me.

“I think he’s hit my shoulder.

“It was hairy stuff, because I knew right then that there were Hibs fans on the pitch at the point too and we were stuck in the middle.

“All I was thinking was that we had to calm it down fast.

“Fortunately some of the Hearts players stepped up in along with the police and the club stewards or it could have easily got out of hand.

“I’m just relieved it was nothing more dramatic.”

He confirmed the incident would be included in his match report which is almost certain to see Hearts hammered by the SFA.

Lothian and Borders Police said they had ejected a further five fans from the ground on Thursday night.

Club stewards also booted out a further 10 people.