A FOOTBALL club have been forced to beef up security against thugs who are copying a notorious Italian supporter group.
The Edinburgh City Ultras – who follow semi-professional team Edinburgh City – caused mayhem during a bust-up with visiting Gretna fans.
Previously the thugs – who are aged under 18 – have also set off explosives and jumped on McDonald’s tables after matches.
They are thought to be modelling themselves on the Juventus Ultras who have wreaked havoc at prestigious European matches.
Officials said they had no option but to bring in police in order to return behaviour to “acceptable standards”.
Fans under 18 will now also have to be accompanied by an adult.
A club insider said: ““EdinburghCity has attracted a lot of teenagers that call themselves the Ultras.
“They seem to be basing themselves on the Juventus Ultras because both clubs wear the same colours – black and white.”
The fury erupted after visiting Gretna fans clashed with the home supporters – there were only 106 football fans in total.
EdinburghCity manager Gary Jardine said: “It’s just a real shame. We’ve always had a really small support but then some kids aged between about 13 and 18 started coming along to games and the numbers grew.
“It’s been two different groups – one from Portobello and one from Musselburgh.
“In the main they have been great – they let off one of their smoke bombs at one of the matches, the club had a word with them and that stopped.
“But I think there was then a couple of incidents at a game against Gretna.
“I spoke to the players at training about it and they were really disappointed.”
The teenagers set off explosives at a local match against LothianCity as well as causing havoc at a local McDonald’s restaurant when they were jumping on the tables.
Another incident occurred when the teenagers refused to leave Meadowbank stadium – the home ground of the Edinburgh club.
Fans were reported to have shouted “all cops are b******s” in protest after extra stewards were brought in.
The Juventus Ultras – who are thought to be the inspiration behind the Edinburgh gang – are notorious for clashing with match officials around Europe.
Around 50 fans of the Italian followers fought with police shortly before they met rivals Liverpool at the Champions League quarter-final second leg in 2005.
Fans pelted officers with missiles and a police car was burned.
Eight fans were arrested for violence and possession of arms after a Liverpool supporter was hit on the head was a bat at a Turin bar.
It was understood the chaos kicked off following a 20-year feuf after the Heysel disaster where 39 Juventus fans were killed when a wall collapsed.
EdinburghCity released a statement saying: “Like every other club, EdinburghCity is grateful for the support it receives.
“However, on more than one occasion recently, the behaviour of some younger fans has fallen short of acceptable standards.”
It is thought that the further security, which will come into effect for the remaining two home matches against Gretna and Stirling University, has cost hundreds of pounds; money that the club can barely afford.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure which runs the stadium added: “We are working closely with the police to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all spectators at Meadowbank.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh have agreed to provide assistance to the Edinburgh City Football Club during match days following concerns raised by the club and stadium management at Meadowbank.
“At recent games, a number of reports relating to reckless conduct and antisocial behaviour within the ground and at surrounding establishments have been received.
“Officers are now working closely with the club and Meadowbank Stadium to address these issues and ensure fans are able to enjoy Edinburgh City FC matches in a safe environment.”