HIBERNIAN will deploy highly-trained sniffer dogs for the first time when Celtic visit Easter Road as the capital club seeks to crack down on drugs and pyrotechnics.
Both sets of supporters have been urged to arrive at the stadium early amid heightened security to avoid lengthy delays.
The animals have been previously utilised at several major gatherings in Scotland, including concerts and numerous sporting events.
Hibs chiefs are hopeful that stopping smoke bombs, fireworks and illegal substances at source will prove a major step towards ending the anti-social behaviour that has plagued the club.
In a message to supporters, a Hibs spokesperson confirmed: “With a large crowd coming to the [Celtic] game supporters are asked to make their way to the stadium early – leaving plenty of time to take your seat.
“For the next two home games we will have specially-trained sniffer dogs on site as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure supporters can enjoy the safest and most enjoyable matchday experience at Easter Road.
“Able to detect illegal substances and pyrotechnics, the dogs are used to working at high-profile events of this nature and busy crowds – whether it’s at gigs or sporting events around the country.”
While far from the only club in Scotland to have their name dragged through the mud by thugs this term, Hibs have endured two of the most high-profile incidents.
A Buckfast bottle was thrown at Celtic winger Scott Sinclair during the Hoops’ last trip to Leith on March 2 before a fan confronted Rangers skipper James Tavernier six days later.
And chief executive Leeann Dempster has lived up to her recent vow to crack down on the hooligan element.
She stated earlier this month: “If we can create deterrents, whatever they may be, we need to use them. We want to make sure people come to the games, enjoy the experience and make sure football is not tarnished by this and get away from unacceptable behaviour.”
The dogs will also be in place for the Edinburgh derby against Hearts next Sunday as Hibs bid to ensure there are no repeat of the scenes in the last meeting between the sides on April 6 when they host the powder-keg fixture.
That encounter saw three separate incidences of pyro being thrown onto the Tynecastle turf, as well as a coconut being lobbed, and prompted Ann Budge to close a section of the Wheatfield Stand.