Lanarkshire men deny singing racist song about Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi on Rangers fan bus
Four men have denied singing a racist song about Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi.
Fans of the accused Rangers were traveling on a fan bus from East Kilbride last month.
Ian McKenzie, 30, Mark Speirs, 26, Dylan Devine, 25, and Marc Newton, 24, faced charges that the alleged offenses were “aggravated by race.”
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They all appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court yesterday in connection with the incident.
Prosecutors say McKenzie, Speirs and Newton behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by singing a song containing “racial lyrics” during the bus ride.
McKenzie is also said to have made an “aggressive” gesture.
It is further claimed that in a separate incident, Speirs and Devine behaved in a threatening or abusive manner and made a “racial gesture” and sang a “racial song”.
McKenzie also faces a separate charge that he was in possession of cocaine in East Kilbride in July.
McKenzie, of East Kilbride, Speirs, of Wishaw, Devine, of Cleland, and Newton, of Bellshill, all pleaded not guilty when their case was called yesterday.
And they were all released on bail by Sheriff Moira MacKenzie.
Tax MP Abby Seal tried to have the four men banned from attending regulated football matches in Scotland as part of their bail conditions, but this was rejected by the sheriff.
A trial has now been set for February 2022, but a preliminary hearing will take place a month before that.
Lanarkshire Live last month reported how videos appearing online appeared to show individuals traveling the Westwood Rangers Supporters’ Club allegedly hurling racial slurs at Japanese Celtic forward Furuhashi as they surrendered in an away game against Ross County in Dingwall.
The Rangers quickly investigated the incident and subsequently banned the fan club from attending games indefinitely.
A statement from the Ibrox club at the time read: “Rangers can confirm that an investigation is now complete regarding a video circulating on social media yesterday.
“The individuals involved have been identified and will be banned indefinitely from all Ranger games.
“In addition, the RSC of which they were members and with whom they traveled to attend the match were prohibited from receiving tickets for future matches.”
Celtic also condemned the incident, saying: “If the information is correct, such disgusting and pathetic racist behavior directed against Kyogo Furuhashi deserves outright condemnation.”
Furuhashi himself then tweeted: “I will never walk alone.”
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