Hearts fans fined for singing on train

FOUR Hearts fans who were arrested for singing football songs on board a train have been fined.

They were returning to Edinburgh after watching their team reach a goalless draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle at their opponent's home ground.

Their antics caused fellow passengers to leave the carriage during the journey and a steward complained to police, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told.

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Ian Taylor, 34, Steven Duffy, 31, Paul Girdwood, 25, and Ian McKenzie, 38, today pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace on board the train between Inverness and Edinburgh on November 25, 2006.

They admitted forming part of a disorderly crowd which repeatedly shouted, swore and sang songs and chants following their team's 0-0 draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

They were originally charged with singing sectarian songs but this was deleted from the charge and a further allegation that the offence was aggravated by religious prejudice was also deleted.

Girdwood's not guilty plea to a further charge of possessing cocaine was accepted by the Crown.

Fiscal depute Brian Logan said the train had left Inverness around 6.30pm with the four, who had all been drinking, on board.

They sang football songs throughout the three-and-a-half hour journey and were repeatedly warned about their behaviour by two police officers on the train, said Mr Logan.

"At one stage a woman was seen to leave the compartment and go to another," said the fiscal depute.

"The steward was particularly upset and complained to the police, and a passenger supporting the same team removed himself from the carriage."

All four were arrested on arrival at Edinburgh.

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Sheriff David Clapham said: "I don't think that you need me to say that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and given the age that all of you have now reached it is disappointing that you find yourselves appearing in the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court."

Taylor was fined 300, Girdwood was fined 290, and Duffy and McKenzie were fined 270 each.

Three other men who had been charged in connection with the same incident – Peter Ford, 42, from Powderhall Brae and Ian Thomson, 45, from Corstorphine Hill Avenue, both Edinburgh, and Douglas Walker, 48, of Lenzie Avenue, Livingston – had their not guilty pleas accepted.

Taylor, a bus driver from Crewe Place in Edinburgh, had been drinking throughout the day after travelling north by train in the morning, said Matthew Nicholson, defending.

Philip Templeton, defending Duffy, a self-employed joiner from Lauriston Street, Edinburgh, said the singing had started off "light-hearted" but had developed into "behaviour that couldn't be said to be acceptable".

Girdwood's solicitor, Mike Bevan, said the sales assistant from Hayfield in Edinburgh had been drinking heavily after witnessing a friend being murdered earlier in the year and had "little recollection" of the train journey.

Financial adviser McKenzie, from Fauldburn, Edinburgh, was "particularly embarrassed" about getting involved in the incident, added his defence agent Duncan Hughes.

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