A Hibernian fan has been jailed for 100 days for aggressively confronting Rangers captain James Tavernier during a match after jumping over the advertising hoardings and kicking away the ball.
Cameron Mack, who pleaded guilty to a breach of the peace charge following the incident at Easter Road on March 8, was also banned from attending any football game for 10 years.
The father-of-one, who attended the game with his father and uncle, ran from his seat on to the pitch shortly before half time in the 1-1 draw.
He kicked the ball away as the defender was about to take a throw-in and repeatedly pushed him before police and stewards intervened.
Sheriff Adrian Cottam explained the prison sentence was “the only way to properly reflect society’s disapproval” in light of a number of concerning incidents at football grounds this season.
During the sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Mr Cottam said: “We must consider the timing of the offence, at a time when all eyes are on trouble at football grounds.
“Things have been building up and up and the court has to express disapproval in this behaviour.
“Despite not having previous convictions, this court has to take a strong line on this.”
Mack, who was 21 the time of the offence, was so drunk he “remembers little to nothing of the incident”, his lawyer said.
Mr Cottam added: “The explanation that you were so intoxicated that you cannot remember the incident does you no credit, in a full football stadium it is an aggravating factor.”
The incident happened less than a week after Celtic player Scott Sinclair was almost hit by a glass bottle thrown from the crowd at Easter Road and two days before a Birmingham City fan punched Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish after invading the pitch.
Mack’s defence lawyer, Eddie Wilson, argued that as a first-time offender the now 22-year old should not “bear the burden for the action of others that have happened over the course of the season”.
“He is a man without any previous convictions and no contact with police, but clearly he has entered the criminal justice system in spectacular fashion,” he added.
Mack and his partner have been subjected to “death threats and threats of serious harm”, he told the court, with police advising she and their child move out of the property.
The threats have “brought home the enormity of his actions”, he said, adding his client wanted to issue a direct apology to Mr Tavernier and the two clubs.
Mr Cottam sentenced Mack to 100 days in prison, reduced from 150 for his early guilty plea, and a football banning order lasting 10 years.
Following the sentencing, Mack’s partner – the mother of their one-year-old child – was in tears as he was led away.