On 1 March, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 came into force and just two weeks since it became law, two football fans have been fined and banned from football for a year.
Andrew Whitson, 28, and Paul Swan, 39, were arrested by British Transport Police on Saturday for 'chanting and singing songs of a racially derogative nature'.
Last season Scottish football was hit by a series of high-profile incidents surrounding the Old Firm. Neil Lennon, the late Paul McBride QC and former MSP Trish Godman were sent parcel bombs through the post. Two men, Trevor Muirhead and Neil McKenzie are currently standing trial for charges relating to the parcel bomb attacks, though both deny all charges levied against them.
If that was not bad enough, Celtic manager Neil Lennon was attacked on the touchline during a match between the Parkhead side and Hearts at Tynecastle in Edinburgh. The footage of Lennon being attacked by Hearts fan John Wilson were beamed worldwide and shocked the world of football.
Then there was the so-called 'Old Firm shame game' after Rangers had three players sent off and a touchline war of words between then-Rangers assistant Ally McCoist and Celtic manager Neil Lennon, with certain individuals in the game vilifying Neil Lennon alone rather than the Rangers players who lost control and man handled the referee on the park , along with Ally McCoist who was also party to the touchline theatrics.
The latter incident was jumped on by the powers-that-be in Scotland and the result was a summit into how to sort out the violence surrounding the Old Firm games. The conclusion of that summit led to the drawing up of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, after the usual political merry-go-round.
You would think that the first convictions of the new bill would ultimately be Old Firm fans, but the two men were from East Lothian and supporters of Hibernian Football Club.
The men were returning from the Ayr United v Hibernian Scottish Cup match when they were caught by officers on the 6.13pm train from Ayr to Glasgow Central. Whitson, from Longniddry, and Swan, from Tranent - both in East Lothian - pled guilty when they appeared from custody at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday.
Whitson was fined £180 and given a one-year football banning order, while Swan was handed a £200 fine and a one-year football banning order.
Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird said: "These convictions and sentences send out a clear message that this sort of behaviour and criminality has no place in society, and certainly not on our rail network."
So while fans of provincial clubs may lay the blame on sectarianism in Scotland squarely at the feet of the Old Firm supporters, it seems that the new Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 is proving that statement to be false.
Rather than looking at the number of fans charged, arrested etc. why not look at the ratio between fans arrested and fans who attend home games. That will certainly prove to be an eye-opener.
With this bill in place, hopefully we can now get back to the game we love, watching the game, talking about the game, rather than the small minority of fans shaming our game which gets more column inches and media coverage than the decent amount of fans who do our game proud.
As Superintendent David Brand, boss of the Football Coordination Unit for Scotland (FOCUS) said in a recent interview: "This is our chance to make football about football again, and bring back the pride in the game."
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