The 1980 Scottish Cup Final was played on 10 May 1980 at Hampden Park in Glasgow and was the final of the 95th Scottish Cup competition. Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers contested the match, which Celtic won 1–0 after extra time. Rioting after the end of the match, involving both sets of supporters, resulted in the sale of alcohol being banned at sporting events in Scotland.
The match is remembered for a riot that followed its conclusion,which BBC News described in 2011 as the “most infamous case of disorder” in an Old Firm match.Rival fans battled on the Hampden Park pitch and mounted police attempted to defuse the trouble, which was largely attributed to the excessive consumption of alcohol.
After winning the match, the Celtic players went to celebrate with their supporters, as was the normal practice.The SFA had given both teams permission to parade the Scottish Cup trophy on the pitch after the match, as they had recently installed a 10 foot high perimeter fence around Hampden.Some of the Celtic supporters climbed over the perimeter fences and joined the players on the pitch.An investigation by the SFA executive committee found that this initial invasion of the pitch was “a spontaneous, if misguided, expression of joy.”
Some of the Rangers fans had stayed behind, despite their team’s defeat, to verbally abuse their opponents.One of the Celtic fans ran to the end of the stadium inhabited by the Rangers fans, and kicked a ball into the goal at that end.In response to this, some Rangers fans invaded the pitch to charge at the Celtic fans, who in turn confronted their rivals.Bricks, bottles and cans were soon being thrown along with fans using iron bars and wooden staves from terracing frames as weapons. The police had insufficient manpower inside the stadium to quell the disorder.Match commentator Archie MacPherson described the riot as follows:
“This is like a scene now out of Apocalypse Now … We’ve got the equivalent of Passchendaele and that says nothing for Scottish football. At the end of the day, let’s not kid ourselves. These supporters hate each other.”
Both clubs were fined £20,000 after the events and more than 200 arrests were made in the Hampden area.Celtic blamed Strathclyde Police for their handling of the riot.The vast majority of the police officers on duty were outside the ground after the match, to prevent any trouble in the streets surrounding Hampden Park.The police and the SFA had assumed that the perimeter fences would prevent fans from invading the pitch, but they were later described as being completely inadequate.The police blamed Celtic fans for the disorder, a position Rangers concurred with.In response, Celtic cited the underlying hostility between the two sets of fans, caused by the sectarianism in Glasgow.Celtic chairman Desmond White also cited the fact that Celtic fielded a mixture of Catholics and Protestants in their team, inferring that the problem was not caused by his club.
George Younger, the Secretary of State for Scotland, blamed alcohol and the actions of the Celtic players for the riot.An Act of Parliament was passed that banned the sale of alcoholic beverages within Scottish sports grounds.The ban was partially lifted in 2007 by Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill, to allow the sale of alcohol at international rugby union matches played at Murrayfield Stadium.The Scottish Rugby Union had lobbied the Scottish Parliament for the law to be changed, as they believed that they had lost out on the right to host the 2003 Challenge Cup Final due to it.Subsequent to the easing of the ban, Motherwell chairman John Boyle called for it to be lifted entirely.Ahead of the 2011 Scottish League Cup Final, it was reported by the Scotland On Sunday that VIP hospitality packages could be purchased allowing “unlimited” consumption of alcohol at bars within Hampden Park.These transactions do not contravene the legislation because the sale of alcohol is still permitted in hospitality areas with no direct sight of the pitch.