Belfast Telegraph

Celtic pitch invader at cup tie - but stays on sidelines this time

By Angela Rainey

A shamed Celtic fan banned from every football ground in the UK was back watching his local team in Portadown at the weekend.

John Hatton turned up at the People's Park to see St Mary's lose to Portadown BB Old Boys in the first round of the Junior Cup.

Hatton (21) was arrested last week after invading the Parkhead pitch in Glasgow as he drunkenly attempted to kick £167 million player Kylian Mbappe.

Around 60,000 fans and millions of television viewers watched the Tesco employee being escorted away by security after he approached the Paris Saint-Germain forward during the Champions League clash.

He was approached by a Sunday Life reporter as the final whistle blew.

But he declined to comment, saying that his solicitor had advised him to remain silent if confronted by journalists.

Hatton, from the Garvaghy Road area of the town, is home after he appeared in court in Glasgow, where he pleaded guilty to assault and behaviour likely to incite public disorder.

He has also had his Celtic season ticket invalidated and has been served with an exclusion order that prevents him entering any football stadium in the UK.

Since the incident, Hatton has been subject to a barrage of online abuse from fans who branded him "an idiot" and even threatened his life.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last week, his brother Cillian claimed Hatton has been misunderstood, saying he was "quiet" and that the online abuse was "too much".

"He made a stupid mistake, but you'll find out he has a clean record and is a quiet boy," he said. "This is his first time doing something like this, that's not him.

"He's no other choice but to face the consequences, but all this hate directed at him is too much."

Cillian added that his brother penned his apologies in a letter to the club.

Glasgow Sheriff Court bailed Hatton until October 11, when he will return to Scotland for sentencing. Sheriff Sukhwinder Gill told him: "I don't know much about football, but this was a high-profile match. It was a Champions League match. It was televised across the UK."

Hatton's lawyer told the court: "He had consumed a lot of alcohol and can only remember parts of the day."

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