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Ex-Celtic FC coach Jim McCafferty remanded by Belfast court over child sexual activity charge

By Alan Erwin

A former Celtic Football Club youth coach accused of sexual activity with a child was remanded in custody amid fears for his safety.

Jim McCafferty, 70, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday charged with touching a boy under the age of 16.

The alleged offence was committed in the city sometime between 2011 and 2014.

McCafferty, a Scotsman with an address at Raby Street in south Belfast, was escorted into the dock on a Zimmer-type walking frame.

Dressed in a grey hooded sweatshirt, he was permitted to sit throughout the brief hearing.

Asked if he understood the charge against him, the pensioner replied: "Yes I do."

His solicitor did not put any questions to an investigating detective after she connected him to the alleged offence.

No further details were revealed.

The lawyer also confirmed no application for bail was being made.

District Judge Liam McNally quizzed him on his reasons and whether the court should still keep McCafferty in custody.

"All I know is that he (the accused) handed himself in," Mr McNally added.

But he was told by the detective that no suitable address is available.

McCafferty's solicitor also disclosed: "There would be a safety point."

On that basis the judge agreed to remand the defendant in custody to appear again by video-link on January 5.

McCafferty, who previously lived in the Glasgow area, worked as a youth coach and kit man with Celtic more than 20 years ago.

He was also involved with other Scottish clubs, including Falkirk and Hibs, before moving to Northern Ireland around seven years ago.

He was arrested on Tuesday after giving an interview to a national newspaper and then presenting himself at a police station in Belfast.

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