Belfast Telegraph

Lout who trolled disabled Celtic fan Jay Beatty banned from games for year

By Lesley Houston

A man who insulted an 11-year-old Lurgan boy with Down's syndrome on social media has been banned from attending football matches for a year.

Aberdeen fan Ross Gibson was in the dock of the city's Sheriff Court after admitting he tweeted that Celtic fan Jay Beatty was a "disabled piece of s***".

He also made crude remarks about Celtic captain Scott Brown's sister Fiona, who died of skin cancer in 2008.

After the comments Gibson faced a huge backlash and shut down his Twitter account hours after making the remarks, with people calling on Scottish police to arrest him.

Gibson, who admitted acting in a threatening and abusive manner by sending sectarian messages online, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and banned from attending football matches for 12 months.

During the hearing sheriff David Hall told him: "Picking on vulnerable individuals is simply not acceptable."

Defence lawyer Paul Barnett told the court the first-time offender had been drinking before posting the "poorly judged" messages and said his client was disgusted by his behaviour, which followed a match between Aberdeen and Celtic in March.

Jay became an internet sensation after becoming the only non-professional player to score the Scottish Professional League goal of the month at New Douglas Park last year. His pre-match penalty during Celtic's game against Hamilton Academical led to the packed terraces giving a huge roar of approval as the 11-year-old hit the back of the net.

Both sets of fans chanted "we love you Jay, we do" and "there's only one Jay Beatty".

He was later nominated for the Scottish Premiership goal of the month award and won the accolade with an incredible 97% of the vote. It was after Jay went to collect his award in March the vicious online attack occurred.

The aspiring young footballer has not let his Down's syndrome hamper him and has done a lot to break down social barriers.

His mum Aine told the Belfast Telegraph last year: "He has far exceeded our expectations.

"When he was born, everything we were told about Down's syndrome was very negative, and no one told us how wonderful it would be.

"The way Jay is with the football crowd just amazes me. He does it himself - we don't push him forward.

"I really didn't know what to expect for Jay and had just decided when he was born to take it day by day and that I would do everything in my power to make life as normal as possible for him.

"Jay has completely exceeded our expectations, and everyone who meets him just falls in love with him.

"He has a fantastic wee personality and he never ceases to amaze and delight us."

Belfast Telegraph


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