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Belfast police charges ex-Celtic coach McCafferty with child sexual abuse

By Graeme Murray

A former Celtic football coach has been charged with sexual activity with a child in Northern Ireland.

Jim McCafferty (71), who was involved in football in Scotland and Ireland from the 1980s, was arrested in Belfast by the PSNI after walking into a police station.

He is due in Belfast Magistrates Court today.

It follows an interview that McCafferty, originally from Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, gave to the Irish Mirror newspaper.

McCafferty left Celtic suddenly in 1996, citing personal reasons.

He worked for other Scottish clubs, including Falkirk and Hibernian, for several years.

He moved to Northern Ireland about seven years ago and lives in south Belfast.

McCafferty was arrested by detectives on suspicion of sexual offences against children in Northern Ireland after presenting himself at a police station in Belfast on Tuesday. The charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

In Scotland police say they have received information about alleged historic offences and will investigate.

A police spokesman said: "Police Scotland has received a report of non-recent sexual abuse and will commence inquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this matter."

On Tuesday the PSNI said it had received a "small number" of reports of historic abuse at clubs.

Meanwhile, another Scottish club has said it sacked a physiotherapist in 1992 over an abuse allegation.

Partick Thistle said it had been contacted anonymously recently for advice on who to contact with concerns over "historic events".

A club statement said: "As part of a proactive response to the emergence of alleged abuse in football, Partick Thistle has identified one historic allegation of abuse made against a former club employee, who is now deceased. The employee worked for the club for two years as a physiotherapist.

"As soon as the alleged abuse was raised in 1992, the club dismissed the individual with immediate effect.

"As far as Thistle's current management can ascertain, no other allegations were made to the club at that time with regard to him or any other employee. The club has contacted the SFA and Police Scotland to advise them of what they know to date and will fully comply with any investigation."

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