It is a fans' incident that has been described by police as "completely unacceptable" in the wake of Steven Gerrard's first Scottish Premiership match in charge of Rangers.

But the concern is less to do with behaviour of fans in and around Pittodrie before and after the 1-1 draw on Sunday.

It was all over the destruction of a single sandcastle at an Aberdeenshire beauty spot.

And before a ball had even been kicked.

Police are investigating claims a Rangers fan was responsible for destroying a three-year-old's creation at Stonehaven harbour.

Searches have even been made by police as they scour the Mearns town for clues over who was responsible.

It comes after the child's father went public with the incident with tweets that went viral.

David Officer claims the incident happened after football fans on a supporters bus stopped off at the beachfront on Sunday ahead of their draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The complaint has taken a turn though, as the father has been bombarded with criticism and, he claims, abuse  from fans who questioned his motives.  Others have expressed incredulity at the fuss that has been made.

The 37-year-old says his in-laws were in the town with his eldest son when one of the fans shouted at his father-in-law, who is said to be a Rangers fan, before kicking down the sandcastle.

“I’m more annoyed for my father-in-law and mother-in-law who had to deal with it. My son wasn’t affected by it, but I just don’t get it. I don’t see the point in all of that. It’s just not something you do," he said.

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Later he went on social media to say that Rangers fans were now "filling my timeline with abuse" and saying it didn't happen.

The father, who works as marketing and communications officer at Aberdeen City Council said: "Quite a few taking pride in kicking over wee kids sandcastles. Incidentally, my father-in-law is a Rangers fan, so they were harassing one of their own.

"Maybe a wee bit of humility would be good."

North East Police Division’s local area commander Chief Inspector Martin Mackay said officers were looking into who was responsible for the incident.

He added: “Officers in Stonehaven were made aware of a minor incident yesterday morning involving a handful of men who we believe to be football fans that had stopped off in the town for a short time on their way to the game.

“A unit was despatched and searches made, however they had already left the area.

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“Incidents like this may be low-level in nature and very rare, however they are completely unacceptable and unwanted in any of our communities.”

After being accused of being a liar, Mr Officer, who is a photographer and artist,  said he had reported some fans to Twitter, saying: "Rangers fans really doing a great job changing my mind about them by tweeting non-stop abuse and accusations to me. Now trawling my Twitter for anything they can use against me.

"Maybe they should direct this level of anger at their fellow 'supporters' instead of folk on Twitter."

He later said that he had spent a lunchtime "reporting idiots" and added: "The thing is, they think they're winning a battle. That by sending hundreds of tweets all saying the same thing, that they're striking a victory for Rangers. This isn't a battle though is it? Just a dad sharing his dismay that a bunch of grown men made his sons day a bit shi**er.

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"I do think focusing on the sand castles is missing the point. Obviously, it makes for a handy example of Rangers fans love of playing the cartoon villain, but the issue was the experience, not the actual sand castles. Also the co-ordinated pile-on afterwards is probably worse.

"I think any parent would be dismayed to hear this had happened to their family. I guess I shared the story online to get it off my chest a bit, and to try and understand why people think it's ok to behave like this. Seems they just think it's funny to pick on kids.

"Is it the worst thing that's ever happened? No, of course not, doesn't make it ok though does it? And I guess it's easier for Rangers fans to focus on this instead of the stabbing of visiting Croat fans, and their various other problems.

"My main takeaway from all this though - Twitter continues to be the worst. Why are we even on this site?"

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Sandcastlegate has provoked a colourful response on social media.

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