THE man at the centre of sex abuse charges at Celtic Boys Club was investigated by a long-time fan of the club.

Gerry McSherry, 44, spent months investigating the claims made against Frank Cairney, the former general manager of the boys' club, and passed on the information to police.

However, yesterday it was McSherry himself who appeared in court charged with carrying out a breach of the peace by placing Mr Cairney in a state of fear and alarm through a string of telephone calls.

He admitted making the calls to Mr Cairney's home, some late at night, and some in the early hours of the morning.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that Mr Cairney had a ``malicious call indicator'' fitted to his telephone at his home at Elmbank Avenue, Uddingston, Lanarkshire. By pressing the digit 1, Mr Cairney could instantly see the number calling him on a display.

The first of the calls came in the early hours of December 1 last year. During one of the calls, McSherry, of Skye Road, Rutherglen, identified himself. The number calling was also identified as McSherry's home telephone number.

Late next day, Mr Cairney received more calls, beginning at 11.30pm. In January this year, McSherry was invited to attend Viewpark police station voluntarily, but refused.

Mr Cairney received more calls before police visited McSherry at his home. Under caution he admitted making the calls but denied that they were abusive.

The last of the calls to Mr Cairney's home came on March 11. McSherry was later cautioned and charged. In court he admitted causing a breach of the peace, and another offence under the Telecommunications Act.

He had previously pleaded guilty to two further offences but changed his pleas to not guilty. The pleas were accepted by the Crown.

McSherry's defence lawyer, Mr Joe Hughes, said his client had become ``obsessive'' in his investigation into allegations made against Mr Cairney.

He said: ``The background is that the complainer at one time had a major part in Celtic Boys' Club. Mr McSherry became aware of certain peices of information.

``For him commenced a fairly mammoth investigation to try to substantiate the information he had received.

``Mr McSherry co-operated with a number of individuals at Strathclyde Police and passed over an amount of information.

``He has an amazing number of contacts in television, the press, and within football. There have now been charges brought against the complainer.''

The court heard that McSherry, who has three children aged 20, 15, and five, had been under considerable strain.

His marriage had faltered because of his obsession with investigating claims made against Mr Cairney, and his mother had died recently.

He had received counselling because of his ``mental state'' and was due to undergo a period of ``lengthy therapy''.

Mr Hughes said: ``Since March of this year, there has been no repeat of the behaviour.'' He added that McSherry now accepted his behaviour had been ``bizarre''.

Addressing McSherry, Sheriff William Gibson said: ``It would not be fair of me to reach a disposal under these circumstances. There is this long background and it would help if I understand why you broke the law by making these calls.

``There is nothing on the face of it to say these offences are terribly serious but it is bad enough putting someone in a state of fear and alarm.

``On the strength of what Mr Hughes has said, the two most likely options are to admonish you or impose a fine.''

He deferred sentence for five months and called for background reports.