A FORMER manager of Celtic Boys' Club was acquitted yes- terday of charges of shameless indecency towards young football players.

Mr Frank Cairney, 63, of Elmbank Avenue, Uddingston, walked free from Glasgow Sheriff Court after the Crown case against him collapsed for lack of evidence.

This followed a submission by Mr Gordon Jackson QC, defending, that there was no case to answer.

Sheriff Rita Rae pointedly asked Mr Douglas Hamilton, depute fiscal: ''How long has the Crown had to prepare this case?'' He replied: ''Over a two-year period.''

She then turned to Mr Cairney in the dock and said: ''Having regard to the approach taken by the Crown there is insufficient evidence in this case and I am required in law to acquit you of these charges.''

Two of Mr Cairney's alleged victims who were sitting in court after giving evidence looked stunned and angry as the court was cleared.

Mr Cairney, accompanied by a burly companion, refused to make any comment as he left the court.

At the start of the trial on Thursday Mr Cairney faced five charges of shameless indecency towards five boys over a 17-year period to 1991.

The court heard that Mr Cairney was the ''main man'' at Celtic Boys' Club for more than two decades. As manager he picked the team.

John Taylor, one of the alleged victims said: ''When Frank Cairney said jump, you jumped.''

When the Crown case was closed Mr Jackson submitted that there was no case to answer.

He listed the charges and said the first two fell because they were uncorroborated, the third fell because there was no identification evidence, the fourth had been dropped by the Crown and the fifth fell because the evidence led in court fell outwith the period libelled.