TWO Rangers fans have been cleared of singing a song in support of a terrorist organisation as a sheriff described the legislation they were charged under as “deeply flawed”. 

John Montgomery and Brian Taylor, both of Greenock, were cleared after a court heard the organisation they were accused of singing about – the Young Citizens Volunteers (YCV) – is not on the Government’s list of banned terrorist organisations.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard the YCV is the recognised youth wing of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), which is a proscribed terrorist organisation.

Prosecutors said the pair had broken Section 1(1) of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012 by “acting in a manner which would, or would be likely to, incite public disorder by singing songs in support of a terrorist organisation, namely the Young Citizens Volunteers (YCV).”

But Mr Montgomery, 29, and Mr Taylor, 26, denied the charges, relating to an incident during a Rangers-Dumbarton match on January 2. Police Inspector Marian Maclean told the court: “The YCV is a group regarded as the youth wing of the UVF, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation, albeit the YCV itself is not.

“To me they have brought in the association of a proscribed terrorist organisation and the support of a proscribed terrorist organisation. I believed at that point an offence had been committed which could be likely to incite public disorder – it could provoke a reaction.”

After the prosecution led evidence, David Tod, representing Montgomery, made a no-case-to-answer submission.

Upholding the submission, Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “It is deeply flawed legislation. Sectarianism is a blight on Scottish football, a blight on Scottish life and there is an evil in football represented by sectarianism.

“It seems this Act was designed to try and deal with this evil. I’m not satisfied the Crown have established that any crime has been committed and accordingly I uphold the submission of no case to answer. Do not think this means I approve in any way whatsoever with conduct which is in any way sectarian in nature.”

Mr Montgomery, of Bearhope Street, and Mr Taylor, of South Street, said they were delighted with the ruling.