THE behaviour of fans during the Old Firm derby at Parkhead "could have led to public disorder" according to the Scottish Government.

And the hanging of effigies within Parkhead, described by some as "mock executions", with one depicting a Rangers fan, was deemed "inappropriate behaviour" according to an official response to fans complaints to the First Minister.

Police last week launched an investigation into Saturday's Old Firm fixture after a toilet block at the away end in Celtic Park was vandalised and hanged effigies were suspended from a tier inside the stadium.

HeraldScotland:

The scenes were described at the time as "hugely disappointing" by senior officers but so far only one football fan has been arrested during the game in which Celtic defeated Rangers 5-1.

Following the first league clash between the teams in four years, pictures emerged on social media of a toilet block that appeared to have been smashed to pieces by the travelling Rangers support.

Celtic supporters also came under fire for producing a banner which read "Know Your Place Hun Scum" and dangling two plastic effigies with hands tied behind their backs in the manner of an execution from the upper tier of the Jock Stein Stand.

HeraldScotland:

They had been hung from a banner reading: “This is it bhoys this is war”.

Meanwhile witnesses describe offensive and sectarian chanting from both sets of fans including IRA songs and the notorious Billy Boys.

The hanging blow up dolls adorned with Rangers scarves could be seen at the start of the live TV coverage of the match as the players took to the pitch.

Rival fans have disputed the significance of the stunt with some suggesting it was making reference to Rangers FC liquidation in 2012, but others emphasised that they were mock executions.  

It also came just days after former Rangers star Kris Boyd spoke out about his brother Scott taking his own life.

Others pointed out it coincided with World Suicide Prevention Day.

HeraldScotland:

Fans complaining to the First Minister about last weekend's events have been told that the Scottish Government recognises that some of the behaviour on display during the match "may be likely to fall" under the provision of section 1 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 "insofar as it could have led to public disorder".

A letter sent to fans from the Safer Communities Directorate, says: "We also appreciate the hanging of effigies was inappropriate behaviour, particularly given this match was played on National Suicide Awareness Day.

"It is an offence under [the Act] if any person engages in behaviour which is likely to incite public disorder, or if their behaviour expresses hatred towards another person based on their religious affiliations, colour, race, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.

"[Section 1] of the Act also covers threatening behaviour, such as engaging in fighting or challenging other supporters to fight and 'other behaviour offensive to the reasonable person' - charges of this nature normally include support for terrorist organisations or celebrating or mocking events involving the loss of life or serious injury.

HeraldScotland:

"Police Scotland have since confirmed they are now carrying out an investigation to identify those responsible for unacceptable behaviour during Saturday’s match."

The response suggest fans report any criminal behaviour to Police Scotland. Some fans felt the response was "passing the buck".

Others believed that official response underplayed the outrage felt by the effigies.

One Rangers fan said: "The response is a cop out. The effigies were far more than just inappropriate."

A spokesman for Rangers FC last week described the effigies as a "disgraceful and sickening" act.

And Rangers supporters group Club 1872 called for a ban of Celtic fans from Ibrox after what it described as "overtly sectarian" displays.

A Celtic FC spokesman said the club would not become embroiled in a "tit for tat spat".