Controversy returned to Scottish football this evening after a firecracker was thrown at a game between St Mirren and Celtic.

In the 85th minute Celtic player Ryan Christie scored to put his team 2-0 up in the Scottish Premiership clash.

Just seconds later the noise of a firecracker could be heard and there was a puff of smoke on the side of the pitch close to where Celtic fans were celebrating.

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St Mirren goalkeeper Václav Hladký, who was standing just a few metres away, bent over putting his hands to his ears. Medical staff were then called to examine him before the match restarted a few minutes later.

Christie was also visibly startled when the cracker went off as he jogged back to his own half.

Commentators on the game, which was being televised live by BT Sport, reacted angrily to the incident, which comes amidst rising concern over the behaviour of football fans.

Former Celtic player Chris Sutton said: "These idiots, or the idiot who threw that, should be banned for life. It is just madness.

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"You have to say I think that your true Celtic fan doesn't do that. That is not a fan of Celtic. You can see all the players got a fright. That is absolutely pointless."

Following the game Celtic manager Neil Lennon condemned the action.

He said: "From our standpoint at the club we don't want pyrotechnics, fireworks, bangers, flares in the stadium.

"I'm just hoping that the St Mirren goalkeeper is all right. Health and safety of the players is paramount. And I don't think it's a necessity that anyone needs in the stadium.

"It doesn't serve any purpose. It may have hurt somebody and it puts a delay in the game that you don't need."

St Mirren manager Oran Kearney told BBC Sportsound that Hladky was "a little bit shaken, but okay" after the incident.

He said: "It's landed close to him and the sound from where I was 50 yards away was loud. We're just glad it's nothing more sinister."

St Mirren fans responded to the incident with chants of "scum" and "Scotland's shame".

Under the 1985 Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act it is an offence for a person to enter or attempt to enter a football ground while in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework.

The sentence for such offences can be as much as three months in prison.