Celtic have released a statement expressing “regret and sorrow” over child abuse at Celtic Boys Club.

The statement read: “James McCafferty has pled guilty to offences he committed against young people between 1972 and 1996. Celtic Football Club wishes to express its regret and sorrow to those young people.

"McCafferty, who was employed by Celtic Football Club in the mid 1990s, committed these acts many years ago across a number of organisations, and all those who have come forward to report abuse and to give evidence deserve enormous praise for the courage they have shown. We offer our sincere sympathy to those young people, their families and all those involved.

READ MORE: Jailed-ex-Celtic Boys Club manager, Frank Cairney, loses bail bid 

"These are very sensitive issues, particularly for those who suffered abuse. When the allegations were published in the media in 2016, Celtic Football Club encouraged any individuals involved to report all information to the police so that these matters could be investigated fully and the Club continues to encourage any victim of abuse to report these matters to the police.

"Celtic Football Club takes all of its responsibilities seriously, stands by its responsibilities and will continue to do so.    

"The abuse of children has affected many areas of society, including football clubs, sports clubs, youth organisations, educational institutions and religious bodies across Britain.

"Celtic Football Club strongly believes that children and young people involved in football have the right to protection from all forms of harm and abuse and is committed to ensuring this and to promoting their wellbeing through continued cooperation with our children and young people, parents and carers and the relevant authorities.  

"Celtic Football Club was the first club in Scotland to appoint a safeguarding officer, responsible for developing our policies for the protection of young people, and monitoring and reviewing our procedures to ensure they continue to reflect best practice."

Jim McCafferty, a former kitman for Celtic, Hibs and Falkirk, was jailed for six years and nine months for sexually abusing young footballers over two decades. He carried out his abuse on 10 teenage boys between 1972 and 1996.

Mr McCafferty is the third person connect to the former Celtic Boys Club staff after Jim Torbett, 71, its founder, and Frank Cairney, an 83-year-old former coach, were both jailed for sexually abusing youngsters. Some of the abuse took place in the dressing room at Celtic Park.

READ MORE: Celtic may be legally absolved of connection to the Celtic Boys' Club sex abuse scandal . . . but morally they owe a great deal to victims 

Another coach, Gerald King, 66, the former chairman of the boys’ club, was convicted of abusing four boys and a girl while he was employed as a primary school teacher, but was not jailed.

There had been calls for Celtic FC to compensate the victims of paedophiles who used their positions at Celtic Boys Club to prey on children.

MSP James Dornan wrote to Peter Lawwell, Celtic’s chief executive, asking for Celtic to investigate the scandal. The club had expressed sympathy for the victims but insisted that the Boys Club is a separate organisation and not its responsibility.

The SNP MSP called for Celtic to follow the example set by Manchester City by apologising and offering compensation to victims who were sexually abused while in youth teams affiliated to the club saying: “This is a club that prides itself on doing the right thing. They must surely see that these individuals that played for Celtic Boys Club are part of the wider Celtic family.

“They should do what Manchester City did and make some money available to them, but more than that, they should make these people feel like they belong again.”

The English club set up a compensation scheme for sex abuse victims of former youth coach Barry Bennell.

Bennell was convicted last year of 52 offences committed against 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991.

Celtic Boys Club was founded in Maryhill in 1966 and renamed St Patrick's Sports Academy in 2018.

Thompsons Solicitors, the firm representing abuse survivors, have previously joined calls for Celtic to accept responsibility. The firm claim to have handled between 10 - 15 cases.