Ally McCoist: 'Hate crime law is madness, I'll be breaching it on Sunday'

The former Rangers player and manager claimed he will be breaking the new law during Sunday's Old Firm clash.

Scotland’s hate crime law will be breached by thousands at Rangers v Celtic Old Firm, says Ally McCoist SNS Group

Ally McCoist has branded Scotland’s new hate crime law as “madness” – and said that he and 48,000 other people will be breaching it during Glasgow’s Old Firm clash on Sunday.

The Hate Crime and Public Order Act – which came into force on Monday – takes the current law against the stirring up of racial hatred and extends that protection to other groups.

Those protected characteristics are disability, religion, sexual orientation, age, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics.

Speaking on TalkSPORT, the former Rangers player and manager questioned the new legislation – and said he and thousands of others will be “committing a breach” during Sunday’s crucial Old Firm showdown at Ibrox.

“We’ve got a hate bill, by the way. A hate bill has been passed in the country”, he said.

“And I can guarantee you, next Sunday at Ibrox, I, along with 48,000 will be committing a breach of that hate bill in the particular Rangers vs Celtic game we are all going to. It is madness.”

Concerns about the act have been raised by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), including the level of training on offer to frontline staff.

However, First Minister Humza Yousaf insisted he is “very confident in Police Scotland’s ability in order to implement this legislation in the way it should”.

McCoist said the new law is “unenforceable” and claimed that is what Police Scotland officers themselves think.

The pundit added: “That’s exactly what the police think.

“He has implied it, everybody with two brain cells in their head knows it’s madness, crazy.

“There is nobody in our country who thinks that is a good idea, who I have spoken to.”

McCoist has joined JK Rowling, one of the highest profile critics of the legislation, in speaking out against the law.

The Harry Potter author appeared to challenge police to “arrest her” if her controversial social media posts break the new laws.

Despite the critics, Humza Yousaf declared on Monday that he is “very proud” of the new laws – saying they will protect against a “rising tide of hatred”.

He added: “I’m very proud of the Hate Crime Act. We have seen I’m afraid, not just in the UK of course Scotland, but right across many parts of the world is a kind of rising tide of hatred against people because of their protected characteristics.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Any event will be policed appropriately.”

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