Ally McCoist has urged calm in the public fallout between Tam Cowan and Marvin Bartley amid a row over the reaction to an alleged racist shout during a Premiership game.
Cowan issued an apology on Thursday afternoon after Bartley accused him of bullying over comments made in the aftermath of the incident, which took place during a Dundee United vs Hibernian game.
Rangers legend McCoist, who is in Qatar for the World Cup, has now intervened as he backed the character of both men.
A statement issued by Cowan on Instagram said: “Hibs have now clarified that there was indeed a racist comment at their game against Dundee United in October.
“This, of course, is new information and if I had known this from the outset I would have been the first to call it out, personally and on national radio.
“It’s absolutely abhorrent that this happens inside Scottish football grounds and I hope the culprit is now dealt with appropriately.
“In the light of this new evidence, I apologise for the upset caused.”
The comedian was largely criticised on the post, including a comment from Livingston goalkeeper Shamal George who left a series of clown emojis.
But, replying to the comment, McCoist urged calm.
The former Rangers and Scotland player said: “Marvin’s a good lad, and we all agree no one deserves racial, sectarian, or any form of abuse, and you’ve done more for deserving people with your charity work, and people in need, more than most Tam.
“I’m for everyone calming down.”
Livingston assistant manager Bartley hit out at Cowan over remarks made on his Off the Ball radio show following the incident at Tannadice in October.
The presenter had criticised the former Hibs player and urged him to apologise on air for being quick to condemn what he believed was racist abuse of Jair Tavares before an initial investigation suggested that the shout was derogatory rather than abusive.
Cowan then followed his comments with a series of Instagram posts mocking Bartley’s comments, however further independent investigations found the shout was in fact of a racial nature.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Bartley said: “Tam I really can’t believe you went on national radio and peddled out lie after lie.
“You attacked me and started a narrative on the back of an ‘inconclusive’ original outcome into something that has now been proven to be racist.
“Why did you feel the need to attack and bully me personally on this subject, so much so you went away from the truth and so many guidelines that the BBC have in place to stop things like this happening.
“Do you have any idea what that pain feels like to hear someone racially abused who looks like you? You don’t realise your words cause sleepless nights, have people abuse others on the back of listening to you, have people approach others in public, on the back of your words.
“You will never understand the pain, or maybe you do but you just don’t care.”