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Former Dundee manager recalls being subjected to sectarian abuse by Celtic fans

Former Dundee manager Neil McCann has opened up about anti-Protestant sectarian abuse he faced from Celtic fans, despite him being a Catholic.

McCann, who during his playing career represented Dundee, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, Southampton and Falkirk, said he was subjected to the abuse throughout his career, including on the day tributes were being paid to his late father.

However, he stressed that the sectarianism is not only exclusive to certain clubs, such as Celtic and Rangers.

“It’s not just one club here, or just two clubs,” McCann, who played for Rangers from 1998 to 2003, told BBC Sportsound. “It happens at other clubs as well. I’ve been called ‘the hun’ and an ‘orange b******’ and all the rest of it and I’m Catholic.”

McCann explained that when he played football he had no interest in the “religious set-up or anybody’s ideas or gripes” but noted that it was a “hugh honour” to play for a “prestigious club” such as Rangers.

“I remember saying I wasn’t a Rangers fan when I signed but from then onwards I would become one because when someone is paying you to play for them then you give everything for that team,” he said.

Speaking about the sectarian abuse, McCann said he grew to ignore it but insisted it is “totally unacceptable”.

“I’ve been subjected to all sorts and some of the shouts which have come off the back of it are pretty despicable and shouldn’t happen,” the former Scotland winger said.

McCann revealed that his family were also subjected to the abuse.

“It’s difficult when you’re out with family – that’s when it becomes beyond personal. That’s when it hurts.”

McCann’s comments come amid a debate on sectarianism in Scottish football following the abuse Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke received during his team’s recent Scottish Cup replay defeat at Ibrox last month.

McCann revealed that he had also been taunted with the “exact same song” Rangers fans chanted at Clarke during the game but his experience saw the abuse coming from Celtic fans during Dundee’s home game against Celtic on Boxing Day 2017. The abuse came despite players and fans marking the passing of McCann’s father prior to the match.

“Even when we held a minute’s applause when my father passed away, I was subjected to the exact same song that Steve Clarke got when Celtic scored their first goal. Nothing was said about it,” he said.

Picture: Former Dundee manager Neil McCann. (Jane Barlow/PA).