Ally McCoist blasts new hate crime law "madness" ahead of Rangers vs Celtic clash - claiming he will breach it

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The legendary former Rangers striker and manager has spoken out against the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act on TalkSPORT

Ally McCoist has labelled the introduction of Scotland's new hate crime law as "madness" - and insists he and 48,000 other Rangers fans will be at risk of breaching it during Sunday's Old Firm clash against Celtic.

The controversial Hate Crime and Public Order Act - which officially came into force on Monday - has been met with a tidal wave of criticism from several high-profile figures including author JK Rowling and CEO Elon Musk, who argue that the legislation could harm free speech.

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The act, which was passed by MSP's in 2021, creates a new offence of "threatening or abusive behaviour that is intended to stir up hatred" and extends that protection to other groups. Those protected characteristics are age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity.

But Rangers all-time leading goal scorer McCoist, who will be appearing as a pundit at Ibrox for this weekend's Glasgow derby showdown, has questioned the new legislation.

Speaking on TalkSPORT, McCoist admitted he and thousands of other supporters will be "committing a breach" during Sunday’s blockbuster match. He said: "We’ve got a hate bill, by the way. A hate bill has been passed in the country. 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."

McCoist claims even Police Scotland officers believe the act is unenforceable. He continued: "That's exactly what the police think. The police spokesperson has come out and more and less said that. He obviously can't because he'll get himself in trouble. 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."

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Concerns have been raised by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), but First Minister Humza Yousaf declared he is "very proud" of the new laws by stating they will help 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 spokesperson for Police Scotland commented: "Any event will be policed appropriately."

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