A RANGERS fan who launched a bottle at a Hibernian supporter from Port Seton who had run onto the pitch during a fiery Scottish Premiership clash has been banned from attending matches for more than three years.

William Brown threw the juice bottle at Cameron Mack after the Hibs supporter had confronted Rangers star James Tavernier at the side of the Edinburgh side’s Easter Road pitch earlier this year.

Brown, 27, became angry after witnessing Mack invading the pitch and threw the bottle as the Hibs fan was being led away by police officers just before the end of the first half.

The Rangers supporter was spotted throwing the missile from the stands by a Scottish Ambulance Service worker and a member of the security team, who subsequently informed police.

Brown, from Shotts, North Lanarkshire, was allowed to watch the rest of the game from his seat in the South Stand but was arrested by officers outside the stadium on March 8.

Brown pleaded guilty to throwing the bottle onto the pitch during the Scottish Premiership match between Hibs and Rangers during an appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and returned for sentencing last Thursday.

Sheriff Peter McCormack noted that Brown had a previous offence aggravated by religious prejudice and handed out a community payback order as a direct alternative to custody.

The sheriff said: “I understand this was a reaction to a supporter of the other team going on the pitch and assaulting a player and he was duly imprisoned.

“This is an example of how criminal conduct at a football stadium can cause others to join in, so it is a serious matter.”

Brown was ordered to stay within his home address between 8pm and 6am for the next eight months and was banned from attending any regulated football match in the UK for the next 40 months.

Previously, the court heard that Brown was seen launching the bottle from halfway up the stand behind the goal housing Rangers’ 3,500 supporters just as the referee blew the half-time whistle during the rowdy game.

Fiscal Depute Eilidh Yates said: “At around 8.30pm at the half-time whistle the accused was seen by two witnesses throwing a bottle over the heads of 17 rows of spectators and onto the pitch.

“He was sat in the South Stand in the away support and was directly in front of the match control room.”

The fiscal said that the ambulance worker and the security member informed police about what they had seen and Brown was arrested outside the stadium at the conclusion of the match.

Philip Templeton, defending, said that his client had thrown a plastic juice bottle after witnessing Rangers full-back Tavernier being confronted by Hibs fan Mack.

Mr Templeton said: “This was a game where a fan had ran onto the pitch and confronted a Rangers player.

“The impression that the steward had was Mr Brown was effectively aiming at the fan on the pitch.

“The bottle landed on the concrete footway and did not strike anyone.”

Brown admitted culpably and recklessly throwing a bottle onto the field of play during a Hibs v Rangers match at Easter Road, Edinburgh, on March 8.

Hibs fan Cameron Mack was previously jailed after he admitted running onto the pitch during the same game and confronting Rangers player James Tavernier.

He was also banned from attending matches for 10 years and told he would be banned from Easter Road stadium for life.