FOOTBALLERS have hit out after one of their team-mates was allegedly racially abused during a pre-season friendly – just weeks after a similar incident involving a player at another East Lothian club.

Haddington Town, formed two years ago, were taking on East Calder CFC Amateurs when the incident happened at Meadowmill on Sunday morning.

A number of fellow amateur clubs have got in touch offering support to the East Lothian side following the incident, which involved their midfielder Tony Ip.

He told the Courier he was quite “thick skinned” when it came to insults but admitted it was the first time he had been the victim of racial abuse on the football field.

Tony, who works in his family’s takeaway business, the Jade Garden, in Prestonpans, said: “I went in for a challenge, won the ball and the opposition player has said ‘you’re a squinty-eyed ****’ or something.

“He was squaring up to me and then walking away and that annoyed me even more.

“I picked the ball up and the referee stopped the game and gave the free-kick because he said he had never heard it.

“That was it really and everybody was going mental.

“I was not that bothered and I did not take in what was said.

“I was raging at the fact he squared up to me and walked away.”

Haddington Town were 3-0 up at the time and the opposition player was subbed at half-time.

East Lothian Courier: Tony Ip was in action for Haddington Town at the weekend when the alleged incident took place. Picture: Cribbes PhotographyTony Ip was in action for Haddington Town at the weekend when the alleged incident took place. Picture: Cribbes Photography

The West Lothian side took to Twitter following the game and said: “At half-time we were made aware of what had gone on.

“As manager, I promptly removed the player from the pitch and came to talk with [Haddington Town] and also spoke to the ref.

“We have a zero tolerance to racism, the player was a trialist and will not be welcomed back.

“Happy to assist LEAFA (Lothians and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association)/[Haddington Town].

“We send our regards to the player affected and we agree it has no place in football. We wish you all the best for season.

“We shouldn’t have to deal with these things but we hope you feel we acted appropriately.”

Tony, 27, who lives in Port Seton, said that the incident had fired him up and made him want to make sure his team came out on top, which they did, winning 7-2.

Tony told the Courier his parents were Chinese and said: “I’ve been playing football all my life.

“I have never been racially abused on the pitch.”

Haddington Town, who play in Sunday Morning Division Two, have now passed the matter on to the LEAFA.

Matty Thomson, co-manager of the amateur club, praised East Calder for how they had handled the incident, with the manager coming across to speak to the opposition at half-time.

Matty said: “It is ridiculous in any walk of life or at any level of football but it is ridiculous that you cannot play football and this not happen.”

Paul McLennan, MSP for East Lothian, described the incident as “abhorrent behaviour”.

He has already been in touch with anti-racism education charity Show Racism the Red Card.

The Dunbar and East Linton ward member and former Hibernian academy coach said: “It’s ridiculous.

“I had the article in the Courier last week about Marcus Rashford [his weekly column] and you say hate is not going to win and you see this coming forward. I’m totally disgusted by the action.”

The MSP is planning to raise the issue in the Scottish Parliament and wants more to be done to educate footballers at all levels of the game about racism.

It is not the first time in recent weeks that a player from an East Lothian team has been the victim of an alleged racist incident.

At the end of June, Wallyford Bluebell defender Kamran Tufail was allegedly racially abused by a Clermiston Vale player during an FN TeamWear Cup tie at Fisherrow.

Now, the two East Lothian sides will play each other on Sunday at noon at Fisherrow to raise awareness of racism in football. It is hoped that former Hibernian, and Scotland under-21 winger Kevin Harper will be at the game.