Steven Gerrard has called on the authorities to take “severe” action as the trend of fan missile attacks in the Scottish Premiership has begun to occur with increased regularity.
Concerns over player safety have heightened this season after a number of alarming fan attacks on players have marred a return to prominence for the Scottish game in the form of a hotly-contest title race.
Rangers left-back Borna Barisic narrowly escaped a potentially serious injury during Friday night’s win at Hibernian when a glass bottle was hurled at him from the Easter Road stands.
It is not the first time fans based in the stadium’s East Stand have hit the headlines.
Gers skipper James Tavernier was confronted by a pitch invader in March, just a week after Celtic winger Scott Sinclair was also targeted with a glass bottle.
And ex-Liverpool legend Gerrard believes the failure to stamp out those incidents has only encouraged others to follow suit.
He said: “Only action from the clubs will help or stop it in the long run.
“We can’t just talk about it in the media. There’s got to be serious actions taken. The individuals need to be identified because I do believe it’s a minority.
“They need to be punished and punished heavily so it stops other people trying to do it in the future.
“It’s a crazy decision to throw a bottle onto a football pitch. The damage you could do is unthinkable.
“It’s very disappointing to see that but I’m sure Hibs will deal with that. It’s something for Jack Ross and Hibs to deal with as a club rather than us.
“We again just send a message to our own fans to make sure they behave.
“If the punishment isn’t severe enough then people will continue to make bad decisions from the terraces.
“There needs to be an example set – a severe one – and then that will make people think and things will improve. But it does seem like we’re going backwards rather than forwards.
“It goes quiet for a little while and it seems like people are listening. Us and managers and players will keep saying the right things but the fans have to take responsibility for their actions when they go to the game. They need to concentrate on watching the football rather than misbehaving.”