FRANK CAIRNEY -SOUTH LANARKSHIRE

Ex-Celtic Boys Club coach jailed over abuse

Screenshot 2019-02-08 at 2.21.28 pm

A former manager of Celtic Boys Club has been jailed for four years after being convicted of nine charges of sexually abusing young footballers.

Sentencing Frank Cairney, the sheriff told the 83-year-old former coach he was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

During his trial the court heard that Cairney’s victims had suffered badly from the abuse, which dated back to the 1980s.

Sheriff Daniel Kelly praised the “courage” of the victims.

Cairney was acquitted of similar charges 20 years ago.

Following his conviction in December, a man who accused Cairney of abusing him in the early 1970s, said justice had finally caught up with the “evil paedophile”.

The man, whose identity is protected under the law, said Cairney had used his standing at Celtic FC to gain access to innocent young boys and abuse them in the most horrible way.

Some of the abuse took place in the dressing room at Celtic Park.

After sentencing he told BBC Scotland, Cairney had been given four years but his victims got a life sentence and they would take their experiences to the grave.

“When I saw him in court in December, he looked evil. I haven’t been able to get that image of him out of my head,” he said.

The man, who is in his late 50s, said he would wanted the authorities to ask if sentences handed down to men like Cairney were sufficient.

“The sentences have to be stricter so that we can protect our vulnerable,” he said.

Cairney is the third former Celtic Boys Club coach to be convicted of child sex abuse in recent months.

In November, Boys Club founder Jim Torbett was jailed for six years, while another coach, teacher Gerald King, was also convicted of abusing boys at a school.

After the conviction of Torbett, Celtic expressed “deep regret” for the victims but stressed the boys club was a separate entity.

The club made a similar statement on Thursday following the conviction of Cairney.

“Although Celtic Football Club is an entirely separate organisation to Celtic Boys’ Club, we wish to express our deep regret that these incidents took place, as well as our sympathy for the victims who suffered abuse,” it said.

“We are grateful for the courage of those who have come forward to report abuse and to give evidence after such a long period of time. We have great respect for them and their families as they continue to cope with the distressing effects of the abuse they suffered”.

The victim of Cairney the BBC spoke to had previously said that when he played for the Boys Club, they were regular visitors to Celtic Park and used to sweep the terraces there.

He said: “Celtic FC have been in denial of the association with the Boys Club. It’s appalling; please stop it.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47157008

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