Ally McCoist backtracks on claim he would go to Old Firm Ibrox clash and break Scotland's new 'hate crime' law

​Rangers legend Ally McCoist has backtracked on a claim that he would break Scotland’s new hate crime law at the upcoming Celtic vs Rangers clash at Ibrox.
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The former player and manager made the remarks on TalkSport on Tuesday, but then yesterday he said he would not be going to the game after all.

The new law expands the definition of “hate crime” and has been widely criticised as being a gift to transgender activists, which they can use to have their critics investigated by the police.

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Mr McCoist had said on air on Tuesday that “everybody who has two brain cells in their head knows it is absolute madness”.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Ally McCoist interacts with a colleague prior to the Premier League match between Everton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on February 03, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Ally McCoist interacts with a colleague prior to the Premier League match between Everton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on February 03, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Ally McCoist interacts with a colleague prior to the Premier League match between Everton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on February 03, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He also said: “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 v Celtic game we are all going to.”

It was not made clear exactly what he meant by this remark, or why he believed all Rangers fans would break the law in unison.

But speaking to Alan Brazil on TalkSport on Wednesday, Mr McCoist said: “I will be away with the kids for a couple of days.

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“See people are accusing me of going to break this act, but I’m not even going to be at this game – which I thought I would be, but we are away for a couple of days.”

Meanwhile it was revealed on Wednesday that over 3,000 complaints had been made to Scottish police under the new law within the first 48 hours of it becoming live on Monday.

It is not known how many of these were genuine attempts to have people prosecuted under the law, and how many were efforts to discredit the law itself (which many critics have said is basically unenforceable).

However, reportedly a number of those 3,000 complaints were about a previous speech by SNP leader Humza Yousaf – the main proponent of the new hate crime law – in which he complained that there were too many white people in positions of responsibility in Scotland (the 2021 Census found 89% in Scotland described themselves as white).

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Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding author JK Rowling’s dare to police to arrest her continued on Wednesday.

She had posted a long thread on Twitter mocking the media, courts, and others for accepting the word of various male-born individuals – including serious sex offenders – who say that they are really women.

"If what I've written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment,” she concluded.

Scottish Police have now said that she had neither committed a crime, nor have her words been classed as a “non-criminal hate incident”.

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"Non-criminal hate incidents” are things which are legal to say, but which police (including the PSNI) will still officially log.

While stirring up racial hatred was already a crime in Scotland (and the rest of the UK), the new legislation has extended this protection to other people on other grounds, including transgender identity.

But its definition of “transgender” is very wide, and includes people who “cross-dress” without having undergone any diagnoses or treatment for gender dysphoria.

Under the new law “stirring up hatred” against such people may be a criminal offence.

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The news that no action at all has been taken against JK Rowling has prompted Tory MSP Murdo Fraser to demand an apology from police over the fact they had previously recorded a “non-crime hate incident” against him.

He had said last November: “Choosing to identify as ‘non-binary’ is as valid as choosing to identify as a cat. I’m not sure governments should be spending time on action plans for either.”