THE scenes after the William Hill Scottish Cup Final have disgraced Hibs, the Scottish Football Association and Scotland.

Having viewed every piece of available evidence and read every account I can, and having spoken to people who were there including journalists and fans of both clubs, I am going to try to explain what happened and I will lay the blame at the feet of a minority of Hibs ‘fans’ and the Scottish Football Association.

First point: the behaviour of some Hibs fans on Saturday went way beyond exuberance.

Those people who ran onto the pitch must search their consciences and come together collectively to apologise for their actions and raise money to pay for the damage to the national stadium – that is the only way they will be forgiven for ruining the greatest day in the club’s history for 64 years.

Anyone who has lived in Edinburgh or followed football in Scotland over the decades knows that Hibs have a serious problem that the club rarely admits to and which they have never properly dealt with.

They were supposedly out of business but many people in Edinburgh, including the police, know that young men, some of them the sons of original casuals, are masquerading as Hibs fans while their sole aim is to get involved in violence and fighting.

These are not poor white trash. Many of them have jobs or are students. They are not as organised as the casuals of old, but they are out there and I have absolutely no doubt that the ‘fans’ who ran to the Rangers end to try and goad them into fighting were casuals or so-called ‘ultras’. It’s what they do, so they must be dealt with, and dealt with harshly right now.

The majority of Rangers fans showed restraint and are to be congratulated for doing their civic duty. Some of them reacted under provocation and went out to fight.

Rangers FC’s official reaction to the post-match criminality has been inflammatory and ill-judged, a cack-handed and completely cynical attempt to seize the moral high ground that played to the gallery of their support, but will simply annoy everyone else in Scottish football.

Just when fans of other clubs might have had some sympathy for Rangers, the overweening arrogance of the club statement and its sheer paranoia will just have everyone asking Barcelona? Manchester? Because they are part of Rangers’ history, too.

Some things in the statement are just plain wrong – Stewart Regan was the first to blame the Hibs fans, my old friend and colleague Tom English was one of the first to be condemnatory of the Hibs supporters on the pitch and Rod Petrie likewise apologised immediately for what happened, maybe not directly to Rangers’ officials, but on air.

Tom English has been defamed by Rangers, not least because he is one of the fairest sports writers in Scotland, helped by the fact that he hails from Ireland and doesn’t have a bigoted bone in his body. Rangers should apologise to Tom, for they are just completely wrong, and are stirring up hatred and perhaps putting his safety at risk when he was just a journalist who was doing his job correctly.

On Sunday, the Rangers website went down and it was reported to me that they were going to change it and not condemn individuals, but the website is back and not a word has been changed.

Some people compared the mayhem to the 1980 Scottish Cup Final riot. Sorry, but that made Saturday’s disorder look like a children’s tea party and I know, because I was there.

For a start, in 1980, both sets of fans scaled 10 feet high perimeter fences to get at each other, and cans and bottles flew – Daily Record photographer Eric Craig, had his skull caved in by a bottle. There was also massive sectarianism and bigotry involved.

The Criminal Justice Act brought in after the battle made sure there were no bottles and cans at Hampden three days ago, and the fences were all taken down after Hillsborough, which put the emphasis on policing.

In 1980, Archie MacPherson wailed on his commentary ‘where are the police, where are the police?’ and he could have said the same on Saturday. That is something that must be looked into, because there have been many accounts of police standing outside the ground at full-time on Saturday when they should have been inside.

The match was organised by the SFA, and now they have agreed to a full independent investigation into the shameful scenes.

The SFA don’t do real ‘independent’ investigations normally, and much will depend on who they ask to chair it. I suspect a whitewash coming, but if by some miracle the SFA is found to be at fault then chief executive Stewart Regan must resign or be sacked. It was his show, and if he got it wrong, he must go.

A couple of final points – the very nature of the victory helped spark the trouble. If Hibs had been winning 3-0, there would have been no invasion, but that late, late winner sent exuberance over the top.

I firmly believe that whoever was in charge of the policing and stewarding simply could not react in time to that late goal. With a bit more time, he or she could have marched the many stewards and police outside the ground to the Hibs end and prevented the incursions. That was just bad luck.

Lastly, those politicians who are queuing up to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act have been very quiet since Saturday. I wonder why…and can you please stay that way until we see if the Act really works. Without a doubt, Saturday saw offensive behaviour at football on a grand scale and now is the chance to use the law and really hammer the miscreants who ruined Scotland’s showpiece match.