Lanarkshire men deny singing racist song about Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi on Rangers supporters' bus
Four men have denied singing a racist song about Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi.
The Rangers fans accused were travelling on a supporters' bus leaving from East Kilbride last month.
Ian McKenzie, 30, Mark Speirs, 26, Dylan Devine, 25, and Marc Newton, 24, faced charges that state the alleged offences were "racially aggravated".
They all appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court yesterday in connection with the incident.
Prosecutors claim McKenzie, Speirs and Newton behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by singing a song containing "racial lyrics" during the bus journey.
McKenzie is also alleged to have made a gesture in an 'aggressive' manner.
It is further claimed that during a separate incident Speirs and Devine behaved in a threatening or abusive manner and made a "racial gesture" and sang a "racial song".
McKenzie also faces a separate charge which claims he was in possession of cocaine in East Kilbride in July.
And they were all granted bail by Sheriff Moira MacKenzie.
Depute fiscal Abby Seal attempted to have all four men banned from attending regulated football matches in Scotland as part of their bail conditions but this was rejected by the sheriff.
A trial has now been set for February 2022, however a preliminary hearing will take place a month prior to this.
Last month, Lanarkshire Live told how videos surfacing online appeared to show individuals travelling on the Westwood Rangers Supporters' Club allegedly cast racial slurs towards Celtic's Japanese forward Furuhashi, while going to an away fixture against Ross County in DIngwall.
Rangers quickly investigated the incident and subsequently banned the supporters' club from attending games indefinitely.
A statement from the Ibrox club at the time read: "Rangers can confirm that an investigation is now complete in regard to a video circulating on social media yesterday.
"The individuals involved have been identified and will be banned indefinitely from all Rangers games.
"Furthermore, the RSC of which they were members and travelled with to the game, has been banned from receiving tickets for future fixtures."
Celtic also condemned the incident, saying: "If reports are accurate then such sickening and pathetic racist behaviour directed towards Kyogo Furuhashi deserves absolute condemnation."
Furuhashi himself later tweeted: "I'll never walk alone."
*Don't miss the latest headlines from around Lanarkshire. Sign up to our newsletters here.
And did you know Lanarkshire Live is on Facebook? Head on over and give us a like and share!