WARNING - This article contains very strong language some may find offensive

RANGERS striker Michael O’Halloran has been hit with vile sectarian abuse online after he visited a Catholic church in North Lanarkshire.

The footballer popped by Holy Family RC Mossend on Monday to speak to young people about growing up while going to a Catholic school.

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The church shared an image on its Facebook page of the 27-year-old alongside parish priest Rev Fr James Anthony Grant and two young men.

The church wrote: “Delighted to have Rangers Striker Michael O’Halloran join us today in Holy Family to talk about his time at Catholic school.”

Evening Times:

In 24 hours, the post gained a lot of attention locally. However, some of the attention drew shocking comments across social media.

One Twitter user wrote: “So Michael O’Halloran had a nice wee scummy t***y pape day oot.

“That’s nice.

“Fenian b******.”

Evening Times:

“I’m hearing the pedo in robes called him Hun Scum for a wee joke,” was another comment.

Evening Times:

“Always knew he was a fenian mhanky b****** probably fiddled way bheast,” hit out another Twitter user.

Evening Times:

As the abuse from trolls started to pour out, many hit back as they came to the defence of O’Halloran and criticising the original post.

One said: “Sad day when pathetic tweets like this are doing the rounds! What year is it again?”

“Well done to him. It’s football for him,” said another, while one said, “Who actually cares? Grow up.”

READ MORE: 'Mindless morons' holding Glasgow back in fight against sectarianism

“Is this tweet for real?” asked one shocked man.

One Facebook user told the church: “Great to see this and thank you for featuring him.”

The church responded to one comment by saying: “A polite and dignified example to young people.”

READ MORE: Football bosses too 'lily-livered' to tackle sectarianism

Sectarianism in football is a growing issue in Scotland, particularly in Glasgow.

According to a recent survey, football, Orange Order and republican parades and social media were highlighted as the main contributors to sectarianism in Scotland.

More than three quarters (76%) of respondents to the study for YouthLink Scotland identified the football as the largest factor behind religious prejudice.

READ MORE: Call for unity to stamp out sectarianism in football

A Glasgow MSP said in March that the Scottish Government had to act on sectarianism because football bosses are too “lily livered” to tackle it.

As the Scottish Parliament looked to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act - which it eventually was - Cathcart SNP MSP James Dornan said it already led to increasing instances of sectarianism.

Leading anti-sectarian charity, Nil By Mouth, blamed “mindless morons” for holding the city back in its fight against sectarianism.

James Kelly, the MSP whose bill scraped the controversial Offensive Behaviour Act, previously called upon fans, clubs and the police to work together to tackle sectarianism in football.