ST MIRREN chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick has condemned the recent spate of missile throwing at Scottish football matches but insists it’s a societal rather than a football problem.

Fitzpatrick revealed the Paisley club are working in connection with the police to identify the supporter who threw a coin at Rangers’ striker Alfredo Morelos during Saturday’s match, and are investigating claims that St Mirren players Craig Samson and Danny Mullen were also struck with objects from the crowd.

On the back of similar recent episodes at grounds throughout the country, Fitzpatrick echoed Rangers manager Steven Gerrard’s call for anyone caught to be given a life ban from attending matches.

But he has also felt the blame for anti-social behaviour at matches couldn’t be entirely left at football’s door.

As he launched his autobiography, Fitzpatrick said: “It's unacceptable and something has to be done. But what can we do? On Saturday we had over 6000 people here and one or two do something. How is that our responsibility?

“We don't even know for sure if that's a St Mirren supporter. We're looking into it and so are the police. There are thousands of people coming to games and we do everything possible - we search people coming in, so why should a club be punished for that?

“What do you do? Do you say you can’t bring coins to a football match? We have charity bucket days so if we did that then charities would suffer. It’s horrible. We need to stamp it out.

“Maybe it’s just me because I am involved in a football club but it’s tough. People are getting flung out of Kevin Bridges concert. Do you say we can’t have a comedy gig? Do you fine Kevin Bridges?

“We have to look at society, look at bigger things than just a football club. It's not just football and we need to start looking at it and asking why it's happening.”

Morelos was struck as he slid on his knees in front of the St Mirren fans to celebrate his stoppage-time goal but Fitzpatrick said the Colombian had done nothing wrong.

He added: “I never scored many goals but when I did it was an incredible feeling. You lose control of your body and you don’t even think that you are celebrating in front of rival fans.

“Morelos scores a great goal and he ran right across the park. And you SHOULD be able to celebrate. That’s part of it. You should be able to do that without anyone throwing anything at you.

“Do it verbally if you want to get your frustration out. It’s an emotional sport. But it’s unacceptable when people start to throw stuff.

“It’s not just here on Saturday, it’s happening at other grounds as well. We’ve had it against some of our players as well but we’re looking into all that.

“It’s in the hands of the police but I’m sure with CCTV and all the things we have got these days we should be able to do that. As soon as we do, he or she will be banned.”

Fitzpatrick also felt that, despite recent incidents, supporters should still be able to buy a beer at a match as talks begin about reintroducing alcohol to Scottish football stadia.

He added: “I think you should be able to have a drink. I’ve been to games in England and at rugby matches and you can have a drink. It’s crazy you can’t do it at a football match.

“I’m for people having a drink in moderation. You go to a concert, you have a drink. Or in English football. So why not?”

Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, backed manager Oran Kearney to turn things despite losing his last seven matches. The Northern Irishman is yet to savour a win since succeeding Alan Stubbs as manager and faces a crunch match against bottom side Dundee this weekend.

Fitzpatrick, though, can see similarities between Kearney and former boss Jack Ross, and revealed the ex-Coleraine manager will be given time and money to turn things around.

He added: “Oran’s not had the best of results yet but it’s not just about that. We’ve got a long-term plan here. The fans love Oran, he engages with him and he’s going to be a top young manager.

“He has a lot of the same attributes as Jack Ross. Jack didn’t win any of his first six or seven games but you could see the work that was going on in the background.

“It’s the same with Oran. He’s not been getting results but that will come because of his hard work. He’ll be rewarded further down the line.

“We’ll stick by Oran and he’ll be here for a long time. There will be money available for him in January.”

- Fitzy: The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is available from, £11.99.