Early Doors

BBC viewers miss top flight game as swearing fans get match hauled off air


Fans of Scottish Premiership club Ross County.

Viewers of BBC Alba could have been excused for cursing their luck on Saturday after the station scrapped plans to show Ross County's match against St Mirren less than an hour after it finished due to foul language.

County won a bad-tempered game 2-1 in Dingwall, a contest watched by over 3,000 hardy souls, but the game was set for a much bigger audience as the Scottish regional channel planned to broadcast it 'as live' on a tape delay shortly after the final whistle.

But that plan was altered due to the game apparently brimming with so much industrial language from the stands that broadcasters felt they couldn't show the match before the 9pm watershed.

BBC Alba - a Scottish gaelic language channel - was concerned that the Old English epithets being spewed at the players would have prompted action from Ofcom for breaching guidelines on what is acceptable.

Dingwall has a population of under 6,000, but County still managed to take 17,000 with them to Hampden Park in Glasgow when they faced Dundee United in the 2010 Scottish Cup final.

A spokeswoman for the channel apparently said there was no time to edit out the swearing for a 5:30pm start. The match was eventually shown on delayed transmission, but not until 22:55pm.

The BBC said: "In compliance with the rules set by Ofcom, where no programme that carries offensive language can be broadcast pre-watershed, BBC Alba had no choice but to defer broadcast of today's Ross County v St Mirren match until post-watershed due to bad language picked up from the crowds."

The fans' fruity language wasn't the only controversy at the match, incidentally: Ross County manager Derek Adams and St Mirren coach Danny Lennon were pulled apart on the touchline as tempers boiled over, with both being sent to the stands by referee Willie Collum.

Adams also berated St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin after County's win, with the incident that prompted the trouble being a challenge on Filip Kiss using an arm.

"He's incensed our players," said Adams. "It's been a difficult match but it's plain to see. I don't have to say anything because it's there on the television pictures."

Indeed there were. You just had to stay up until an hour before midnight to see them.