'Soccer insult sparked station fracas,' court hears

A row broke out moments after former football star Gordon Durie was branded a “Rangers b******” by a young man, a court heard today.

Train driver Gary Lennon, 38, said he saw a punch being thrown in the direction of a train guard during a fracas at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station on November 14 2004.

Former Scotland international striker Durie is standing trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, accused of assaulting station worker Keith Laing that day.

Durie, of Dalgety Bay in Fife, is alleged to have seized the man’s throat and attempted to punch him during an encounter at the station.

The 40-year-old, who played for Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Hibernian, Hearts and East Fife, also denies committing a breach of the peace with three other men – Scott Houston, Paul Mooney and Edward Spence – on the same day.

Today, the second day of evidence before Sheriff James Farrell, Mr Lennon said he went to the station’s main concourse at around 9.40pm that Sunday.

There, he saw four men in suits involved in what he termed as a “carry on” with another young man and his girlfriend.

The witness claimed he saw one of the group of four knock a portion of chips out of the young man’s hands, whereupon train guard Graham Miller intervened to usher the young man through a set of barriers.

He said he then saw a member of the group, whom he identified as the third accused Mooney, throw a punch towards the pair, although he did not see whether it landed on Mr Miller or the other man.

Mr Lennon heard the fourth accused, Spence, encourage him by shouting “Go and hit him, Paul”, it was alleged.

Mr Lennon later saw Mr Miller and Mooney “grappling” with each other. Seeking answers as to what was happening, the witness said he spoke to the second accused, Houston.

Mr Lennon told the court: “I just asked him what it was all about.

“(He said) the young lad called him a Rangers b******.”

The witness told the sheriff that Durie had been the target of the insult.

The group of four men had had “quite a bit to drink” and Durie had a bottle of beer in his hand, he added.

The breach of the peace charge alleges that the four men conducted themselves in a disorderly manner, struggled with police officers, shouted, swore, brawled with another person and made violent threats.

Houston, 45, from South Queensferry, Edinburgh, Mooney, 40 from Inverkeithing, Fife, and Spence, 41, also from Inverkeithing, all deny that charge.

Mooney also denies assaulting Graham Miller and punching him on the head.

Spence has also pleaded not guilty to head-butting station supervisor Steven Pitblado in the face.

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