Celtic fan from Derry blinded in one eye in assault after Old Firm game

Charlie Phelan suffered horrific injuries during an assault as he returned from Sunday's Old Firm game.
Seamus McKinney

A CELTIC supporter from Derry was blinded in one eye in an “unprovoked, savage attack” after Sunday’s match against Rangers.

Charlie Phelan (48) also suffered a broken eye socket, cheekbone and nose when he was beaten unconscious in Ayrshire with what he believes was a “knuckleduster”.

Although his attackers were not wearing football shirts, he believes he was targeted because he was wearing a Celtic top and scarf.

Mr Phelan said the man who inflicted most damage was wearing “Union Jack shorts”.

“I had just come out of a fish and chip shop when I was hit. I don’t really remember a lot but I’m told I was hit twice and knocked out,” he said.

His friend Dermot Rogan said: “We had stopped in Girvan for fish and chips as we always do.

“As we came out, a crowd of fellas came running at us from a bus. There were women and children on the bus as well.

“Charlie was the first out and the guy in front hit him and he fell and when he tried to get up, the guy hit him again. Charlie didn’t know what was going on.

“I was trying to get them to stop and the bus driver was trying to get them back on the bus. They were Scottish.”

Mr Rogan, who remained in Scotland to support his friend, said he and Mr Phelan were with 14 other Celtic fans who regularly travel for games and the attack was unprovoked.

“This was an absolutely savage attack on a completely innocent man,” he said.

Mr Phelan, who returned home last night, said he is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

“I have to have reconstructive surgery to my cheekbone and I’ve suffered fractures to my fingers and wrist as well. They could have killed me. I had no chance to defend myself.

“They think he might have had a knuckleduster because the doctor said he must have had something hard in his hand for the damage he caused.

“My face is a mess and it’s sore. The anger hasn’t even sunk in yet. I will not be back. 

“I’ve been going over to Celtic games for 25 years and nothing like this has ever happened.”

Police Scotland said officers were called to an incident at Bridge Street in Girvan at about 6.50pm on Sunday.

They are investigating but say they are not treating the attack as “sectarian or football related”.

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