A Dons fan who was jailed for invading the pitch during the League Cup Final today said he is “deeply sorry” about the incident – and put it down to drunkenness and a bet.
Gavin Elphinstone was watching his beloved team play Celtic at Hampden Park in Glasgow when he “foolishly” decided to run on the pitch.
The 25-year-old barber vaulted a barrier, ran on to the pitch and waved a scarf above his head before intercepting a pass from Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain.
He was quickly confronted by stewards and then apprehended by police officers before being pelted with a flare.
After being taken into police custody, Gavin appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court and admitted breach of the peace and assaulting two police officers.
He was jailed on December 21 last year for 140 days, meaning he could not spend Christmas with his five-year-old daughter Lily-Alex.
After leaving the notorious HMP Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow yesterday and returning to his home in Kincorth, he admits he “behaved foolishly”.
He said: “I’d like to apologise to the police for assaulting them.
“It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t set out to hurt them but I respect I have admitted that in court.
“I also want to apologise to Aberdeen FC. I did not mean to embarrass the club.”
As an award-winning barber, Gavin is known in Aberdeen for his work in the community, where he often cuts the hair of homeless people.
On the day of the game – December 2 – he travelled to Glasgow early and admits he had “quite a few pints”.
He said: “I was absolutely steaming and can’t remember much of it. I behaved foolishly.
“I hadn’t checked my phone in a while and, during the second half, I noticed someone had written in our group chat, daring one of us to go on the pitch for £500.
“I thought it would be funny, so I ran on and only intended to go on to the grass area next to the pitch, but the stewards seemed to panic and came at me, so I ran onto the pitch.
“I don’t really remember kicking the ball. I woke up the next day in a cell with a burnt leg as someone had thrown a flare at me.”
He said he was shocked to be jailed as he had expected a community-based sentence and was fearful of going to the prison, known locally as “the Big Hoose”.
He said: “It was scary going to that prison. There were slashings and stabbings every day but I just kept my head down.
“I was particularly worried being someone from Aberdeen in a place full of Glaswegians.
“I got a job in the prison on day one, serving meals and collecting towels.
“I also cut prisoners’ hair and the guards were so impressed they asked me to cut their hair too.
“People were paying me in bags of protein and chocolate bars to have their hair cut.
“I kept myself busy, but the hardest part was not being able to see my little girl at Christmas.”
He said the worst aspect of the experience was bringing shame on his family.
“I didn’t like being portrayed in some parts of the media as a ‘demon barber’ and a yob and a thug,” he said.
“To me, a thug is someone violent. I just had a bit to drink at a football match and went overboard – something I am deeply sorry for.”
He added: “I’ve also got a football banning order for eight months, and I’d like to get it reduced, if possible.”
The order prevents him attending any association match in the UK and also affects overseas travel for games.