Domestic abuse cases across the Glasgow area doubled on the day of the first Old Firm game of the season compared to a usual Sunday, police have revealed.
Strathclyde Police said officers were called to 142 incidents of domestic abuse in the force area. This compares with an average of 67 on a normal non-Old Firm Sunday, and 107 on an average Sunday where a match between Rangers and Celtic takes place in Glasgow.
A spokeswoman from Strathclyde Police said the average figures were calculated from evidence gathered by the force between April 1, 2004 and September 15 this year. She added it is currently unclear at this stage how many people were arrested as result of the call outs.
A spokesperson from the force said: "These are not just a set of statistics about crime in the west of Scotland on an Old Firm weekend. Behind every one of the numbers is a victim, a family and a community blighted by the violence that, sadly, is still attaching itself to this fixture.
"This was exactly why we called for the formation of the Joint Action Group back in March. It wasn’t because of the behaviour of the players on the pitch or the managers on the touchline. It was because we felt that something had to be done to tackle the unacceptable levels of violence that, unfortunately, we have seen again this weekend.
"We will continue to work with our partners in Government and in football to find solutions that will make a difference."
Strathclyde Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Corrigan said the "vast majority" of the 50,000 crowd at the match behaved sensibly. Twenty people were arrested at the game, either inside or around Ibrox stadium.
Five of them were for alleged offences of a sectarian nature, while the others were from alleged offences ranging from drunkenness to breaches of the peace.
Assistant Chief Constable Corrigan added: "Supporters did not engage in sectarian singing however the behaviour of a few was unacceptable."
MSPs take in the game
The arrests came as MSPs considering legislation to tackle hate crime, including sectarianism, attended the match to understand the issues police face on the frontline.
Among those at the game, which Rangers won 4-2, was Holyrood's Justice Committee convenor Christine Grahame.
She said: "I think what perhaps concerns me is the funding and resources that have to go into this, because there are over 300 police here, and we believe there are around 500 stewards. I have been very impressed with the containment. There are searches done in advance, but they are done discreetly.
"I think what I am concerned about now to look at is when the fans leave the stadium and go elsewhere, and certainly when they were coming towards the stadium. I think we are going to listen and see what the transport police have to say."
The committee has already heard evidence from security chiefs at both Rangers and Celtic as well as the Lord Advocate, football fans, pundits and academics.
Prior to the game, police and prosecutors warned football fans to behave at the match, stating there was no excuse of committing domestic abuse.
But in an interview with STV’s Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby, the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland could not confirm how many of Glasgow’s 9000 domestic abuse cases in the past three years were Old Firm related, as no study had been carried out.
Mr Mulholland also said details of convictions from domestic abuse cases on Old Firm days are not currently recorded.