GLASGOW, Scotland – Fans at a Scottish Cup soccer game jeered during a minute's silence for Pope John Paul II on Sunday, forcing the tribute to be cut short.
The booing by Edinburgh-based Heart of Midlothian (search) fans came before the semifinal against Glasgow-based Celtic (search), which has mostly Catholic fans. Referee Stuart Dougal ended the memorial less than halfway through because of the noise. The game was televised in Britain and overseas.
Hearts chief executive Phil Anderton criticized the fans' conduct and apologized to Celtic and the Scottish Football Association (search).
"It is disturbing that some Hearts fans failed to see the significance of this occasion," he said. "There is no room for that sort of behavior in the game."
Hearts had appealed to fans on Friday to respect the minute's silence for the pope, who died April 2. The tribute also was disrupted during Saturday's semifinal, when Dundee United beat Hibernian 2-1.
Celtic's main rival is Rangers, another Glasgow-based team — whose fans are largely Protestant — and games between the two have led to violence inside and outside stadiums. Over the past few years, however, hostility among the players has diminished mostly because of the influx of overseas stars who don't involve themselves in the religious conflict.