A MAN accused of seriously assaulting two Kilwinning Rangers fans after a cup tie was cleared by a court last week.

Trouble erupted after fans targeted a player, previously convicted for sex offences, chanting “paedo” during a Scottish Cup tie between Kelty Hearts and the Buffs.

Kelty players broke off from their post-match warm down to jump over the barriers and confront visiting Kilwinning fans after the repeated taunts aimed at their team-mate Craig Thomson, convicted of sex offences involving children when a player at Heart of Midlothian.

The violence resulted in two Kilwinning supporters being seriously injured and both required to have plates inserted in their faces.

Kelty Hearts club stalwart Stefan Winiarski, who has served as a player, assistant manager and head of community club development was accused of the assaults.

But on the second day of a jury trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, the charges against Winiarski were dropped and he was formally acquitted.

Winiarksi, 40, had denied assaulting James McComb by punching him on the head to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and permanent impairment in February.

He also denied assaulting Darran Telford by punching him on the head to his severe injury.

James McComb, 33, from Kilwinning, admitted he was “a bit tipsy” by the end of the game having started drinking on the mini-bus from Ayrshire. He said that at the end of the match – won 2-1 by Kilwinning – he was walking towards the exit when he got into an argument with someone from the home club who was retrieving a corner flag.

“There were a few swear words exchanged on both sides. I said to him, ‘It’s just a game of football. There’s no need to act like that just because your team lost.’

He held up the corner flag as if he was going to hit me with it.”

He was struck to the left side of his face and added: “I can’t remember much. I just fell or crouched down, I think.”

He had sustained a fracture to an eye socket and required surgery which involved a titanium plate being inserted into the left side of his face.

Mr McComb said he has been left with no feeling in the injured part of his face and has also lost his sense of smell. He told the court he did not know who it was who struck him.

Darran Telford, 44, from Kilwinning, said: “There was quite a good atmosphere at the match but in the last 10 minutes the Kilwinning fans found out something about one of the Kelty players.”

Thomson was then targeted for abuse with shouts of “paedo” by some fans but he had not been involved in this, said the witness.

He said:“I saw James on the floor. He was covering his face and was covered in blood. There were committee members there and I couldn’t get close to James because I was punched.”

Mr Telford suffered a fractured cheek bone and had a metal plate inserted.

Buffs manager Christopher Strain, 38, told the court he became involved in the incident trying to calm down fans. “I was delighted having won as under-dogs and didn’t want anything to taint the occasion,” he told the court.

Mr Strain saw Darran Telford being punched but didn’t know who hit him.