Celtic have released a statement regarding the conviction of Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett after he was sentenced to six years in prison for historic sexual abuse.

The club have expressed their “deep regret” that the incidents took place and provided their sympathy for victims of abuse, with two boys targeted whilst in Torbett’s under-14s team along with a third victim who was just five years of age.

In the statement, Celtic also urged any other victims to come forward and report information as they are keen for all matters to be investigated fully.

Whilst the club insists that Celtic Boys Club is an “entirely separate organisation” it was still very important that these incidents were acknowledged and the support of the club was given to the victims who suffered abuse over the eight-year period between 1986 and 1994 with justice finally being served.

The statement in full reads as follows:

“Following the conviction of Mr James Torbett at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Celtic Football Club wishes to express our deep regret that the incidents took place and sympathy for the victims who suffered abuse. We are grateful for the courage of those who have come forward to report abuse and to give evidence after such a long period of time. We have great respect for them and their families as they continue to cope with the distressing effects of the abuse they suffered.

Allegations regarding abuse at Celtic Boys’ Club first emerged in the 1990s. Although Celtic Football Club is an entirely separate organisation, we have always taken these allegations extremely seriously because of our historic contacts with Celtic Boys’ Club. All investigations by the police and other inquiries were given our full support. We encouraged any individuals involved to report all information to the police so that matters could be investigated fully. Celtic Football Club continues to encourage any victim of abuse to report these crimes to the police.

After the allegations became known in the 1990s, Celtic Football Club took steps to develop a new code of conduct and procedures to protect young people. Since then, Celtic Football Club has been at the leading edge of putting welfare and safeguarding protections in place for our young people. We were the first club in Scotland to appoint a safeguarding officer, developing policies for the protection of young people and monitoring and reviewing our procedures to ensure they continue to reflect best practice.

The abuse of children is an issue affecting many areas of society, including a large number of football clubs, sports clubs, youth organisations, educational institutions and religious bodies across Britain. Celtic Football Club strongly believes that children and young people involved in football have the right to protection from all forms of harm and abuse and is committed to ensuring this and to promoting their wellbeing through continued cooperation with our children and young people, parents and carers and the relevant authorities. “