Jim McCafferty
Jim McCafferty (L) stands with the Celtic youth team Handout

A former Celtic FC youth team coach has been arrested on suspicion of child sex offences after he handed himself into a Belfast police station. Jim McCafferty, 71, is accused of a string of child abuse allegations children in Northern Ireland where he has lived for around seven years.

McCafferty, originally from Wishaw in North Lanarkshire, also worked as a kit man for the Glasgow club, as well as Falkirik and Hibs.

His arrest follows on from an interview he gave to the Irish Mirror in which he admitted to abusing young footballers during the 1980s and 1990s.

He said: "There are things I've done and I have to accept that. But now this is about me drawing the line. I don't want to hide anything. I have been haunted by what I did.

"I was lonely and the boys made me feel good. I wanted their company without a doubt, although the greatest interest was football."

He added: "I understand it was wrong. I was wrong and I did wrong and I am sorry."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesperson said: "A 71-year-old male has been arrested by detectives after presenting himself at a station in Belfast.

"He was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences against children in Northern Ireland. He is currently helping police with their enquiries."

McCafferty left Celtic in 1996, citing personal reasons. His arrest follows on from a series of allegations which has rocked British football in recent weeks.

Around 350 alleged victims, including several former professional players, have come forward to claim they were abused as children by members of staff at football clubs.

Several forces, including Police Scotland, have launched inquiries into allegations of abuse at football clubs.