New East Fife boss Dick Campbell has claimed he was spat on by an Arbroath supporter.
The 70-year-old says the alleged incident following the Scottish Cup defeat to Spartans helped make up his mind to leave the Angus club after seven years in charge.
Campbell stood down from the manager’s role with the Red Lichties in November and insists he was ‘annoyed’ and ‘angry’ the Gayfield board did not try to convince him to stay on.
He has this week returned to the dugout after taking over at East Fife in the wake of the resignation of Greig McDonald at Bayview.
But he remains irritated by the alleged events he claims sped his departure from Arbroath, who had lost a fifth consecutive match when he exited.
In an interview with the BBC, he said: “We played Spartans and we got beat.
“And I think the result, from board level there, they were disappointed in not going through to the next round – for money.
“But we still had a problem, in terms of team selection.
“The game finished and I said to [brother and assistant] Ian five minutes before the end of it, ‘this is going to be a difficult walk’.
‘Corridor of abuse’
“Because how it happens at Spartans, you’ve got to walk through a corridor of abuse, which I was never, ever used to.
“And one boy had a right go at me and then somebody spat on me.
“[Arbroath defender] Colin Hamilton had a go at the boy that spat at me and I just shook my head.
“And that was it for me. I don’t deserve that and neither do any of my staff.
“But I get angry when I hear that [abuse]. Ninety-five per cent of the fans want us, but there’s always that wee bit of idiots.”
Campbell was replaced by Jim McIntyre, who has picked up a win and three draws from his 10 games in charge.
But the veteran former Forfar Athletic, Brechin City and Ross County manager claims he could have had more support from the Arbroath hierarchy in his final days in charge.
He added: “I think the chairman could have stood up and said, the week before, ‘look, don’t worry about it, if Arbroath go down Dick will be the man to bring us back in’.
“But nothing happened and that kind of annoyed me and disturbed me.
“And I said, ‘right, after the game, things are not right here. I’ll make it easy for you and step down’.
“The thing that annoyed me more than anything else, is they never tried to keep me, which I find even to this day irritating and [I’m] angry.
“But I’m bigger than all of that. I’ve still got a hell of a lot of nice people, a lot of nice friends.”
Referring to his job taking Arbroath to the brink of promotion to the Premiership in 2022, he went on: “We’ll go again. It was a dream and a miracle, what happened.
“But all good things come to an end.”