RIOT police were called in when football fans clashed after Bolton’s pre-season friendly against Hibernian.

Angry supporters caused havoc in Middlebrook Retail Park after they were kicked out of the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

Only minutes later, a large number of police officers descended on Stoneclough Road near Kearsley Station, where scores of fans were fighting in the street.

Staff at Middlebrook said a mob of angry fans, understood to be Hibernian supporters, punched a man in the back of the head before chasing another man who tried to help him.

The rampaging horde of about 20 people smashed windows at Birthdays and The Works before trashing displays near the entrance to the bookshop and throwing them into the store.

The man fled to the nearby O2 shop to escape his attackers.

All three shops locked their doors to protect shoppers, and staff at The Works activated a panic alarm, which brought security and police to the scene.

Assistant Emma Byrne said: “Someone was punched in the back of the head, and saw him go down and hit the floor.

“Someone tried to pick him up, then about 20 people came towards him and it just kicked off.

“They picked all these baskets up and threw them all over the shop. They were literally just going for anyone. It was very scary.”

Meanwhile, outside Kearsley Station, a group of about 40 Hibernian fans were returning to their minibus when fighting broke out.

Lee Charlton, landlord of the Hare and Hounds, said about 100 people arrived in black taxis to attack the Scottish fans.

He said: “We’ve been washing blood off the walls outside, but we never saw anyone get hit. We just locked the doors and went upstairs and watched out the window.

“All these taxis turning up didn’t make any sense. It’s a quiet village down here, and stuff like this doesn’t normally happen.

“I’m told it was all pre-arranged - organised firms from Oldham, Bolton and Manchester to come and fight against Hibs and Celtic fans.”

He said the Hibs fans’ minibus was vandalised to stop them escaping. Two people were arrested at the scene.

Celtic and St Mirren were also playing in the North West on Saturday, causing a large influx of Scottish fans to the area.

Police had been tipped off that trouble was planned, and undercover spotters were employed to look out for early warning signs.

Trouble started during the second half of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s testimonial game, when the atmosphere turned sour as fans’ taunts turned into sectarian chanting, and dozens of rowdy supporters were escorted from the ground by police.

Det Chf Insp George Fawcett said: “Police responded quickly to quell the disorder and additional police resources were brought in from other areas.

“As a result of doing that, two people were arrested. Order was restored quickly and the fans dispersed peacefully.“ Middlebrook marketing manager Heather Crank-Ingham said: “All the stores acted quickly and locked their doors to keep shoppers safe.”

After the match, fans wrote about the incidents on internet forums.

One Bolton fan wrote: “We were in the card shop and all of a sudden some security ran in shouting 'get to the back, now’ so we did.

“Two seconds later the windows cave in with Scots being rowdy and that. Walked out later and saw more of the same down the row.”

A Hibs fan wrote on another forum: “In all fairness it seemed to be harmless banter. However, after half time it seemed to get a bit more nasty.

“The police threw out a few Hibs and Bolton fans and there was a minor incident in the Hibs end. Outside the ground I saw the Bolton fans shouting up at the Hibs fans that were on the hill.

“To the 98 per cent of Hibs fans that attended today - well done, you done your club proud. To the other 2 per cent - you are idiots and belong back in the 1980s.”