Jack Grealish fires Aston Villa in front against Birmingham after being punched

Jack Grealish opened the scoring for Aston Villa in their bitter derby with Birmingham – an hour after being punched in the back of the head.

The midfielder steered the ball home for the visitors midway through the second half having recovered from the earlier incident.

Grealish was hit by the fan who was led away by police and later arrested – but he answered in the best possible fashion.

Birmingham have condemned the attack as “deplorable and disgusting” and will apologise to Grealish personally.

It is also believed Blues will take the strongest possible action and ban the man for life from St Andrew’s.

Jack Grealish celebrates his goal

Grealish fired home in the second half

ormer Manchester United defender Gary Neville called on the authorities to throw the book at Birmingham, tweeting: “The club are going have to take a huge punishment for this to act as a deterrent in the future . A Points deduction or Empty stadium for 10 games !”

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice was quick to react to the incident, tweeting: “Absolutely disgraceful what just happened to Jack Grealish”.

Brighton defender Shane Duffy added: “That is a disgrace.”

Grealish was punched from behind inside the first 10 minutes

The fan was led away and later arrested

There also appeared to be angry clashes between fans before the game at St Andrew’s.

The attack on Grealish following a number of high-profile incidents of crowd trouble in Scottish football.

In Friday night’s 1-1 draw between Rangers and Hibernian at Easter Road, Gers captain James Tavernier found himself face to face with a fan who had jumped out of the home support before being led away. Police later confirmed a 21-year-old man had been arrested.

That incident came six days after a glass bottle was thrown from the same section of the stadium as Celtic’s Scott Sinclair prepared to take a corner in a William Hill Scottish Cup game and on top of a series of missile-throwing incidents this season.

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