St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson told of his “huge relief” that everyone was safe following a terrifying supporters’ bus blaze.
Five people were taken to hospital for checks after the bus caught fire on the A9 near Auchterarder.
The drama unfolded as fans returned from the Perth side’s League Cup semi-final against Celtic at Hampden on Saturday night.
Quick-thinking passengers and the driver evacuated the vehicle – some needing to smash through glass – as emergency services rushed to the scene. Video footage later showed the bus engulfed in flames.
The fire service confirmed that everyone was accounted for.
Saints boss Davidson said: “It was a shock to see the footage of the bus and it was a huge relief to hear everyone is safe.
“It’s obviously a horrific thing to happen. Thankfully everyone is okay and the people involved are as well as can be expected.”
The A9 northbound slip road at the A823 (for Gleneagles) remained closed until Sunday morning.
Supporters group Fair City Saints had organised the bus and praised the speedy response of the emergency services and all involved.
Chairman Dan Shek said: “On behalf of Fair City Saints committee, I can confirm it was our supporters bus that caught fire.
“Firstly, I am glad to say everyone made it off the bus and whilst a few went to hospital with minor injuries all are doing well.
“This was a freak incident and we are thankful for the speedy response of the emergency services.
“The quick-thinking of the committee members and others on the bus, plus the bus driver himself, ensured everyone was off as quickly and as safely as possible and everyone made it home to their loved ones.
“This could have been a lot worse but it’s not worth thinking about.
“I would ask that you allow those affected time and space to deal with what was a frightening situation.”
St Johnstone posted a message on social media which read: “We were made aware that a supporters bus travelling home from the game caught fire. We are glad to report that everyone escaped without any serious injuries.
“We can’t begin to imagine how scary that must have been, and our thoughts are with everyone involved.”
Saints captain Liam Gordon was quick to send his well-wishes to the supporters and said that his heart went out to everyone involved.
Midfielder Liam Craig and goalkeeper Zander Clark also reached out to fans in the aftermath.
Commenting on the incident, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report of a bus fire on the A9 flyover near Auchterarder around 9.30pm on Saturday, November 20.
“Officers attended to help with road closures, alongside the fire service and ambulance service.
“There were not believed to be any serious injuries and five people were taken to hospital as a precaution.”
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 9.30pm on Saturday, November 20, to reports of a bus fire on the Gleneagles slip road off the A9.
“Operations control mobilised four fire engines to the scene and firefighters extinguished the fire.
“All passengers were accounted for and firefighters handed one casualty into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“Crews left after ensuring the area was made safe.”