A FOOTBALL supporter who threw a plastic bottle at a former England international at Turf Moor is being hunted by police, who have branded the behaviour as ‘totally unacceptable’.

The bottle, which appeared to be thrown from the lower section of the James Hargreaves Stand during the second half of Burnley’s 2-0 win over QPR, struck former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton on the head as he waited to take a throw in.

The player, who ran a gauntlet of terrace chants from a season’s-best 16,000 crowd, all afternoon, handed the bottle to a nearby police officer and alerted the match officials to the incident before the game continued.

But he later branded the supporter as ‘three eyed’ and said he would have been banned by football authorities if he had responded.

A spokesman for Lancashire police confirmed an investigation was being carried out.

He said: “We are working with officials of Burnley FC to identify the person responsible.

“The vast majority of people go to a football match to enjoy the game and would find this incident unacceptable and we are determined to find the culprit.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who saw his side move three points clear at the top of the Championship as a result of the win, condemned the bottle thrower. He said: “We don’t want that. We want the fans to support the team but I can’t govern that while I’m trying to manage the team.”

Barton addressed the incident on Twitter yesterday afternoon and after referring to Sunderland supporters at the Wear-Tyne derby with Newcastle as ‘three-eyed’ he wrote: “In other news. Three-eyed people are really good shots with plastic coke bottles, so be careful out there.

“The three-eyed also have no concept of keeping quiet and getting away with it. So punched in the arm one week at Millwall during the game by a fan.

“The next week the coke bottle thing. Great safety in the Championship. If it was the other way round and I reacted, I’d be banned. Great that.

“I would never ask for a fan to be banned for getting carried away. We all do it at football matches. But enough is enough.”

A spokesman for the Football League said it would be inappropriate to comment until they had received the match report from referee Andy Haines.