CHRIS Hughton has branded the booing of Brighton full-back Gaetan Bong by Burnley fans as 'shameful'.

Bong was jeered every time he touched the ball during the goalless draw at Turf Moor following his accusation that he was racially abused by Jay Rodriguez earlier this season.

The 30-year-old made the accusation following Brighton's 2-0 defeat at West Brom in January. Burnley-born Rodriguez was charged by the Football Association but an Independent Regulatory Commission “determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven” against Rodriguez, who criticised Bong for choosing “to publicly condemn” him.

Bong has since stood by his accusation, while former Claret Rodriguez has consistently denied using any racist language.

Burnley fans were keen to stand by Rodriguez on Saturday and Bong was booed before and during the game.

That angered Seagulls boss Hughton, who said: "I would have to say that I thought the reaction of the Burnley supporters towards Gaetan every time he got the ball was shameful. I really do.

"What they should do, the Burnley supporters, they should look at the two statements that came out afterwards – one from the independent committee and one from the FA.

"But I thought the reaction to Gaetan Bong was shameful. As regards his performance, it's nothing short of what I expect of Gaetan. He's an excellent, excellent professional and a top-class individual.

"In a game like today, which was a very tough game, I thought he put in a performance as he has done all season – a lot of discipline and knowing he's going to have to defend very well.

"He's an incredibly disciplined and straight individual – as honest a person as you will meet. It's something that happened, it's not nice at all and of course he's big enough and strong enough to cope with it. As showed by his performance.

"I was incredibly surprised, I must admit. I certainly didn't expect it here."