A disgraced Catholic primary school teacher has admitted posting a series of bigoted comments on Twitter.

Anne-Marie Clements badmouthed Protestants and glorified the Irish Republican Army in online posts. 

The former St Mark's Primary teacher appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday to plead guilty to posting "grossly offensive" messages on the social media site.

The court heard the 25-year-old, who had over 3,300 followers, lost her job as a Primary 7 teacher as a result of her antics, which included referring to Celtic as "Ronnie's Fenian Band", posting about "William of Orange b*******" and boasting "every day's a RA day" - in reference to the IRA.

She pleaded guilty to breaching Section 172(1)(a) of the Communications Act 2003 by posting tweets which were "of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" and which "contained sectarian remarks and images in support of a terrorist organisation."

Clements admitted posting "grossly offensive" comments from her home in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, an unspecified address in Perth, and elsewhere.

The case marks a spectacular fall from grace for a teacher, who used her Twitter account to post selfies with former Celtic star Anthony Stokes and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, with her solicitor describing the situation as "a tragedy."

Shamefaced Clements tried to avoid being photographed as she left court.

She then ran from the building and in to a waiting silver hatchback and kept her hood up and cowered in the back as she was whisked away.

Procurator fiscal depute John Penman told he court: "The essence of this is, between what amounts to a calendar month, at the addresses given in the libel, Miss Clements sent out a number of messages on this Twitter account."

Penman, prosecuting, said the Tweets were spotted by a member of the public on Sunday, December 20 last year, and found them to be "extremely offensive and of a sectarian nature."

The prosecutor added: "He therefore proceeded to look at the history of this account and established the accused was employed as a teacher at St Mark's Primary School."

The Twitter user in question emailed the school and attached screenshots of her Tweets.

On November 18 last year, the court heard, she retweeted a tweet from another user which read: "Before we address the so called problem of refugees, what's being done about protestants?"

Penman added: "She later posted a picture of a suspected IRA personnel holding a rifle, wearing a ski mask, with the caption, 'Every day's a RA day'."

And on November 26 last year - two hours before Celtic kicked off against Dutch giants Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Group Stage, in a game the Scottish side lost 2-1 - she wrote: "This is the one. Come on Celtic, intae these William of Orange b*******. Ronnie's Fenian Band."

The day after the irate Twitter user emailed the school, December 21 last year, Clements was spoken to by the acting head teacher about "inappropriate use of social media."

Penman said: "She initially denied any knowledge however when she was pressed on the matter she stated, 'I might have put stuff on about Celtic. I might have put comments about the IRA.

"The accused began deleting posts. She was told to stop doing it and she did.

"She then had a realisation and became very upset about what she'd done and the affect it would have on her family.

"It then became an internal matter."

Clements was invited to a disciplinary hearing where she had a Union representative with her and during the meeting she was suspended from her role and informed the matter would be reported to the police, causing her to become tearful.

Following a police investigation she was detained and interviewed, leading to her appearing in the dock and admitting her guilt.

Defence solicitor advocate Alastair Milne described the case as "a tragedy" and said his now unemployed client's life had been ruined by her online activities.

He explained: "The messages were sent to friends.

"In failing to engage privacy settings, clearly they were accessible by the wider public and were clearly contrary to the Communications Act.

"It's perhaps less easy to get a grasp of how this situation could have arisen - it's baffling."

He said Clements had been assessed by her GP, who said she "may have been experiencing an oppressive condition at that time, which may have had an affect" on her.

He added: "She is charming, caring, intelligent and compassionate, has engaged in charity work voluntarily, in her own free times, on a consistent basis for years.

"She has an Honours Degree and the affect of this matter on her has been catastrophic - she was sacked from her job and now faces proceedings before the General Teaching Council.

"It's a tragedy."

He said she had the prospect of a job as a support worker for adults with mental health issues but had to await a risk assessment.

And the lawyer said she no longer used Facebook or Twitter as a result of the trouble she had got herself in to.

As Sheriff Susan Sinclair fined Clements £600, reduced from £900 as she admitted her guilt, she slammed her for her actions.

She said: "This is going to result in a complete life and career change from the one she set out on not too long ago to pursue.

"The consequences have already been brought home.

"The comments you posted were wholly offensive, completely unacceptable and wholly inappropriate.

"This does seem to be wholly out of character for you.

"This kind of behaviour simply won't be condoned or tolerated.

"I have decided a fine, in all the circumstances, is sufficient in the public interest."

An East Renfrewshire Council spokeswoman said: “Miss Clements is no longer an employee of East Renfrewshire Council.

“East Renfrewshire Council has a zero tolerance policy to any form of hate, sectarianism or racism.

“The comments posted by Miss Clements do not reflect the views of East Renfrewshire Council.”