Rangers fans were urged to ditch bigotry yesterday by a combined Fans Groups joint statement, backed by Rangers owner Craig Whyte, it also called on the fans to continue celebrating in the proper manner.
The statement said: “The support from our fans during the final games of the season was said by many to be magnificent and created a fantastic atmosphere that was the envy of other clubs. Everyone connected to the Club from the team to the fans were responsible and we want to continue this throughout the coming season.
“Last season there were too many headlines about matters that have nothing to do with football and no-one wants to see a repeat of that.
“We, the Rangers supporters, are continuing to play our part. We are actively tackling fan behaviour issues, engaging with all our fans’ groups and the authorities and we are determined to eradicate all forms of sectarian, political and highly offensive singing at all football grounds throughout Scotland.
“These are matters that affect many clubs and we take issue with those who wish to lay every problem at Rangers door. We are encouraged by the actions of the new Chairman, Mr Whyte, in terms of his appointments such as Gordon Smith and in challenging the media and the football authorities to treat us fairly. When it comes to dealing with offensive behaviour we are looking for a level playing field.
“There is a very positive feeling around the Club as we start a fresh era. Following our call to eliminate the small number of songs and phrases that saw us in trouble with UEFA, we are delighted with the way the support created a party atmosphere during the final few games of last season.
“Most of our supporters know the score now in terms of singing, chanting and add-ons to songs and we are clear in our minds – no Billy Boys, no FTP or references to Feni@ns.”
Craig Whyte backed the fans’ statement saying: “It is a new era for Rangers and one in which we want to see even more success coming to the club. I congratulate the fans for taking the initiative as we prepare to start the new season and fully support their statement. We are all united in our desire to see the club do well.”
The statement comes two days after Rangers fans were accused of singing sectarian songs during the Peter McKenzie testimonial between Stirling Albion and a Rangers Select side.
And comes just a few months after the Ibrox side were fined €40,000 by UEFA and their fans banned for one European away game after sectarian singing in their two Europa League ties against PSV Eindhoven.