Rangers have posed for pre-match snaps with a loyalist band calling themselves the ‘Shankhill Road Defenders Flute Band’, before their friendly game against Linfield at Windsor Park on Saturday.
With the first Glasgow derby of the season days away – Rangers manager Mark Warburton, his management team and first team players took to the field to line up alongside a Protestant flute band to take photos, before they beat Linfield 7-0.
PICS: Lots of familiar faces, friends old and new at Windsor Park today for Jamie Mulgrew's Testimonial. pic.twitter.com/nUN6Gx8r8z
— Rangers FC (@RangersFC) September 3, 2016
Such a photo call is very naive given the game that takes place in a few days and someone at Rangers really should be questioning why their employees happily took photos with a group that marches in bigoted events that celebrate anti-Catholicism.
Given the violent thuggery of the club’s supporters following their 3-2 defeat to Hibs in last season’s Scottish Cup Final – is it any wonder when the Ibrox side publishes a statement demanding action against others [while ignoring their own fans misconduct]that people laugh, mock and criticise them?
Some will say that it was innocent and merely a photo call, but look at the fallout after Celtic striker Anthony Stokes attended a number of pro-republican events in Ireland. It was front page news in the nationals and the player himself was criticised and fined by then-Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
The Rangers team poses with the Shankhill Road Defenders Flute Band.
New club, same bigotry? pic.twitter.com/sAiLr5kF9f
— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) September 3, 2016
He was also condemned by members of the Scottish mainstream press for attending such events labeling his attendance as ‘inflammatory, idiotic and brainless’. I wonder what the same critics will write and say now when viewing the ‘festivities’ at Windsor Park ahead of the violate Glasgow derby?
What would have been said if Celtic’s first team posed with an Irish republican band in Derry so close to the derby game?
That was a rhetorical question by the way – we all know what would have been said and it would have been plastered over the front pages for the whole week and up to the morning of the game itself.
But what makes this selfie session worse for Rangers is that the band they chose to stand and smile happily beside were parading at a murdered UVF assassin’s remembrance parade following the match.
A number of flute bands and loyalists lay wreaths at a mural to UVF killer Brian Robinson who was killed by two undercover British soldiers in 1989 – minutes after he had murdered Paddy McKenna, a catholic. These groups including the Shankhill Road Defenders flute band march to ta spot yards from where McKenna was murdered in cold blood.
Robinson and his accomplice Davy McCullough, after murdering McKenna, took flight on a motorbike and were chased down by undercover soldiers before shooting both UVF men – Robinson died from a bullet to the back of the head by a female soldier nicknamed ‘the Angel of Death’, as he lay on the ground.
The only loyalists to be killed by the British military under their shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland during the troubles.
The same flute band also refers to Catholics as ‘manky tramps’ and ‘unwashed tramps’ on their official facebook page and that ‘us prods thrive on getting it right up yous [sic]’.
Surely Rangers really should have done some research on this ‘respectable’ flute band before posing for selfies with a group that openly hates Catholics and celebrates UVF terrorists.
Mark Warburton’s buzzwords over the past two seasons has been ‘respectful’ or ‘disrespectful’ depending on what side of the bed he got out of that morning. But maybe he should be looking up the definition of ‘inflammatory’ and ‘idiotic’ from now on.
Talk about asking for trouble. I wonder who will get the imaginary flute out next week? Or will they ask the Shankhill boys to be mascots?