The mob demanded the club act and the club jumped it seems. Rangers issued a statement on Monday afternoon condemning the ‘sickening and shameful display of outright sectarian hatred’ by Celtic fans at Parkhead on Saturday.
This was in ‘response’ to the club’s official supporters group, who demanded Celtic fans be banned from Ibrox when the next time the clubs meet.
As we reported over the weekend, Celtic fans hung two effigies from the top tier of the Jock Stein stand – one wearing a Rangers scarf and another wearing an Orange sash – with rope wrapped around their necks and arms tied behind their back.
A statement from the Ibrox club read: “The club’s directors are fully aware of the disgust felt by Rangers supporters who were subjected to a sickening and shameful display of outright sectarian hatred towards them. We also share the fans’ anger and will be contacting Club 1872 as a matter of urgency.”
The club’s supporter group said: “Club 1872 has reviewed pictorial and video evidence of the disgusting behaviour of sections of the Celtic support during the Old Firm game on Saturday.
“In light of this, we have today written to the Rangers board requesting that they ban Celtic supporters from Ibrox until Celtic can prove that they have taken substantive action against the Green Brigade and other overtly sectarian elements within their support.”
However, the Ibrox side and their fan base are hypocritical, to say the least. The club, which had a sectarian signing policy decades until the 1980s, blatantly ignore their own fan base and their continued sectarian singing and racial hatred. On Saturday their full repertoire of disgusting chants and songs were belted out from The Billy Boys to the Famine is over to chants aimed at the late Jock Stein and child abuse.
While every decent football fan can agree that the sickening stunt of effigies being hung over the top tier is disgusting, the notion that Rangers and their fan base can dictate to anyone about sectarianism is laughable.
Sectarianism is a scourge on our game, but a club that has played a significant part in staining our game has no right to claim the moral highground over anyone – especially when their own fans belted out their own sectarian hatred in the very same game.
But you won’t get the Rangers board condemning their own fan base – because they have a tendency to hang their own effigies of club directors outside Ibrox, issue death threats, target employers and media outlets, not to mention try to intimidate people into silence.
When you peddle statements ignoring your own supporters invading the Hampden pitch after the Scottish Cup to batter opposition fans and then have the audacity to praise them in the same statement – then you have no right to make demands of any club no matter the misconduct from their fans. Especially when you fuel their anger and their hatred – as they act like some sort of militant wing of the club.
I have already given my opinion on both elements from Saturday that brought shame on Scottish football once again, but I have to say that Rangers’ statement is their attempt to appease the mob who were foaming at the mouth after Saturday’s 5-1 defeat and helps the board in turning the attentions of the fans away from their failures onto their rivals.
Meanwhile, across the city Celtic issued their own statement saying they won’t get involved in a ‘tit for tat spat’ and will deal with it in a ‘proper and professional manner’.
A Celtic spokesman said: “Celtic will not become involved in a tit for tat spat regarding all events at Celtic Park on Saturday.
“We will deal with all issues arising in a proper and professional manner in line with our well-established policies. Saturday was a fantastic event for the club and our fans worldwide.
“We thank the overwhelming majority of our supporters for the positive backing they gave to the team and for making this such a great occasion.”
Celtic must act accordingly and punish those fans involved otherwise they will be seen as weak and inept. But one thing is clear out of this whole hate filled saga – the Celtic board are the only ones acting in a professional manner and not pandering to a hate filled mob to cover their own arses over a humiliating defeat and staving off another fan revolt.