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Rangers say fan violence ‘besmirched’ club’s reputation

Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers condemned the behaviour of fans involved in violent clashes with police for damaging the club’s reputation as celebrations of their Scottish Premiership title turned nasty.

Steven Gerrard’s men won the title over two months ago, but completed an unbeaten season with a 4-0 win over Aberdeen on Saturday.

Thousands of fans gathered outside Ibrox Stadium to celebrate and then marched into Glasgow city centre.

Scenes of disorder around George Square late on Saturday night led to five police officers being injured and 28 arrests with police chiefs saying many more will follow.

Videos posted on social media also showed fans singing sectarian songs and hurling missiles towards police.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon branded the actions of supporters as “selfish beyond belief” with Glasgow also suffering from a spike in positive coronavirus cases.

“A small minority of people behaved inappropriately and in a manner not reflective of our support. Some of the scenes were unacceptable and have besmirched the good name of Rangers Football Club,” Rangers said on Monday in their first public statement on the disorder.

“These so called ‘fans’ should reflect upon the values and ethos of our club, and consider the damage this does to the reputation of the club. We will continue to engage with authorities as required.”

Scottish Football Association president Rod Petrie says the actions of supporters – which included fighting, public drunkenness and anti-catholic singing – brought “embarrassment to the national game”.

He added: “Scenes that require the First Minister, Justice Secretary, Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Federation to issue condemnatory statements, and images that dominated the news agenda throughout the weekend, represent an abomination not a celebration.

“Those responsible for sectarian singing, for vandalism and for inflicting physical damage may attach themselves to football but cannot be considered football fans.”

Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the government will liaise with the football authorities to see what further action can be taken.

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