Trying To Look At That Rangers Statement Objectively


The events that followed the Scottish Cup final have been widely reported.

But as with most things in Scottish football a lot of the arguments lose great meaning because they come from an area of bias.

In this case it seems to be that Rangers and their fans fervently believe that all blame should lie with the Hibs fans for what happened at Hampden. While a huge amount of fans and commentators who follow pretty much every other team in Scotland hold the belief that all the problems started when Rangers fans entered the field of play.

I believe, as in with most arguments, the truth lies somewhere in between the two opposite points and if you have a clear unbiased mind you’d see the points of all concerned.

Rangers Football Club then released a statement on Sunday, twenty-four hours after the event.

It’s fair to say that the statement was staunch and impactful. Again supporters of Rangers will generally support it in its entirety, while others will ridicule it fully.

But again I think if you look at it after taking a step back, it makes some good points and some stupid observations that make it ripe for ridicule.

So I am going to try and see if I can show you the good and the bad (probably alienating every single reader along the way as I don’t fully back any side of the argument).

First off the tone is quite vitriolic. I understand that people at Ibrox will be angry and upset by what happened but they in no way seem to be a club looking to make friends again with rest of Scottish football. You can make an equally impactful statement without some of the bitterness that comes across when reading it.

Rangers finds it incomprehensible that no one, either from within the Scottish FA or Hibernian Football Club, has condemned Hibernian’s supporters following the violent scenes at the end of yesterday’s Scottish Cup final when Rangers players and members of our backroom staff were physically and verbally assaulted. We have not even had the courtesy of any contact whatsoever from Hibernian to ask after the wellbeing of those who were attacked by their club’s supporters.

Ok I think in most circumstances like this no team would come out and just accept blame without fully looking at it. It is important that they set out from the opening paragraph that players/staff were assaulted as it cleared up any misunderstandings and as it should be the main point of the whole statement.

Every club should expect that their staff and the players are protected and aren’t attacked. I’ve seen people say ‘Ah but they dodged the punches!’. I don’t get what point they are trying to make, no player should have to evade an attack when leaving the field. The intent was there and that is bad enough.

I get that Hibs will have been triumphant and in celebratory mood after winning their first Scottish Cup in 114 years but surely someone could have phoned, text or emailed Rangers to make sure no member of their staff was hurt during the pitch invasion.

There must be a full independent investigation into the shameful scenes at Hampden. Rangers is also at a complete loss to understand why certain individuals have hastily attempted to gloss over the appalling events which unfolded at the end of Saturday’s final.

No matter how many times Hibernian’s chairman and Scottish FA vice-chairman, Rod Petrie, and certain other biased commentators wish to play down Saturday’s mayhem and violence, the truth must not be distorted. What unfolded on Saturday cannot and must not be put down to exuberance. That is a complete insult to Rangers, our supporters, and those individuals who were intimidated and attacked.

I am all for a full independent investigation but you cannot also expect the SFA to just condemn the Hibs support at the same time. Surely we wait for that investigation to take place find out the facts and then act accordingly. It should be enough for the SFA to condemn all the violence that happened on Saturday without mentioning just one teams support at this stage.

I think people reacted to what they saw on Saturday without knowing all the facts. But that is understandable in this 24 hour coverage of events and news. Obviously some words weren’t great but I’d choose to see that as human error and still make the point that Rangers, especially their staff, deserve to see appropriate action take place against all guilty parties (including Rangers fans).

It was clear to most of those who watched in horror that the Scottish FA’s security procedures failed when Hibernian’s fans went over the top in their thousands. It is to be hoped that all of Scottish football will share Rangers’ disgust and any attempts to attach blame to our supporters for the disgraceful and violent behaviour, which led to our players and fans fearing for their safety, will not be accepted or tolerated by this Club.

We acknowledge that a tiny minority of Rangers fans also encroached on the pitch but only after having been faced with prolonged and severe provocation and in order to protect our players and officials who were being visibly attacked in front of them. Any club’s supporters would have done the same. This distressing and deeply disturbing episode would never have happened had Hibs fans behaved properly but as they swarmed across the pitch it became immediately obvious that the security procedures were inadequate and had failed.

I think security questions do need to be asked and answered. Obviously it is impossible to stop that many people jumping on the pitch if they are all entering at the same time. But we all know Hibs history and how long they’ve waited for that moment. Surely a better plan could have been put in place. The police should have been able to prevent the Hibs fans from passing over to the Rangers end.

Now for the part about Rangers fans. This is where I feel Rangers lose a great deal of sympathy because of their bias.

They should have said that no fan should have entered the field of play. Yes to a degree Rangers fans might have been provoked but we aren’t in a vigilante state.

I believe most Hibee fans ran on to celebrate, and that is wrong mainly because they were let down by the minority who clearly wanted to goad the Gers fans and/or players. But no Rangers fan ran onto that park to do anything other the cause trouble. Again you can call it protecting all you want but that is somewhat strange as they won’t have spoken to all those that entered the pitch and many jumped on with the intention to fight. Ultimately they should have waited for the police to take action.

‘Any club’s supporters would have done the same.’ 

That’s a very interesting line that I think many have overlooked. I think every team up to point has an element within their support that they would prefer not to have. In the same circumstances many a fan from various teams would have reacted the same way. But again it wasn’t the right reaction or one that can be justified. Again you can’t say Mr Petrie was wrong to say his fans were over exuberant and then say but all our fans behaved as they should have. No fan should’ve been on the park and we have all known that for decades.

Again I can see why they would highlight the security procedures which seem to have been poorly thought out or too slow in their response.

These fans were allowed to rush, unchecked, towards Rangers supporters at the opposite end of the stadium – all the while goading and threatening them. This makes it preposterous to suggest Rangers fans were somehow to blame as some commentators appear anxious to do. This thuggish behaviour must be investigated and as many culprits as possible brought to book and formally charged. This is the second time in a year that Rangers fans have had to endure attacks by another club’s supporters.

Again Rangers have to accept that their fans shouldn’t have entered the field.

Fully support the call for action against anyone caught being violent on the pitch.

I can also see why they’d point out that this has happened twice now in a year. Shows that the police should have been quicker as it has happened already in recent history.

It must also be said that it was not at all helpful to see leading members of the Scottish Government, including the First Minister whose parish is Govan, passing comment on social media without any attempt to condemn the behaviour of Hibernian’s fans. These failures are unbecoming of our elected representatives.

Seems extremely odd to use the word parish. Why make it religious?

She commented to congratulate the Hibs fans, one of which was her husband. We have no idea if she was actually watching the game or the aftermath. We do know she wished both teams luck before it.

Sh has since stated that the violence seen was unacceptable.

But why are we (football) running to politicians for their condemnation? I thought we wanted less political input when it comes to our national game?

Certain media outlets have also attempted to distort reality. In the case of the BBC this is, of course, not news. BBC employees, in particular Stuart Cosgrove, believe Rod Petrie’s comments to be ‘balanced’ and others speak of a ‘minority’ of Hibernian supporters. Another, Tom English, who was not even at the match, would prefer the authorities to focus on Rangers fans’ reaction. We will not endure this insult.

Are we arguing about it being a minority of Hibs fans that were there to cause trouble? Come on now it was just a minority. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t comment or ask for action against them but don’t try and insinuate it was more than that, that’s why people don’t take you seriously.

I’m not a fan of the naming and shaming of particular journalists. The former Rangers regime also did this and it lacks class. If you have an issue then go through the proper channels and make complaints.

So, let everyone be clear on one thing – Rangers demands that players, staff and fans be protected from the violence and hatred of supporters of other clubs Rangers fully expects the Scottish FA and Police Scotland to take action to provide our people with a safe environment. When players are unable to accept medals at the end of a final because of fears for their safety and our supporters are alarmed and extremely concerned for the women and children among them, then surely every step must be taken to ensure that this is never repeated.

Think the last paragraph makes sense and is fair.

I think that, all in all, a calmer head could have done a better job of putting over Rangers point of view which should have only been about the safety of their players/staff and the police procedures that seemed slow and inadequate.

Making a case for the Gers fans that ran onto the pitch and by bringing in the First Minister and the journalists takes away from their main argument and points. It almost becomes grandstanding in places and will get the backs up of so many people without any need to.

Listen these are just my thoughts on the statement as I see it. As I said at the start I think it makes some valid points and some equally bizarre points that open it up for mocking.

By simply calling for more to be done to protect their staff, without the distractions, could have been a better response in my opinion.



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