Thursday, November 5, 2009

Glasgow Rangers Football Club are the shame of Scotland. They have been for a long time and the reason's as to why is a long list.

The behaviour of their fans has been in question for some time and UEFA have been keeping a careful watch on their exploits, especially around their bigoted songbook.

Scotland's travelling football fans have built up a longstanding and proud reputation around the world, in competitions involving both clubs and country. That reputation is for enjoying themselves, but peacefully.

I would say in this respect that it could be argued that a lot of the drunkeness and the actions that go with it tarnish this reputation a little and perhaps too many of us view our behaviour abroad with a bit of rose tinted spectacles.

The general view is that hooliganism, of the kind that used to blight English clubs on their travels, has never been a problem for Scots fans.

All that changed of course with the disgusting behaviour of Rangers fans in Manchester for the UEFA Cup final in May 2008. Watching the footage and reading the reports was both sickening and embarrassing as a Scottish football supporter.

Despite the Club's best efforts to stamp out the sectarian songs and prevent more violence following their travelling fans, it seems like it's a case of the proverbial old dogs with tricks.

Last night saw some ugly scenes at the Ghencea Stadium in Bucharest where Rangers were taking on Unirea Urziceni in the Champions League.

Gers fans battled with stewards at half time and TV footage shows them involved in many scuffles and destroying seats in the stadium, with stewards retaliating to the provocation by spraying the fans at close range with CS gas.

The troubles were deemed to be serious enough for an announcement to be made that the game faced being abandoned if the situation didn't get back under control.

Not surprisingly UEFA reacted today by charging Rangers with improper conduct by their supporters.

Rangers response is to blame other factors, but the pictures speak for themselves. Whatever factors it doesn't merit the actions of the fans. One factor being mentioned is the lack of open turnstiles. Having faced that myself on more than one occasion (East Fife Scottish Cup tie at Dunfermline instantly springing to mind), I can honestly say that I never felt like fighting with the stewards or police as a result.

Rangers fans are an embarrassment to the Scottish game and we hope that UEFA throw the book at them. Hopefully not just financially either.

I'm sure a fine will be what follows. They may even order the Club to prevent fans travelling to away matches, which is always an impossible task to police. The only real action that may discourage the fans from this behaviour and hopefully get the decent Rangers fans (I'm sure there are some out there who follow the club solely for footballing reasons) to police themselves will be a ban from European competition.

It may take away my pleasure in seeing them make fools of themselves on the European stage but at least it'll also save the embarrassment of seeing the pictures beamed worldwide of what people think is a typical example of a Scottish football supporter.

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