Rangers FC: John Swinney brands Glasgow celebrations an ‘absolute disgrace’ and says silence from bosses is 'deafening'
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has branded the behaviour of some Rangers fans “shameful” and “an absolute disgrace”, after thousands of them broke lockdown rules to celebrate their club’s Scottish Premiership title victory.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Swinney said he recognised that Rangers’ title win was a “special moment” for the club, and thanked “all those fans who celebrated at home, and who followed the rules.”
“But,” he insisted, the behaviour of some fans “has been an absolute disgrace,” which “has undoubtedly cast a shadow over what should have been, a special day for the team.”
The Deputy First Minister accused the club’s management of ignoring repeated requests from Scottish Government and Police Scotland officials to urge fans to celebrate at home.
He said authorities “reminded Rangers of the need for the club to advise fans to adhere to the current restrictions in discussions on the 26th of February and on the fifth of March.
“It is a matter of profound regret that that did not happen,” he added.
“The Scottish Government will be making our extreme disappointment at the lack of leadership clear to the team management,” Mr Swinney continued, “and we'll be speaking to all the authorities about what further assurance they can give to us ahead of future planned games.
“The success that we've had in recent weeks in reducing case numbers is because so many people across Scotland have stuck to extremely tough rules, which are designed to prevent the spread of the virus between different households.
“To see so many people deliberately flouting these rules, with no regard for the safety of others, is shameful.”
Mr Swinney also addressed widespread criticism of Police Scotland and “why they did not prevent people from gathering”, revealing that the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, has spoken to the Chief Constable about the incident.
“We'll be doing short again,” he said, “to understand why the events of yesterday, took place as they did.
He insisted that: “actions are now being taken to identify those responsible, and what can be done to try to ensure that we do not see a repeat of these scenes at upcoming events.”