Following our statement on the events after the Scottish Cup Final, we were inundated with requests from our members and Rangers supporters in general to challenge an article which appeared in the Daily Record on 26th May 2016. This article was based on the claims of a single, anonymous police officer. The article also quoted two other anonymous officers who say they were told of the allegations but did not actually witness them. It blamed Rangers supporters for stopping the police from reaching Hampden to deal with the assaults, vandalism and widespread disorder of Hibernian fans following the final whistle.
It is impossible for us to account for every individual supporter’s behaviour but it is absolutely clear to us from the information, videos and accounts we have received that the main thrust of the article – that Rangers fans acted as one to hinder the progress of public order police officers to Hampden – is false.
As a result of this we met with the Editor of the Daily Record and presented him with the evidence we had gathered. We were offered a rebuttal to be published by the Daily Record and an acknowledgement from the Daily Record that the claim that all Rangers fans were involved in these alleged activities was false. We accepted this offer and expected this rebuttal to appear in the Daily Record this week, however at the 11th hour the offer was withdrawn. We have been told that this change of mind relates to the status of IPSO complaints against the paper.
We are extremely disappointed that our attempts to resolve this matter with the Daily Record have been unsuccessful. Particularly in a situation where they openly admit that at least one of the main claims in the story is false. The Daily Record had an opportunity to bring some much needed balance to their reporting of this matter and have decided for whatever reason not to take it.
The article claimed that there was a “mob mentality”, that Rangers fans were “refusing to get out of the way” and “using children to block the way”. It further claimed that “this wasn’t a few bad eggs, this was everyone walking past us” and that fans “ambushed the vans” and “surged towards the cops”.
Comments made by the Police Federation’s Calum Steele in relation to these events also bear no resemblance to the videos, personal accounts or information that we have. These include personal accounts from a number of people on the Club 1872 working party.
The final whistle in the Scottish Cup Final went at 16.51. Our video evidence, published below, shows that a mere 6 minutes after that, public order vehicles had already arrived at a point no more than 200 metres from Hampden.
The video shows a public order vehicle appearing completely unimpeded from Cathcart Road. As soon as it reaches the congested area it turns off its siren and comes to a stop. No attempt is being made to clear the road as officers appear to be quite reasonably aware that there is nowhere else for the fans exiting from Letherby Drive to go.
Further on in the video these vehicles are still parked and have made no attempt to move. They have been joined by several other public order vehicles, none of which can move due to natural congestion in the area. This is a typical scene at the end of any football match. Fans leaving the stadium peacefully. No “surging”, no “mob mentality”, no “refusing to get out of the way”.
The final part of the video was taken on Cathcart Road. Again it shows Rangers supporters walking past police vehicles which get stuck in traffic. Our supporters are avoiding these vehicles, not impeding them. Crucially, the video shows these police vehicles only arriving on Cathcart Road over 15 mins after the final whistle. This clearly conflicts with the account of the unnamed individual whose claims were the basis for the story printed by the Daily Record.
We would reiterate that we wish to help Police Scotland in any way we can to learn lessons for the future. The blame for the events of that day lies squarely with the Hibernian fans who entered the field of play, attacked our players and goaded and abused our supporters. However it is clear that their behaviour could have been mitigated by more effective security arrangements and hopefully those arrangements can be improved following the independent inquiry. Club 1872 will be seeking to provide input to that inquiry.
It is extremely unhelpful for individual police officers to be leaking false or at best greatly embellished accounts to the press. We would also seriously question the motivation of those involved in constructing this article. It was irresponsible and we consider it to be yet another attempt to smear and dehumanise the Rangers support. This is only the latest in a line of such attacks which appear to follow the rule that Rangers supporters must be treated as a single homogenous entity with any alleged behaviour by the lowest common denominator being used as an ‘evidence’ base for “every” supporter. It is disappointing to see this approach, which has become the norm amongst a dedicated group on social media, now creeping into a publication like the Daily Record.
Club 1872 will continue to challenge any media reports involving our support which we consider to be false, although we hope this will not be necessary on a regular basis. Only by standing together can we hope to make progress.
We are keen to focus on more positive news but felt it was essential to challenge these allegations robustly.
Issued by Supporters Voice Limited, a Club 1872 company.< Back