RANGERS supporters should be issued with a safe songsheet outlining just what chants are and are not acceptable, according to manager Ally McCoist.
The Ibrox fans were criticised after they were caught on camera belting out a string of sectarian songs and other unacceptable chants during Saturday’s Irn-Bru Scottish League Third Division match at Berwick.
Club officials even issued a statement halfway through Rangers’ 3-1 win at Shielfield
expressing their concern over the chants. And broadcasters ESPN also made an on-air apology to viewers who were offended by the supporters’ actions as they screened the match live.
McCoist has urged fans to “behave” while following Rangers, who face Stirling Albion away in the Third Division tonight, but suggested it might help supporters if they were told exactly what songs they were and were not allowed to sing.
McCoist said: “If that eradicates the problem, then I’m all for it – absolutely all for it. Anything that would move us forward and eradicate that problem that we had at the weekend would be helpful.
“It might seem like a drastic measure but if it helps, then I don’t have a problem with it at all. In fact, I’d encourage it.”
Uefa issued Rangers with a e40,000 (£35,180) fine and banned their fans from travelling to Sweden for the club’s Champions League qualifier against Malmo last season after they were charged with sectarian singing during a Europa League match at PSV Eindhoven in March 2011. But McCoist insists the club has been stringent in its work to rid its support of the sectarian element.
“The club has taken giant strides to move forward,” he said. “The vast, vast majority are of that opinion and that is what we want. There is no place for [Saturday’s] songs in the modern game, we all know that. They are unacceptable and there is no place for them in a modern society. We are doing our best to move forward and some massive, massive steps have been taken. The weekend was obviously a disappointment but I’m not going to get too carried away with that disappointment because we want to keep moving forward again.
“I don’t have any doubts that the majority of our fans want to leave those days behind us. We will move forward, because we have got a phenomenal fan base who have been nothing short of fantastic this season. The vast majority of them know what is expected, because they are representing the club as well.
“It’s important that they behave themselves and the club has a good image moving forward. I want them to
come and sing the songs that get the Rangers team going but support them in the proper manner. That is exactly what
we want. I’m very hopeful that this is just a minor hiccup.”
The club’s head of security, David Martin, later warned Rangers fans that the sectarian chants were self-destructive. Martin said in a statement on the club’s website: “The Rangers supporters have been magnificent at Ibrox and on our travels this season and it was extremely disappointing that a small number of fans chose to engage in inappropriate singing at Berwick on Saturday.
“That said, I take great encouragement by the fact the majority of supporters were quick to condemn those who indulged in unwanted singing at the weekend and I ask all fans to act as ambassadors for Rangers when they attend our matches.
“The club has endured a difficult 12 months but we are on the way back now. Those who engage in sectarian singing are only damaging Rangers so it is important to back the team in the correct manner and prevent the club from attracting unwanted attention.”