CHARLES GREEN last night hit out at Dundee United for selling tickets directly to Rangers fans for their fifth-round Scottish Cup tie after the Ibrox side refused their allocation.
Green, the Rangers chief executive, reckons their decision could lead to crowd trouble.
Rangers refused briefs – at the request of supporters’ groups – for the February match in protest at what they think was unfair treatment from the United board and other SPL clubs in the summer after the Ibrox club went into liquidation and had to start again in the bottom division.
United, however, have decided to sell tickets directly to Rangers fans and have set aside an away section at Tannadice to accommodate any travelling supporters. Rangers are furious at the potential for trouble.
Green said: “Football needs to be safe and there’s no guarantee it will be. It wouldn’t need a bright guy to tell you that there has been tension between Rangers and Dundee United for a number of years. We have taken a decision to diffuse that tension.
“But the decision to sell tickets to people who may not be Rangers fans is taking it to a high level.
“We have been very clear from day one, because of the fans’ issues with Dundee United in the past as a board we made the decision not to take tickets. And requested they didn’t make tickets available to Rangers fans.
“We are very conscious of safety. We are concerned that Dundee United won’t know who they are selling tickets to and how will they know if they’re genuine Rangers fans or potential troublemakers?”
Green called for United to rethink their policy and even suggested Rangers take all the tickets for the Tannadice clash. He said: “I would ask United to think again. The majority of Rangers fans said they didn’t want to go. There will be a few who do and I can understand that.
“But I think it’s foolish to try and bring in a few Rangers fans who might not be – it could be any number of people who turn up with a red, white and blue scarf on.
“Have I spoken to Dundee United about it yet? I don’t think anyone from the SPL is interested in speaking to Charles Green.
“People have said that it won’t look good to have a televised game with an empty stadium. But I have made the gesture, give us all the tickets. Let’s have no Dundee United fans at the game and we’ll fill the stadium.”
Stephen Thompson, the United chairman, who called in police last summer after receiving death threats, declined to comment but his club released a statement. It said: “While we remain disappointed with the position of Rangers in respect of not taking any tickets for this match, we will not make any statements which may inflame the situation.
“Now that ticket prices have been agreed, we hope that everyone can now focus on what matters most, a game of football.
“For the good of Scottish football and the Scottish Cup, we would urge all parties to move on and look forward to the prospect of a terrific Scottish Cup tie in February.
“Although Rangers do not wish to take a ticket allocation for this match, opposition fans are always welcome at Tannadice and we will be happy to reserve an appropriate section of the stadium for any Rangers fans who wish to attend this fixture.”