SNP election candidate in Twitter row over Rangers celebrations' post

A SNP Holyrood candidate has sparked a Twitter row after he accused Rangers fans celebrating Sunday’s title win of having “blood on their hands”.

Rangers fans gather in Glasgow's George Square to celebrate the club winning the Scottish Premiership for the first time in ten years on March 7. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Rangers fans gather in Glasgow's George Square to celebrate the club winning the Scottish Premiership for the first time in ten years on March 7. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

In response to a tweet conversation with Tory MSP and Rangers fan Murdo Fraser and the Ranger FC official account lauding the team’s victory in the Scottish Premiership, East Lothian councillor and candidate in the coming Holyrood election, Paul McLennan, criticised the fans who took to the streets of Glasgow.

Mr McLennan, who has been a councillor in Dunbar since 2007, wrote: “You are an utter disgrace. Public health and the thousands who have died mean nothing to you? Blood on your hands.”

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It was not clear whether the comment was aimed at Mr Fraser or the jubilant Rangers fans as it replied to both the politician's Twitter account and Rangers FC. The tweet was later deleted.

Paul McLennan coaches the Scottish Youth Football Association National Under 16 squad in his spare time.

Mr Fraser, the Scottish Tories finance minister, has hit back by describing the East Lothian SNP candidate, whose profile says he spends his free time coaching the Scottish Youth Football Association national under-16 squad, as “an imbecile” and “not fit for office”.

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Rangers first Scottish Premiership title in ten years sparked celebrations in many parts of Glasgow on Sunday, with major concerns raised at a lack of social distancing among the party-goers.

Mr Fraser replied: “If there were any doubt how low the SNP have sunk, this is the quality of one of their Holyrood candidates. Not fit for public office.”

Mr McLennan's tweet was later deleted.

Mr McLennan later said of his post: "It was not meant to cause any offence and it was certainly not aimed at Rangers fans.

"I thought he [Mr Fraser] was encouraging people to go out and celebrate when they should not have."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took to social media to congratulate Rangers on their triumph, but that she “shared folks’ anger” at the lockdown-breaking supporters.

“Everyone has made so many sacrifices in the past year and seeing a minority risk our progress is infuriating and disgraceful,” she said. “It is deeply unfair to the entire country and the police have a hard enough job already.”

In the daily coronavirus briefing, deputy first minister John Swinney said the behaviour of some fans had been “an absolute disgrace”.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross endorsed Mr Swinney’s comments.

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