Rangers take action on fan autographs and photos as Philippe Clement explains surge and Jack Butland's quick exit

Ibrox players inundated with requests due to recent success, claims Belgian

Rangers manager Philippe Clement has revealed plans are in place to stage-manage opportunities where fans can request autographs and photographs from players.

The change in procedure follows two high-profile incidents outside Ibrox involving Jack Butland and Borna Barisic, who were abused by fans following last weekend's 4-1 win over Kilmarnock. Butland was seen responding angrily to something a supporter had said. Barisic, meanwhile, was filmed reacting to a separate comment from another fan. The Rangers goalkeeper was quick to draw a line under the flashpoint yesterday. He said things were said that were “unacceptable, especially in front of children”, but “it has been put to bed”.

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Clement now wants a more structured system introduced. Hundreds of supporters patiently wait for Rangers players before and after games but the manager stressed that things will be different next season. He regretted having to implement the changes given Rangers’ admirably relaxed approach in comparison with other clubs, including Celtic. The Belgian claimed that the increase in supporters wanting access to players was because of the recent improvement in the team’s fortunes.

Philippe Clement is protective of his players as increased attention comes from Rangers supporters.Philippe Clement is protective of his players as increased attention comes from Rangers supporters.
Philippe Clement is protective of his players as increased attention comes from Rangers supporters.

“At a lot of clubs in the world or here in this city or here in this league they do not give out autographs or pictures, not before the game or after the game,” he said. “You all know this. We do. Before the game, after the game. And that is maybe the other side of having a team that is doing better and better. There are more demands around that, more and more people. But the players cannot be also all the time giving autographs and pictures. They sometimes have to be somewhere like Jack, for example.”

He explained that Butland was rushing to get to the PFA Scotland awards ceremony later in the evening and needed to drop his family off at home first. “But people don’t understand that at the moment,” he added. “It is a case of organisation for me. For next season we want to stay a team who stay connected to their fans by giving autographs and pictures but it needs to be organised much better because the demand is now bigger than what we can give as a team. It is something we will organise before next season, to do it in a better way.

“All the fans can have their moment in the season but it cannot be everyone at the same moment," he added. “That is not possible. So that was the case with the two guys and then you get some people shouting something because they are frustrated and because the organisation is not in a good way.”

Away supporters are not permitted to attend Saturday’s Premiership title showdown against Celtic but Clement is confident the bond between Rangers players and fans is as good as ever, if not better. “Otherwise we don’t have five, six hundred people waiting to get autographs and pictures if there is no connection," he reasoned. “If there was no connection then they would stand there all booing or not being there at all. They would all be at home.

“It is the other side of success of the last couple of months. The people are happy with the players but then you can have one or two individuals who shout something and you get this situation. But I think it is important to not give too much attention to one or two individuals and then forget all the positive people who were there. And my players are also positive because they want to give autographs and pictures but they cannot do that for hours after a game when they have other things to do also.”



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