Tackle bigotry by having Steven Gerrard appeal to the Rangers fans with a microphone in the centre circle

After many decades when bigotry has become so ingrained in Scottish football, no one will claim relief is now within reach.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: SNS

But Uefa’s ordering of Rangers to close a section of their ground during next week’s Europa League clash with Legia Warsaw does feel like a significant moment, as does the wording of the ruling: “racist behaviour”.

The onus is on the Ibrox club to now take the opportunity to drive home the message to fans, particularly when scrutiny is at its fiercest: days after Thursday’s second leg comes the first Old Firm derby of the season at Ibrox. The SFA and SPFL will have to appear to be vigilant after being embarrassed by Uefa’s sudden sternness.

Recent activity on Rangers’ part does suggest a clear desire to act. They launched an initiative as recently as the end of last month stressing the club’s all-inclusive credentials. Had they been given notice that Uefa was preparing to act? Perhaps. Rangers have the most potent weapon sitting in the dugout. Warned Ibrox could be completely closed, Steven Gerrard needs to make a direct appeal to the fans over and above his words yesterday. Get him out with a microphone in the centre circle if needs be. Now is the time.