Belfast Telegraph

Linfield fans' anger over Rangers sectarian chants

Supporters denounce singing of sectarian songs in Dundee

By Staff Reporter

A number of Linfield fans have denounced supporters of Rangers for singing sectarian songs, including The Billy Boys, at a game the Belfast club were playing in Dundee at the weekend.

The strains of several contentious songs, including one mocking the late IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, could clearly be heard as the Blues faced Dundee United in a Scottish Challenge Cup game at Tannadice on Saturday.

The match, which Linfield lost 1-0 to a goal in the last minute, was attended by less than 2,000 people and it was broadcast live on BBC Alba, which is a Scottish Gaelic language digital station.

Linfield fans who travelled to Tayside from Northern Ireland have blamed Rangers supporters for singing the controversial songs, which also included ones which are normally associated with the Glasgow club like Rule Britannia and I was born under a Union Jack.

One Linfield fan said: "It was clear from the accents that there were a lot of Rangers' people there. No one is saying that our own supporters are angels but the club have tried to move away from the old sectarian stereotypes and songs.

"Obviously there were problems at the Celtic game in July but the supporters who came over from Belfast on Saturday were paying a lot of money to be there and they weren't out for trouble. Many of them wouldn't even know the words of the songs that were being sung at their end of the ground."

Rangers fans have been critical of Dundee United for their attitude to the Glasgow club during their financial crisis, which saw them demoted to the lower divisions of Scottish football.

In December 2012 Rangers supporters boycotted an away game in the Scottish Cup against Dundee United, with the Tannadice club's chairman, Stephen Thompson, coming in for particularly vitriolic abuse.

But in recent weeks on social media sites, it's been revealed that Rangers fans were planning to visit Dundee to support Linfield who, like the Scottish club, have a largely Protestant fan-base.

As Saturday's match progressed, a number of Linfield fans posted messages on football forums and social media criticising the Rangers supporters for their songs and chants.

"They are seriously embarrassing our club," said one Linfield fan.

Another said "Sounds like our 'Scottish' supporters club are lending some vocal support. I wish they would **** off and stick to their own team."

It was also pointed out that insults were levelled at Saturday's game towards Stephen Thompson. "And that wasn't coming from people from Belfast," said a Linfield supporter.

On several occasions Dundee United fans burst into anti-Rangers chants.

On one website yesterday a Cliftonville supporter applauded his Linfield counterparts for their condemnation of the Rangers fans.

He wrote: "Very impressed with those who disowned the Rangers support. The peace process must be working! Fair play!"

But there was criticism of an official Linfield FC Twitter account which thanked the Rangers fans for "coming down from Glasgow to support us, our friendship with Scotland's most successful club is special".

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