A long-awaited Scottish Premiership title for Rangers “does not justify the breaking of coronavirus regulations”, a DUP MP has warned.
Gregory Campbell was speaking after a large crowd gathered on Belfast’s Shankill Road to celebrate the Glasgow side’s first title in a decade.
The fans came out despite a ban on public gatherings under coronavirus restrictions.
Welcome to the Party on Belfast's Shankill Road! 🇬🇧🏆5ï¸â£5ï¸â£ pic.twitter.com/RaephFvwOo— Rangers FC & Linfield FC (@bluesbrothers86) March 7, 2021
Northern Ireland has been living under a strict raft of rules aimed at stemming the spread of the virus since a spike of cases in December.
Earlier, the PSNI tweeted urging fans to celebrate safely.
“We would encourage anyone intending to celebrate today’s Scottish Premier League result, to do so at home safely and within the current Health Regulations,” they tweeted.
Mr Campbell said it would be a bad day for Rangers fans if the title celebrations resulted in people in ICU beds.
“No one is more delighted than myself to see this success for the Gers. It’s been a long road. But so has the battle against Covid,” he said.
“I understand the desire for celebrations but that doesn’t justify breaking the public health rules.
“It would be a bad day for Northern Ireland Rangers fans if a hallmark of 55 league titles was to be fans in ICU beds rather than being able to cheer their team on to more success.
“There will be plenty of time to celebrate in due course when the vaccine has been rolled out.”
We would encourage anyone intending to celebrate todayâs Scottish Premier League result, to do so at home safely and within the current Health Regulations. pic.twitter.com/V9AuOd6MHV— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) March 7, 2021
Meanwhile, Mr Campbell has tabled a motion in Parliament to recognise Rangers’ victory.
“As a lifelong Rangers fan, I am delighted on a personal level but a success of this magnitude, given the previous problems at the club, should be recognised by the national Parliament,” he said.
“Not only is this a massive achievement but record setting in so many ways.
“The team has been undefeated this far in the league season and the earliest in the season that the Scottish title has been won in 119 years.
“It is right and fitting that Parliament sends its congratulations and marks this incredible effort for the players, management and backroom staff.”