Croatian men stabbed in brawl ahead of Rangers match
The incident involved about 40 people and took place near Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
Two Croatian football fans were stabbed during a mass brawl involving about 40 people ahead of Rangers’ clash with Osijek in Glasgow.
The pair, aged 24 and 40, were injured when a “large-scale disturbance” broke out in the Govan area of the city on Thursday evening.
The victims, both now revealed to be Croatian nationals, were taken by ambulance to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment.
Police Scotland said it had no information that the fight had been pre-arranged.
The younger man was released from hospital on Friday morning, while the 40-year-old is to be discharged later in the day.
It is thought more than 40 people were involved and detectives have described the incident as “disgraceful”.
Area commander Chief Inspector Alan Bowater said the force is “well versed” in policing large football matches.
He said: “Each match is assessed on its own merits and sufficient police resources are deployed in respect of what we know intelligence-wise to ensure that people are kept safe.
“We had no specific intelligence that any disorder such as this was going to take place.”
Officers were called to the scene at Edmiston Drive near Paisley Road West, a short distance from Ibrox Stadium, just after 7pm – shortly before Rangers’ Europa League match with the Croatian side.
Footage on social media appeared to show fights between some fans of the two clubs ahead of the second qualifying round, second-leg tie.
Film uploaded to Twitter appeared to show one supporter being kicked about the body while lying prone in the road, while another was seen running around holding a flare.
Police officers, including those on horseback, could be seen lining roads on the approach to the stadium.
Mr Bowater said: “I’ve seen footage and what I would say is that police were on the scene very quickly. Police are deployed appropriately round about the game regarding intelligence that we have and it can be seen from footage that police officers were very quickly on the scene to disperse those involved in the disorder.
“Supporters of both sides should be able to attend a football match without getting caught up in violence and disorder.
“Also, innocent members of the public should not have to be faced with the threat of encountering it.
“The individuals involved must be tracked down and held to account and Police Scotland will use every resource at its disposal to put a stop to this reckless behaviour.
“I would like to reassure members of the public that we take their safety extremely seriously and sufficient resources will be deployed at future games to tackle anti-social behaviour and violence.”
We're appealing for information after two Croatian men were stabbed during a large-scale disturbance shortly before the Rangers v Osijek match last night. CI Alan Bowater said: "The individuals involved must be tracked down and we'll use every resource to stop to this behaviour." pic.twitter.com/2Kn6z2AUA9— GreaterGlasgPolice (@GreaterGlasgPol) August 3, 2018
Officers are appealing for information about the disturbance.
A dedicated team of officers is examining CCTV footage and carrying out door-to-door inquiries in the area to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident, the force said.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Willison, of Greater Glasgow CID, added: “Extensive inquiries are ongoing to identify the individuals involved in this disgraceful incident. I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time, particularly those with mobile phone or dash-cam footage, to get in touch.”
The Europa League qualifying match ended 1-1 with Rangers going through on aggregate.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said on Friday: “As a club we don’t condone that type of behaviour, we don’t want to see scenes like that.
“We want everyone to come away talking about the football and the positive result we got.
“So it’s a shame that has gone on and we just hope that no-one has been hurt, that’s all we ask for.”