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Rangers call for action over Scottish Cup final violence after Hibernian win

Rangers 2 - Hibernian 3 AET

By Andy Newport

Rangers have reiterated their calls for an investigation into the crowd trouble which marred Saturday's Scottish Cup final after criticising Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie's attempts to downplay the violent scenes at Hampden.

Several Rangers players were assaulted as thousands of Hibernian fans flooded on to the pitch following the Edinburgh club's dramatic 3-2 triumph.

Footage showed Lee Wallace being punched and goalkeeper Wes Foderingham attacked as the celebratory pitch invasion turned ugly.

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Dozens of Rangers fans also came on to the pitch and fights broke out between rival fans, while Hibs fans broke one of the goalposts and ripped up sections of the Hampden turf.

Petrie, who is the vice-president of the Scottish Football Association, put the scenes down to "over-exuberance" in the immediate aftermath and described them as "unacceptable".

A club statement later confirmed Hibs would "co-operate fully into any inquiry into the pitch invasion which followed the club's historic Scottish Cup win at Hampden Park".

However, Rangers have again reacted angrily and in a scathing statement demanded both the SFA and Police Scotland take swift action against those responsible.

It read: "Rangers finds it incomprehensible that no-one, either from within the Scottish FA or Hibernian Football Club, has condemned Hibernian's supporters following the violent scenes at the end of yesterday's Scottish Cup final when Rangers players and members of our backroom staff were physically and verbally assaulted.

"We have not even had the courtesy of any contact from Hibernian to ask after the well-being of those who were attacked by their club's supporters.

"There must be a full independent investigation into the shameful scenes at Hampden. Rangers is also at a complete loss to understand why certain individuals have hastily attempted to gloss over the appalling events which unfolded at the end of Saturday's final.

"No matter how many times Hibernian's chairman and Scottish FA vice-chairman, Rod Petrie, and certain other biased commentators wish to play down Saturday's mayhem and violence, the truth must not be distorted.

"What unfolded on Saturday cannot and must not be put down to exuberance. That is a complete insult to Rangers, our supporters, and those individuals intimidated and attacked.

"It was clear to most who watched in horror that the SFA's security procedures failed when Hibernian's fans went over the top in their thousands.

"It is to be hoped that all of Scottish football will share Rangers' disgust and any attempts to attach blame to our supporters for the disgraceful and violent behaviour, which led to our players and fans fearing for their safety, will not be accepted or tolerated by this club."

The statement went on to acknowledge that a "tiny majority of Rangers fans also encroached on the pitch but only after having been faced with prolonged and severe provocation".

The club said it was "preposterous to suggest Rangers fans were somehow to blame, as some commentators appear anxious to do", adding that the "thuggish behaviour must be investigated and as many culprits as possible brought to book and formally charged".

It concluded: "So, let everyone be clear on one thing - Rangers demands that players, staff and fans be protected from the violence and hatred of supporters of other clubs.

"Rangers fully expects the SFA and Police Scotland to take action to provide our people with a safe environment. When players are unable to accept medals because of fears for their safety and our supporters are alarmed and extremely concerned for the women and children among them, then surely every step must be taken to ensure that this is never repeated."

Hibs own statement did add the club "reiterates its regret at the events which unfolded following the final whistle".

Rangers players were handed their medals in the dressing room, while Hibs players had a long wait to lift the trophy after the pitch was cleared, with the lap of honour cancelled.

Belfast Telegraph


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