Rangers fans will actively pursue proceedings against opposition supporters who offend them if a proposed new sectarian law is enacted, MSPs heard.
Holyrood's Justice Committee heard evidence on Tuesday from fans, journalists and academics on the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.
Representatives from the Rangers Supporters Trust and the Celtic Trust were among those appearing, alongside fans of Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hibs and Hearts football clubs.
Former player and broadcaster Pat Nevin and football writer Graham Spiers also gave evidence as well as academics from the University of Abertay in Dundee and Queen's University in Belfast.
Mark Dingwall, board member of the Rangers Supporters Trust, told MSPs the Ibrox club's fans have felt particularly targeted by the proposed new law, which could see offenders spend as long as five years in prison and be banned from football grounds.
Mr Dingwall said: "What our fans and organisations have started to say is if we have to clean up our act, everyone else has to do the same.
"So, therefore, everything that is offensive, by any football club, whether it's under regional rivalry, or under sectarian rivalry, or whether it's just winding up the opposition, then it's all fair game because if it's going to happen to us it's got to happen to everybody.
"There is almost an incitement to escalate the offensiveness. So, I can say that I am offended by a banner or a chant and I can go to the police and I can argue on the basis that ‘I am genuinely offended about that and you have to do something about it, otherwise you will be subject (to) disciplinary procedures’."
He said Rangers fans have collectively decided that they are not going to be the only ones in the spotlight of this law, which has its roots in a heated Old Firm clash against Celtic last season.
He said: "If we see something that offends us, we're going to go after the opposition fans in the way that people have gone after us. So, you reap what you sow. That's the way it is."
'Authoritarian and illiberal'
The committee later heard from Dr Stuart Waiton, lecturer in sociology and criminology at the University of Abertay, Dundee, who criticised the bill for risking creating an "authoritarian and illiberal society".
He said: "You create an avalanche of the most thin-skinned, chronically-offended individuals who are being encouraged to complain and run to the police, which, as far as I can see, is just going to create incredible levels of tension and hatred amongst different forms of fans who then entrench themselves in their football identities.
"It doesn't help anybody and creates a more authoritarian and illiberal society." Mr Waiton later said the resultant bill, if enacted, risks being seen as a "snobs' law".
He said: "We have a form of West End dinner party etiquette being demanded at football. This is genuinely what's happening. This is a snobs' law, potentially. We're targeting, specifically, football fans.
"Not comedians, not anybody else, football fans - particularly rowdy football fans, ie. rough, working-class blokes and lads who shout and sing songs for 90 minutes, and then go home to their Catholic wife and Protestant grandparents and so forth.
"And to think that this is anything to do with a genuine social problem of sectarianism - 'the shame of Scotland' - is farcical. I genuinely believe that if the media, and the politicians and the police, didn't make such a big deal about this problem of sectarianism we wouldn't be discussing it any more.
"All we would be talking about is Celtic and Rangers football fans who hate each other in a tribal rivalry that exists in football."
Deduct points from teams
Greig Ingram, board member of the Aberdeen FC Trust, also questioned the merit of criminalising chants on the basis of a broad term such as offensiveness.
He said: "Would somebody chanting about my predilections for alleged activities with farmyard animals be offensive?" Mr Ingram suggested tougher sanctions from football governing bodies, such as deducting points from clubs with persistently offensive fans, would be preferable to legislation.
Jeanette Findlay, chair of the Celtic Trust, said the law risks unfairly criminalising a narrow age group of 16-25-year olds, who have historically been associated with rowdy behaviour in football.
Pundits Pat Nevin and Graham Spiers largely rejected the opinions of Mr Waiton and the fans' groups, welcoming the general aims of the act to crack down on sectarianism.
Mr Spiers said: "It would be good, in this country, if we can make a distinction between disparaging chants (and) offensive chanting, which might be acceptable, and downright discrimination or prejudice."