A senior police officer has said any football fans who threatened the three members of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) judicial panel who punished Rangers will be getting a “chap on your door some time soon”.
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins of Strathclyde Police was speaking after an investigation was launched into alleged threats made online against the trio, who decided to impose sanctions on the Ibrox club.
On Monday night Rangers were fined £160,000 and banned from registering new players for 12 months, while owner Craig Whyte was fined £200,000 and banned from all involvement in Scottish football for bringing the game into disrepute.
Then on Wednesday night the SFA said the three panel members - who made their decision anonymously - and the SFA board had received “abusive and threatening communication”.
Mr Higgins, in an interview with STV News said: “Over the last 24 to 48 hours there has been a lot of traffic on various fan forums and internet messages and we are looking at them to first establish the credibility around them, and secondly whether any criminal offences have been committed.
“I understand the frustration the fans are feeling around this issue. They love their club, they love their organisation Rangers Football Club. It is right and proper that they get the chance to give air opinions and views on it.
“What is completely and utterly unacceptable is when these views start becoming vile comments, hateful comments, bigoted comments and comments that are inciting or threatening acts of violence. That is when it crosses the line between airing an opinion on something you feel very passionate about and criminal behaviour.”
Mr Higgins added: “When you do cross that line, we are going take action against you and we are going to be chapping on your door sometime soon.
“Why would you put something in a post (on the internet) that you wouldn’t be prepared to say to your mother, father, brother or sister? Because you are sitting in your bedroom that doesn’t excuse you of your responsibility.
“The fact you are posting something will have a wider impact on the community. We understand the frustration some people are feeling but please try and remain as calm as you possibly can, and act responsibly. You might not even cross the threshold of your house, but you could be committing a criminal offence.
“Security advice is available to any member of the public if they have any concerns.”
Meanwhile, Rangers manager Ally McCoist has said he is disgusted after members of the independent judicial panel were said to be threatened.
This came after the Rangers boss earlier demanded to know the identities of the panel, stating fans deserved to know who made the decision which “could kill” the club.