Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou believes Rangers acted correctly in swiftly banning fans who racially abused Kyogo Furuhashi – and hopes the message is clear to everyone that the behaviour won’t be tolerated.
Rangers conducted an investigation after video footage emerged at the weekend showing fans on a supporters bus allegedly chanting a racist song about the Japanese forward, who joined Celtic from Vissel Kobe this summer. The supporters were identified the following day and banned from Ibrox “indefinitely”.
Asked for his views on the incident and if he was impressed with how quickly Rangers had reacted, Postecoglou said that it was the correct thing to do.
“I think it doesn’t matter who is involved, we don’t need to be impressed, it just has to happen,” he said. “I don’t think Rangers acted because they wanted to impress anyone, I like to think it’s because people see right and wrong and just deal with it.
“This doesn’t need endless debates on talk radio or tv about what happened or why it happened.
“It’s just wrong. We know it’s wrong. It’s not something that anyone sees any grey in, or I would be surprised, because we all understand how people in that situation feel when they are the victim of something like this.
“Rangers did the right thing in dealing with it. Whoever else does it, or wants to transgress, whatever organisation they belong to I expect they’ll be dealt with the same way.
“It’s simple. Deal with it.
“When the consequences come that quickly and without too much debate then I think people start to realise ‘Okay, maybe a line has been drawn and we shouldn’t conduct ourselves in this way any more.'”
Postecoglou, who said he felt “responsible and protective” of the player he brought to the club as one of his new signings, believes the player is in the right frame of mind to play in the Europa Legaue play-off against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.
The Australian is hopeful that despite the abuse, his player will reflect on his full experience since arriving in Glasgow and be happy that he made the move.
“He’s good to go,” Postecoglou said. “Has he been affected? It’s hard because unless you walk a mile in a person’s shoes then how do you really know?
“He’s a really positive character and he’s really enjoying his time here. Not just the football but living here in a new country and having a new experience. And when 99% of your experience is overwhelmingly positive then that 1%, I hope it doesn’t affect his overall outlook on it.
“That’s easy for me to say but it hasn’t been directed at me.
“He’s training well, he’s a very happy-natured guy. The club are supporting him, people are asking him if he’s okay and the players are certainly around him and he’s been good.
“He understands that this is not reflective of his experience here. “