Rangers demand Kilmarnock apology over Rugby Park ‘crush’

The club have also condemned fans that caused the roof of a disabled section to cave in.

Rugby Park: Apology demanded after 'crush'. <strong>SNS Group</strong>
Rugby Park: Apology demanded after 'crush'. SNS Group

Rangers have demanded an apology from Kilmarnock over comments made in the aftermath of their recent Premiership game at Rugby Park.

The club accused Kilmarnock director Phyllis McLeish of making “misinformed and misleading” comments when she described visiting supporters’ behaviour as “horrific”.

They said a crush as Rangers tried to get into the stadium was down to a failure of the home side’s ticketing issue.

Kilmarnock responded by saying that fans being delayed getting into the stadium did not give them “good reason to break through a gate”.

ADVERT

Rangers said: “Kilmarnock’s new ticketing system did indeed fail despite suggestions to the contrary. It has been accepted there was also a failure to deal properly with the problems this caused.

“There was no recognisable plan of action to deal with such a situation and it was very close to kick off before someone thought the problem, which had started to cause panic among those Rangers supporters, who were being pushed and squeezed together toward the turnstiles, should be brought to the attention of the police.

“By that time some Rangers fans were being crushed and in a state of alarm, and there are many testimonies which bear that out.

“Kilmarnock has accepted their ticketing system failed (and that there had been problems with it at the game against Connahs Quay Nomads) despite one of their directors promoting the irresponsible notion there had been no operational problems.

ADVERT

“We would hope to receive a retraction and an apology from Kilmarnock for having pointed the finger of blame at Rangers fans for the issues which arose ahead of kick off.”

Rangers won the opening day Premiership clash 2-1 after a late goal from defender Connor Goldson that was followed by a pitch invasion from the away fans.

During the celebrations some fans then jumped on top of the section housing disabled supporters and caused the roof to cave in.

Rangers said: “Although there has been an attempt to roll everything that happened at Rugby Park into one issue it is important to retain a sense of perspective and balance.

“The congestion before the match had no bearing on what happened at the end of the game when Rangers fans went on to the pitch to celebrate a late winning goal.

“Their presence on the pitch cannot be condoned and Rangers are working with Police Scotland to identify and trace those who crossed the line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

“The same applies to the handful of fans who jumped on to the roof of the enclosure reserved for disabled supporters causing that covering to collapse.

ADVERT

“Their behaviour endangered the safety of their fellow fans and we are fortunate no-one was badly hurt. Those fans will also be dealt with appropriately as soon as they are identified.

“Rangers believes the safety of all fans to be paramount and will not tolerate this kind of behaviour whether away or at home.”

Kilmarnock said it was “disappointed” by Rangers’ statement and criticised the behaviour of visiting supporters.

A club statement read:”Kilmarnock Football Club notes with disappointment that Rangers Football Club has issued a statement via Club 1872.

“It was agreed and understood by all those attending last Friday’s debrief to wait until the investigations had been completed and appropriate actions identified and agreed between both clubs, the ticketing company, Police Scotland and East Ayrshire Council before issuing any public statement. This process remains ongoing.

“A printing issue in relation to a number of tickets in the Chadwick Stand caused a delay in some supporters gaining entry to the stadium. This was not a system-wide failure with the ticketing system and any suggestion to the contrary is inaccurate.

“Kilmarnock Football Club does not accept that this delay gave Rangers supporters good reason to break through a gate and enter the ground. We had hoped to continue with the constructive approach taken in the meeting last week and had offered to work with Rangers Football Club in advance of future fixtures.

“As Rangers have recognised, problems before the match had no bearing on the incident at the second goal when Rangers supporters entered the field of play and damaged the disabled roof covering to the point of collapse. It was extremely fortunate that no disabled supporters were seriously injured.

“We look forward to Rangers Football Club taking action to identify those responsible and dealing with those fans appropriately.”


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?