Stating the (un)obvious about Rangers   

Sunday 22 May, 2016

The Monkey has been away on business for a few months, but was jolted back into action by a statement released from Ibrox this evening concerning the events following Saturday’s Scottish Cup final at Hampden when Hibernian beat Rangers 3-2 to win the trophy, and a sizeable number of the Edinburgh club’s fans invaded the pitch to celebrate.

The statement is quoted/indented below, with the Monkey’s annotations:

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.

The SFA released a statement following the match and chief executive Stewart Regan spoke to the media, condemning the scenes and giving assurances that an investigation would follow.

Similarly, Hibernian released a statement criticising the behaviour of their fans and reserved any further comment until a proper assessment of the events could be made. A sensible, measured response, given the circumstances. If anyone at Rangers FC is somehow unaware of these statements, they are either stupid, ignorant or both.

We have not even had the courtesy of any contact whatsoever from Hibernian to ask after the wellbeing of those who were attacked by their club’s supporters.

In the absence of an investigation outcome, which will be forthcoming, it would be foolish of anyone at Hibs to admit to any such behaviour, even if it was fairly obvious what was taking place.

There must be a full independent investigation into the shameful scenes at Hampden.

See above.

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.

The only people “glossing over” the events are the people who are attempting to construct a narrative about the nature of the events that somehow attempts to shift blame from one group of supporters to another – without a full appraisal of the facts.

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.

Statements like this are a direct attempt to distort the truth before the facts can be ascertained.

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 who were intimidated and attacked.

This is probably the only sensible component of the statement. However, it’s supercilious; only an idiot would try to justify violence as such.

It was clear to most of those who watched in horror that the Scottish FA’s security procedures failed when Hibernian’s fans went over the top in their thousands.

This is somewhat true; the Scottish FA’s security and stewarding was clearly unfit for purpose. (Rather like the SFA).

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.

“It is to be hoped” indeed. If evidence is uncovered that Rangers fans were involved in incidents on the pitch, to not accept or tolerate the findings would be unacceptable and intolerable.

We acknowledge that a tiny minority of Rangers fans also encroached on the pitch but only after having been faced with prolonged and severe provocation and in order to protect our players and officials who were being visibly attacked in front of them.

“Tiny”; interesting choice of word. There were dozens of Rangers fans caught on camera on the pitch, without justification. Potentially, the number is three figures or more. Hampden holds over 51,000 people. Half of the people attending the Cup Final – at least – would have been Rangers supporters. The number certainly was not “tiny”. It was significant.

To justify their actions on the basis of usurping the role of the law officers and stewards in the stadium – ie. taking the law into their own hands, is as hypocritical as attacking “exuberance” as justification for doing the same.

“Prolonged”; another interesting choice of word. The whole incident took place over roughly 30 minutes, certainly under an hour.

Any club’s supporters would have done the same.

Again, this feels like a hypocritical justification for the behaviour of the Rangers supporters who chose to react to the pitch incursion of Hibs fans and somehow tar supporters of other clubs with the same mindset as Rangers fans. Many thousands of Rangers fans did not enter the field – they chose to leave the stadium or remain in their seat.

This distressing and deeply disturbing episode would never have happened had Hibs fans behaved properly but as they swarmed across the pitch it became immediately obvious that the security procedures were inadequate and had failed.

This is true; the security measures clearly failed – but the point has already been made in the statement. We get it.

These fans were allowed to rush, unchecked, towards Rangers supporters at the opposite end of the stadium – all the while goading and threatening them.

The fans were not “allowed to rush, unchecked” – the security measures were simply unable to prevent them from doing so.

This makes it preposterous to suggest Rangers fans were somehow to blame as some commentators appear anxious to do.

The Monkey knows of no commentators in the media who have said (“anxiously”) that Rangers fans were to blame, certainly not solely to blame. Most observers have been critical of Hibs fans for their actions, but have also issued some criticism of Rangers fans for also entering the pitch and becoming involved in trouble.

This thuggish behaviour must be investigated and as many culprits as possible brought to book and formally charged.

This is a given.

This is the second time in a year that Rangers fans have had to endure attacks by another club’s supporters.

A reference would have helped explain this? (Perhaps some conciliatory references to the sectarian chanting, use of flares and other bigoted singing by Rangers fans during the match could have been acknowledged in the statement also?)

It must also be said that it was not at all helpful to see leading members of the Scottish Government, including the First Minister whose parish is Govan, passing comment on social media without any attempt to condemn the behaviour of Hibernian’s fans.

The match did not take place in Govan (and the word “parish” appears to have only been employed in this instance purely as an off-hand religious epithet). Most government officials who have commented on social media have been fairly measured in their criticism of the scenes and have indicated a desire for an investigation to be conducted and conclusions to be published.

These failures are unbecoming of our elected representatives.

They are hardly “failures”?

Certain media outlets have also attempted to distort reality. 

By reporting the facts or by releasing statements to friendly journalists/media outlets in a bid to construct a pro-Rangers narrative?

In the case of the BBC this is, of course, not news. BBC employees, in particular Stuart Cosgrove, believe Rod Petrie’s comments to be ‘balanced’ and others speak of a ‘minority’ of Hibernian supporters.

Ah… now we get to the crux of the statement; personal anger (on the part of the person who drafted the statement) with individuals in the media. The proverbial chip on the shoulder.

Another, Tom English, who was not even at the match, would prefer the authorities to focus on Rangers fans’ reaction. We will not endure this insult.

Tom English was particularly vocal about the Hibernian support, and also suggested that any Rangers fans who had misbehaved should be sought out and punished too.

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.

“Demands”? Let’s all be clear about demands, eh?

Rangers fully expects the Scottish FA and Police Scotland to take action to provide our people with a safe environment.

Rangers are not alone in expecting this. All football supporters expect the same.

When players are unable to accept medals at the end of a final 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.

Agreed.

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