The deputy first minister of Scotland has accused Rangers of having a “lack of leadership” after fans had gathered in Glasgow for celebrations
Large numbers of Rangers supporters flouted the nationwide COVID-19 rules to gather at Ibrox Stadium, as well as at George Square on Sunday after the club had won the Scottish Premiership title.
John Swinney said that the scenes were “an absolute disgrace” and that they undermined the recent progress that had been made against the coronavirus.
Rangers have said that its fans had been urged to follow the national coronavirus lockdown guidelines.
This comes after visitors of care homes will be required to carry out COVID-19 tests prior to the visits, must wear PPE and are asked to limit physical contact. Visits to care homes from a nominated friend or relative will be permitted in England from today, but hugging and kissing the residents of care homes is still off limits.
During the daily COVID-19 press briefing, Mr Swinney said that Rangers had been reminded of the need for its fans to adhere to the restrictions by the Scottish government and Police Scotland during meetings on the 26th of February and the 5th of March.
“It is a matter of profound regret that that did not happen,” he said.
“The Scottish government will be making our extreme disappointment at the lack of leadership clear to the team management.”
Mr Swinney said that the Scottish Premiership title win was a “special moment” for the football club, but that it was “shameful” to see such a large number of its fans deliberately flouting the coronavirus lockdown rules.
“Events like yesterday risk spreading the virus and they show no regard or respect at all for the millions of households across Scotland who have stuck to the rules, who have not been able to meet up with friends and family to fully celebrate birthdays and other milestones or, in some case, attend funeral services of their loved ones,” he said.
He added that Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, has spoken to the football club, as well as Police Scotland on Monday morning, and that investigations were under way in order to trace some of the supporters responsible for the breach of rules.
Police Scotland have said that officers made 28 arrests at the sites of celebrations for a variety of offences. The force also said that seven people were issued with either fixed penalty notices, or will be the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal.
This comes after a man and woman have now both been fined £10,000 each for failing to quarantine after returning from Dubai, police have said. The pair will also be required to pay the £1,750 cost for the hotel on top of the fine.
Offences had included those involves in the restrictions break assaulting police officers, as well as sectarian-related breaches of the peace, breaking COVID-19 rules, and the illegal use of pyrotechnics.
Under the current Scottish government coronavirus guidelines, public gatherings are banned, with a maximum of two people from two households being allowed to meet outside.
Rangers have taken the title for the first time since 2011, following Celtic failing to beat Dundee United on Sunday.
Crowds of fans took to the streets following the match. Some let off flares and others chanted while waving flags outside the club ground, while supporters also gathered in George Square to celebrate.