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GERRARD WORDS ‘INSINCERE’ INSISTS COMMONS FOLLOWING ‘STUPIDITY’ OF FANS

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KRIS COMMONS has launched a blistering attack on the “stupidity” of  the Covid-breaking celebrations from the Ibrox fans following their club’s title success.

The one-time Celtic and Scotland international also hit out at Govan gaffer Steven Gerrard whose “words will inevitably feel hollow and insincere” after the bedlam created in the city created by rampaging hordes.

The Parkhead side’s nine-year grip on the championship was loosened as they failed to overcome Dundee United at Tannadice yesterday. They had to settle for a dismal scoreless draw – taking their total of squandered Premiership points to an inexplicable 28 – as they once again fired blanks.

That meant it was officially the end of an era as the trophy headed across the city to Govan.

That sparked wild and unruly scenes that have been widely criticised, led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon whose Hollywood government have cracked down hard on the Hoops in coronavirus-related issues during a catastrophic campaign.

An incensed Commons didn’t hold back as he has his say in his Daily Mail column.

The 37-year-old, who spent six years with the Glasgow club after being bought from Derby County in January 2011, said: “Given the scenes outside Ibrox and at George Square over the weekend, I would be amazed if we don’t see an increase in Covid infection rates in the Glasgow area over the next week or so.

WATCHING BRIEF…motorcycle cops at Ibrox as fans celebrate outside the stadium.

“This comes at a time when the numbers have finally started to drop. When we’ve finally begun to see a little chink of light after a winter of such gloom.

“A winter which has seen lockdown restrictions imposed on us for a much longer period of time than originally intended and which has seen families continuing to be devastated by this god-awful virus.

“For anyone who has suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one during this pandemic, what must they make of football fans flouting lockdown rules so brazenly?

“What must NHS staff and key workers think of it all? These people who have worked tirelessly under the most awful circumstances over the past year to help save lives and keep us all safe.

“The stupidity of these Rangers supporters over the weekend beggars belief. It has been a display of selfishness on the most unimaginable scale.

“Spare me this nonsense about how it’s ‘understandable’. The only thing to ‘understand’ is their blatant disregard for the rest of civilised society.

“I couldn’t care less whether it’s their first league title in 10 years or 110 years — it makes no difference. There’s simply no excuse for these kind of scenes during a global health pandemic.

“It’s a slap in the face to the NHS, to everyone who has suffered a bereavement because of the virus, and to everyone who tries to do the right thing by respecting the stay-at-home message.

“Social distancing was non-existent as jubilant Rangers supporters celebrated in the streets.”

Commons, who was born in Mansfield, but played 12 times for the Scots, continued: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what was going on outside Ibrox on Saturday afternoon. You have to ask, what planet are these people on to think this is okay?

BIG NOISE…Steven Gerrard at Ibrox window on Saturday.

“With all the flares being let off and the thick smog wafting through the air, I don’t imagine that will be particularly helpful when it comes to stopping the spread of Covid particles.

“We’re not talking about just a couple of hundred people here. I’ve seen the videos on social media. There were literally thousands of fans gathered outside the stadium.

“Back in November, after Celtic’s defeat by Ross County in the Betfred Cup, I wrote in this column that the behaviour of Celtic fans rioting outside the stadium was ‘moronic’. I would, without hesitation, use the same word once again here in reference to these Rangers fans.

“A global pandemic is no time for point-scoring. Both episodes were as an inexcusable as the other.

“What alarmed me most about the Rangers gatherings, though, was some of the faces you can see in the pictures and videos. This wasn’t just a group of teenage yobs. There were grown men and women, many of whom had kids with them, who seemed like they had just gone to Ibrox for a sing-song and a party.

“It was obviously organised and pre-planned. They knew exactly what they were doing. It looked like it was a family day out for some.

“I’m sorry, but there’s simply no excuse for that when you look at what’s happening around the world just now.

“The timing could scarcely have been worse. Scottish football is under the microscope right now and UEFA are currently watching our every move.

“They have made it abundantly clear to the SFA and the Scottish Government that we need to get our house in order and prove we are capable of getting fans into Hampden for the European Championship this summer.

“UEFA have set a date of April 7 to prove we can do it and to demonstrate we have got the virus under control. The aim is to fill 25 per cent of Hampden — a crowd of roughly 13,000. Viewed in isolation, that still feels slightly optimistic.

“Viewed in the context of what happened at the weekend, however, it looks like fantasy fiction. A pipe dream which we are still miles away from achieving.

“Events outside Ibrox and at George Square will do nothing to help matters. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her dismay in a tweet and I have no doubt she will have her say on the matter over the coming days.

IN THE PICTURE…Alfredo Morelos films Covidiots.

“Sturgeon has had a rather troublesome week. That much is clear. But this is not something she can kick into the long grass. Nor is it something she can just stick the boot into. The issue is far more complex and delicate than that.

“She has to do all in her power right now to be seen to be working with the football authorities. Not against them. How she handles the inevitable fallout from this could yet prove decisive in Scotland’s abilities to host Euro games at Hampden come the summer.

“The problem is that a lot of people will now just feel like they can do what they want, without any fear of consequence or recrimination. Public compliance will, in all likelihood, drop because a precedent has been set that we can all go back to normal and start meeting in large crowds once again.”

Commons added: “I don’t think the Rangers players or their manager Steven Gerrard particularly helped the situation on Saturday. They certainly didn’t cover themselves in glory.

“Some of the players went towards a corner of the stadium and, although separated by metal gates, were singing and dancing with supporters.

“Pictures then emerged of Gerrard and some of the players hanging out of the dressing-room window, spurring the supporters on even more. All it achieved was to escalate the situation further and to encourage these people, most of whom seemed to have taken leave of their senses.

“Gerrard can preach all he wants about public safety and how we all must stick to the rules. But his words will inevitably feel hollow and insincere after all of this.

“What is clear is that we haven’t heard the end of this. The Scottish Government will no doubt face questions on this over the coming days. Why was this allowed to happen? Why were police not afforded greater powers to disperse the crowds? What does this mean for our chances of seeing Scotland play in the Euros at Hampden this summer?

“Over to you, Nicola…”

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