SUNDAY saw the return of one of Scotland’s most volatile fixtures out with the Old Firm and Edinburgh derbies.
Aberdeen and Rangers met for the first time since 2012, caused by the latter’s spell outside the top flight following their financial collapse.
As with the first Old Firm League match two weeks ago, the media circus went into overdrive in the build up to the Pittodrie clash with the typical references to the Ian Durrant incident 28 years ago and former Rangers personnel highlighting the hatred from their opponents.
Whilst events on the pitch went relatively smoothly, with the only controversy coming in the award of an Aberdeen free kick that led to the winning goal, sadly off the pitch a minority of idiots amongst both sets of fans contrived to tarnish the name of their clubs with some pathetic behaviour.
Firstly, it emerged on Social media pre-match that the Rangers team bus was vandalised at their team hotel in the Granite City, with references to the Durrant incident and the Ibrox Disaster in 1971 keyed above the luggage compartment.
Whilst it’s not proven that the actions were from an Aberdeen supporter, on balance of probability the evidence points firmly towards an idiot who has brought shame on the club.
The reference to the Ibrox Disaster is particularly disgusting. An element of our support have shamed the club over the years by singing songs glorifying human tragedy and it is sick beyond belief. Anybody would be devastated if they lost a loved one who went to a football match and never came back, so to celebrate a group of people because of the team they chose to follow is horrible. Quite frankly, these people are not proper Aberdeen supporters.
There were allegations made by Rangers fans that the Ibrox Disaster song was heard at Pittodrie. I didn’t hear any personally listening to the game and friends I know at the game also didn’t notice the chant. However, if groups did rejoice the Disaster, then these people have shamed the club, simple as that.
The fact the club itself commented on the Rangers team bus incident speaks volumes, so those trying to deflect blame should stop talking guff right now and accept that the act was from a Dons fan who has tainted the club’s name.
On the other side, there was footage of seats being flung at Aberdeen fans in the South Stand over the perimeter fencing.
In the wake of the Celtic Park toilets being destroyed two weeks ago, this was another low from a minority of thuggish Rangers fans that has tarnished their clubs name.
Like some Dons fans, there were Rangers supporters who tried to deflect blame by saying the seat was in the Aberdeen section and they hit themselves by mistake.
Police Scotland confirmed later that 100 seats were ripped out and some were flung over the perimeter fencing – ALL from the away section, therefore the latest round of people deflecting blame have egg on their face.
There was also the latest round of sectarian chanting, which yet again the media chose to sweep under the carpet.
The incidents with the Rangers bus, references to Durrant and the Ibrox Disaster, the missile throwing from the away end and the sectarian chanting, plus the stupid deflection of blame tactics from both sets of supporters, highlight just why I haven’t missed this fixture in its four year absence.
Aberdeen v Rangers brings out the worst in fans of both clubs and the sheer hatred between the two, over inflamed by the media, is something the game could do without. I’m all for rivalry and banter but elements of these groups of supporters always overstep the mark with sick chanting, sectarian signing and thuggish behaviour.
As for the media, it is about time that they stop talking about the Ian Durrant incident once and for all. Yes, it was a terrible tackle by Neil Simpson, yes it played a part in him not fulfilling his potential and yes the Dons fans revelling almost in a player suffering a near-career ending injury is in poor taste.
However, we are now in 2016, the incident was in 1988, it’s about time the media put this to bed once and for all instead of provoking needless chanting (from both sides I may add given that Rangers fans sing praise for Durrant to provoke the Aberdeen retort) and poor reference in the form of vandalism etc.
All they are doing is pouring fuel onto the fire and it’s not doing anyone any good. If they are going to bring up Durrant, they should be balancing things out by highlighting unsavoury incidents such as Willie Johnstone stamping on John McMaster’s head. However, they CHOOSE to only bring up the former rather than be consistent, but that’s the Scottish Mainstream Media for you.
Not that the media are to blame for appalling behaviour from fans, who need to grow up and stop being full of hate for one another.
With these petty off-field incidents in this fixture, the Old Firm game and the recent Scottish Cup Final, Scottish football is in danger of going back to the dark ages thanks to a minority of thugs and idiots without a single care for the implications of their club.
Time for everybody to ditch the hate and move on, the game is not a healthy one with so much animosity between supporters. Banter is good but too many people have jumped too far over the line.