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Old Firm fans are worst for race hate.

RANGERS and Celtic fans are among the most racist supporters in Britain, a new survey claims.

And black and foreign players are more likely to suffer vile taunts from Old Firm fans than at almost any other clubs in Britain.

A survey of 33,000 supporters found 36 per cent of Rangers supporters and 33 per cent of Celtic fans heard racial abuse.

Only Everton, whose fans infamously pelted current Celtic coach, and former Liverpool player, John Barnes, with bananas during Merseyside derbies of the 1980s, fared worse.

Leicester University's Sir Norman Chester Centre for football research conducted the survey.

But ex-Rangers winger Mark Walters last night claimed: "In my experience, it was better in Scotland than in England.

"The players I know who are playing up in Scotland say there are no problems."

But former Celtic star Paul Elliot claimed he was racially abused in Scotland.

While Dutch star Ruud Gullit claimed, after facing St Mirren for Feyenoord, that it was "the saddest night of my life".

He said: "The Scots booed me because of my colour. I was even spat on."

In Glasgow in 1997, black player Stephen Roberts was kicked senseless in a match between Campsie Black Watch and Yoker.

But both Old Firm clubs hit back last night.

A spokesman for Celtic said: "The survey doesn't say if racist remarks have been within the team's own support or the opposition's.

"However, one racist remark is one too many."

A spokeswoman for Rangers added: "We shall wait to read the full report before taking action."

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Author:Ramsay, Heather
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 8, 2000
Words:263
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