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FOOTBAll: RACE HATE FANS FACE BOOT; Gers get tough over taunts.

Byline: JAMES TRAYNOR & KEITH JACKSON EXCLUSIVE

RANGERS said last night they will hound out any fans guilty of racist behaviour as well as sectarian.

A section of the Ibrox support singled out Celtic's Didier Agathe and Bobo Balde for disgraceful treatment during Saturday's Old Firm showdown - which was beamed live around all of Britain by the BBC.

And Sports Record can reveal also that Rangers will be carpeted by the game's bosses after a bottle was thrown at Parkhead striker Chris Sutton during another explosive Glasgow derby.

Missiles were aimed at Sutton as he celebrated scoring the game's opening goal after only 18 seconds of a pulsating contest which Rangers went on to win 3- 2.

Later in the first half, during a rare lull in what was another frantic encounter, some home fans were heard making monkey noises as Agathe stood close to the touchline in front of the main stand.

Others were disgusted and now Rangers are to take firm action to get rid of fans who indulge in such sick and unacceptable behaviour.

Chairman John McClelland said he was unaware of the abuse but stressed: "It is my view that unacceptable behaviour is exactly that whether it is of a religious, sectarian or racist nature.

"If it is brought to my attention and we can prove it is happening then we would have to do something to eliminate it."

Balde was also repeatedly targeted for racial abuse throughout the match and Rangers will now launch an internal probe into the shameful affair.

McClelland will speak with the people on his monitoring group, a committee set up by Rangers to examine the behaviour of their fans, and instruct them to investigate but the Ibrox club could already be in trouble with the SFA.

Just after Sutton scored the fastest ever Old Firm goal, some Rangers fans threw missiles at him and it is understood referee Kenny Clark will include this in his report to the SFA.

Rangers fear the worst and their director of football business Martin Bain said: "We are aware that a plastic bottle was thrown from the East Enclosure and that the incident will be included in the referee's report.

"With regard to any other inappropriate behaviour we have not been officially advised of the number or nature of arrests made inside the ground.

"As we have said many times in recent weeks we have been working extremely closely with the Scottish Executive, police, and various other authorities to be as pro- active as possible in dealing with any form of anti-social behaviour. We will continue to do so."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 9, 2002
Words:434
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