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Football: Clubs must take action.

Byline: RAY HEPBURN

BIGOTRY and hatred are both flourishing and Scotland's two top clubs have done little during the last few days to stop their growth.

Last Sunday's Old Firm match contained all the usual bitter and twisted elements, but significantly Rangers and Celtic found new avenues for trade.

One Celtic fan was pictured making an aircraft like gesture toward American star Claudio Rayna in quite the most appalling commentary on the New York atrocities.

On Tuesday morning, that fan should have received a letter from Celtic with a refund covering the remainder of his season ticket and a clear instruction not to return.

Celtic however sent their Security Officer to the supporters home and suspended his ticket, pending further enquiries amid fears that he might not be guilty.

The pictures published this week make it absolutely clear what the intent was, or are we to believe that it was pure coincidence that Reyna was the nearest player at the time.

Then there was the story that Barry Ferguson had thrown two ice packs in the direction of Martin O'Neill at the end of the match.

There are witnesses to the fact that ice was thrown and if the accusation is not true it is a dreadful slur on the Scotland player that needs to be removed.

The fact that there has been not one single word on the subject from Ibrox would seem to indicate that Rangers are more than happy to let the incident slip conveniently from memory.

The Rangers captain throwing missiles at an opposition manager in the white hot cauldron of an Old Firm match - what on earth needs to happen before somebody does something?

BBC Scotland's Chic Young warbled on about the match containing "a wonderful atmosphere" before hostilities resumed and Celtic emerged worthy 2-0 winners.

Hate drips down from the top of the stands to the touchline and sadly seeps out onto the playing surface as well.

There are big bucks in bigotry and last week the Old Firm seemed much more interested in counting the money than trying to eradicate the problem.

CAPTION(S):

ACCUSED: Rangers skipper Barry Ferguson
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2001
Words:356
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