CELTIC supporters have been banned indefinitely from Ibrox, which

Rangers claim has been vandalised once too often.

Rangers say it has cost them more than #20,000 to repair damage caused

by Celtic ticket holders at Old Firm matches played at Ibrox since March

1992. Rangers add that several attempts have been made to persuade

Celtic that they should accept responsibility for their supporters'


''With reference to the most recent encounter, on October 30, 1993, we

have been corresponding with Celtic on a regular basis,'' said Rangers'

chairman David Murray, ''and it is perfectly clear from their letters

that they accept no responsibility whatsoever for this vandalism. The

cost following that match to repair damage was #7800 and we can no

longer tolerate this type of destruction.''

Mr Murray added: ''The board of directors has taken the decision to

withhold all ticketing allocations to Celtic Football Club in respect of

our next scheduled league match at Ibrox on Saturday, April 30. Tickets

will be available only to Rangers supporters.

''We regret the matter has reached this point. However, due to the

intransigent attitude of Celtic Football Club and their lack of

responsibility with regard to the behaviour of their supporters'

behaviour, we believe no other course of action is now available to

us.'' Rangers wrote to Celtic on Tuesday informing them of the ban.

Celtic chairman Kevin Kelly said: ''This matter was raised at the

Scottish League management committee last week when it was agreed that

clubs should be responsible only for their own grounds.

''We have suffered damage at Celtic Park but prefer to keep it quiet

rather than draw attention to the kind of people who do these things.

However, banning another club's fans is a dangerous action to take.''

Mr Murray says that the problem hit him suddenly while he was writing

a cheque for #142,000 to be paid to Celtic for Rangers' ticket

allocation at the last Old Firm match at Celtic Park on New Year's Day.

It struck him that he was collecting for Celtic when in return their

fans go to his ground and cause damage.

''They don't buy our programmes or eat our fast food. But they do

smash our seats,'' he said.

Rangers also say that they have to pay an added #12,000 on their

police bill when Celtic visit. Mr Murray does not fear a backlash with

Celtic refusing to give tickets to Rangers' fans. He knows, of course,

that Celtic, who are more than #5m in debt, cannot afford to go without

the money generated by Rangers' supporters.

Mr Murray also knows he can sell out Ibrox when Celtic play even

without their supporters.

There is no law in the game which states that clubs must give their

opponents tickets and Mr Peter Donald, secretary of the Scottish League,

said: ''It is most unfortunate and there is no doubt that part of

football's attraction is the atmosphere which can be generated by

supporters of opposing clubs.''

Mr Gerry Madden, general secretary of Celtic FC supporters'

association, said he was surprised at the move. His group has spoken to

the police seeking a solution to the vandalism and added: ''If someone

would give us the sophisticated video evidence which Rangers say they

have, perhaps we could do something.

''I hope there will be a change of heart because this is supposed to

be the greatest club game in the world.''

Mr Peter Rafferty, chairman of the Affiliation of Registered Celtic

Supporters' Clubs, said: ''We have to hope this is not an end to the

matter and that there will be room for some kind of compromise.''

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