ALEX MacDONALD, the legendary former Rangers player, led calls last night for Hibernian to be kicked out of European football as the Ibrox club aimed a withering blast at Rod Petrie, the Easter Road chairman and Scottish Football Association vice-president, and demanded an independent inquiry into the violence that scarred the William Hill Scottish Cup final.

MacDonald was involved in the pre-match entertainment ahead of Hibernian’s historic 3-2 win and was appalled by the disgraceful scenes following the final whistle in which Rangers players and staff were attacked on their way off the field by supporters of the opposing team.

His demands for Hibernian to be banned from participating in next season’s Europa League were followed by Rangers making an explosive statement in which they defended the actions of their fans caught up in on-field violence and lashed out at all manner of individuals from Petrie to Police Scotland, the SFA and Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister.

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MacDonald was a member of the Rangers team which beat Moscow Dynamo to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Barcelona in 1972 and found itself excluded from European competition for two years as a result of a post-match pitch invasion.

“Hibs should be kicked out of Europe for what happened on Saturday,” he said. “It was absolutely shocking.

“We were banned in 1972 when our supporters were attacked by the Spanish police and there is no comparison between that and what happened at Hampden.

“Rangers players were assaulted. It was diabolical. Thank God none of them were seriously injured.

“What are the authorities going to do about this? Hibs don’t deserve to represent Scotland in Europe after the behaviour of the fans.”

Rangers stated their position on the official club website and targeted Petrie over his insistence the disgraceful scenes were down to “exuberance”.

Read more: Former SFA chief slams Police Scotland for "very slow" response to Hampden pitch invasion

“Rangers finds it incomprehensible that no-one, either from within the Scottish FA or Hibernian Football Club, has condemned Hibernian’s supporters following the violent scenes at the end of yesterday’s Scottish Cup final when Rangers players and members of our backroom staff were physically and verbally assaulted,” read the statement.

“We have not even had the courtesy of any contact whatsoever from Hibernian to ask after the wellbeing of those who were attacked by their club’s supporters.

“There must be a full independent investigation into the shameful scenes at Hampden.

“No matter how many times Hibernian’s chairman and Scottish FA vice-chairman, Rod Petrie, and certain other biased commentators wish to play down Saturday’s mayhem and violence, the truth must not be distorted. What unfolded on Saturday cannot and must not be put down to exuberance. That is a complete insult to Rangers, our supporters, and those individuals who were intimidated and attacked.

“It was clear to most of those who watched in horror that the Scottish FA’s security procedures failed when Hibernian’s fans went over the top in their thousands.

“We acknowledge that a tiny minority of Rangers fans also encroached on the pitch, but only after having been faced with prolonged and severe provocation in order to protect our players and officials, who were being visibly attacked in front of them. Any club’s supporters would have done the same.

Read more: What really happened when the Scottish Cup Final descended into mayhem

"This is the second time in a year that Rangers fans have had to endure attacks by another club’s supporters.

“It must also be said that it was not at all helpful to see leading members of the Scottish Government, including the First Minister, whose parish is Govan, passing comment on social media without any attempt to condemn the behaviour of Hibernian’s fans.

“Rangers demands that players, staff and fans be protected from the violence and hatred of supporters of other clubs. Rangers fully expects the SFA and Police Scotland to take action to provide our people with a safe environment.”

Alan Stubbs, the Hibernian manager, moved to set the record straight after his side's parade around Leith and claimed the Easter Road will accept any punishment that may come their way.

“No-one at this football club - the players, everybody - we don’t condone it whatsoever, we don’t condone any of the scenes afterwards," he said.

“Whatever happens, we will have to take it on the chin as a club.”