STEWART Robertson, the Rangers managing director, last night insisted singing The Billy Boys was preferable to becoming involved in the unrest at the end of the William Hill Scottish Cup final.

The Herald:

READ MORE: Q&A: Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson on the Hampden riot, Rod Petrie and Club 1872.

The Ibrox club’s supporters have been widely criticised for belting out a rendition of the banned song as thousands of Hibs fans invaded the pitch at Hampden on Saturday evening.

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Several Rangers players and members of staff were assaulted and spat on by followers of the Easter Road club as they attempted to make their way off the field after being beaten 3-2.

READ MORE: Q&A: Rangers' Stewart Robertson on the Hampden riot, Rod Petrie and Club 1872

Robertson condemned the airing of a sectarian chant which is illegal under the controversial Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

However, the Rangers director expressed the view that it was a far lesser offence than storming onto the playing surface and engaging in acts of violence against the Hibs support.

“If I recall correctly, the Billy Boys was sung after the Hibs fans came on to the pitch,” he said.

“We don’t condone that kind of behaviour. However, if I had a choice between the fans singing a song or piling over the wall into a pitched battle with the Hibs fans, I know what I would choose.

“That doesn’t make it right, but you have to put it into context. I’d rather have that than two or three thousand piling over the wall and we have a riot on our hands.”

Meanwhile, Robertson has revealed Rangers have received an email from Hibs acknowledging the role their fans played in the ugly scenes which shamed Scottish football at the weekend.

He has also confirmed that Rangers will take action against any supporters of the Ibrox club who are charged by police during investigations into the disgraceful events.

READ MORE: Stewart Robertson: Rangers will punish any fans found guilty of Scottish Cup Final disorder

He said: “First of all, can I just say congratulations to Hibs on winning the cup. It was obviously a big day for them after 114 years. They deserved their victory, so well done to Hibs.

“We have had good dialogue with the SFA. Stewart Regan (the SFA chief executive) has been on the phone a couple of times, on Saturday night and Monday morning. He has also said what he’s said publicly. I’ve had an email from Hibs.

"They were just acknowledging what had happened. When the final whistle blows, Hibs fans come over the top, run up the pitch and get to the halfway line, attack our players, continue running up the pitch and actually goad, taunt and provoke our fans.

“That’s just not acceptable. It’s not acceptable that we have players and staff attacked at their place of work. It’s just not right.

The Herald:

"Every one of those players coming off that pitch was pretty badly impacted by what happened and three members of staff that I’m aware of. All of that has now gone to the police so we’re going to step back from making much more public comment and just let the investigations take their path.

"Hopefully, the investigation will identify is what went wrong. Why were the Hibs fans allowed to come on to the pitch and attack our players and staff? How can we deal with it in future? How can we prevent it happening again. Nobody wants to see those scenes."

Robertson added: “We don’t condone any act of violence in football and some of our fans ended up on the pitch. But I think you have to go back to the provocation, the taunting and the goading. I’ve seen some of the footage from close up and they felt threatened.

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“They saw players being attacked by the Hibs fans. Let’s not forget that the Hibs fans came over the top. The Hibs fans initiated everything that happened. The Hibs fans ran towards them.

“But the investigations will inevitably lead to some of those fans who were on the pitch being punished and we will take appropriate action against those fans and do the right thing.”

Elsewhere, Robertson has confirmed Rangers have entered talks with manager Mark Warburton and his assistant Davie Weir about signing new contracts with the Ibrox club.

Speaking at the launch of the Club 1872 united Rangers supporters group at Ibrox, he said: "Mark and Davie have been fantastic," he said. "The brand of football they have played, the way we have come through the Championship and the squad he has put together.

READ MORE: Q&A: Rangers' Stewart Robertson on the Hampden riot, Rod Petrie and Club 1872

"There are a lot of things people don’t see, but the atmosphere up at Auchenhowie and the backroom team is terrific. We want them to stay as long as we can. Like any of your best employees, we have constant dialogue with them.

“There are lots of pieces come together to make the jigsaw when it comes to a contract. We will see how it develops but we would love them to stay longer.”