A Glasgow SNP leader has received death threats after what he called “false allegations” of footballing bias over a Rangers fanzone.

David McDonald, the deputy leader of the city’s council, this weekend posted examples of abusive social media messages against him.

Mr McDonald said one man had said he wanted to “drag him on to the street, gut him and sweep him in to the gutter he belongs in”.

Twitter and Facebook lit up this weekend as some Rangers supporters suggested a Fanzone planned to be opened at a sport centre owned by the council was not allowed go ahead because officials were biased against their club.

Mr McDonald and others said a proposal was turned down after objections from a local community council. The fanzone, the community group said, would stop children playing at the proposed site.

The row escalated online after a Tory MSP, Adam Tomkins, appeared to imply that some sort of bias may have been at play.

In a widely reported letter to the council’s leadership, Mr Tomkins said: “I would strongly urge you to engage with your SNP colleagues on Glasgow City Council to ensure that due process has been followed in this instance and that the outcome was neither partisan nor one-sided.”

Mr McDonald’s leader, Susan Aitken, on Saturday lashed out at Mr Tomkins and some Labour MSPs. She suggested they had used dogwhistle tactics to mobilize sections of the Rangers support online against her and Mr McDonald.

She said: “Rangers chose to go public with utterly unfounded, highly personalised claims in the full knowledge of the kind of reaction that can provoke in Glasgow. Senior politicians joined the attack, without any bothering to find out the facts first. I bit my tongue but when violent threats were made against David, I couldn’t stay silent any longer.”

Mr Tomkins rejected Ms Aitken’s response. He tweeted: “Now holding the SNP to account = exploiting sectarian division in Cllr Aitken’s mind? I think the pressure’s getting to her.....”

The social media row came as Celtic and Rangers met for the first time in the Premiership this season.