I AM not exactly a fan of football but the beautiful game is so inbuilt into Scottish culture that even I am aware that Rangers have come a long way – from lower leagues – waited a long time and worked hard to win whatever trophy it was they’ve just won.

In the circumstances it is not surprising that their dedicated fans wanted to celebrate boisterously.

However, like many, I was totally appalled at the scenes of Rangers fans all crowding together and behaving so badly. Well, I was appalled until I read that Rangers FC, understanding their fans very well, had tried to pre-empt trouble and ensure a celebration that would be both safe and satisfy their fans' enthusiasm.

They knew that it would not be possible to stop fans from individually and separately deciding to go to Ibrox to celebrate this remarkable victory, so how much better to manage the process.

In April, the chairman of the club wrote to the Scottish Government suggesting that, on four successive nights, 10,000 season ticket holders could be invited to Ibrox to join an in-stadium celebration.

The request was turned down on the grounds that it did not comply with Covid rules. In my book this makes the Scottish Government culpable for the scenes in Glasgow, yet I see that the same Scottish Government is now heaping all the blame on to the football club and trying to work out how to punish it.

It’s no good Nicola Sturgeon emoting about how she feels our pain if she does not understand human nature. The Rangers fans were always going to gather to celebrate in the same way that those grieving over Sarah Everade’s disappearance were always going to gather in a vigil. How much better in both instance if the governments concerned had recognised the force of human emotion and allowed both events to take place safely, as proposed. There’s no virtue in being all bossy and sticking to the rules if it leads to a situation that can’t then be controlled. In any case, the Covid rules are not absolutes – they vary too much between the four nations for that to be true.

Judith Gillespie, Edinburgh.


SURELY only someone as blinkered as Brian Wilson ("SNP hammered hospitality but guaranteed George Square chaos", The Herald, May 19) would attempt to blame the SNP for the violent attacks on the police by unionist mobs in George Square. It is noticeable that the carnage has not been condemned by Tory politicians or by Scotland in Union officials.

Mr Wilson also ignores the clear scientific advice that shows poor ventilation in crowded indoor situations combined with the effects of alcohol makes the spreading of Covid much more likely.

There is no reason for Scotland to follow Boris Johnson’s disastrous handling of Covid as illustrated by his failure to put India on the red list which allowed thousands to travel to the UK and bring the more virulent Indian variant to Glasgow, thus making it much more difficult to reopen hospitality venues and football stadiums.

If Glasgow has to suffer further or extended restrictions thanks to the selfish actions of those Rangers supporters in George Square, then it’s guaranteed Mr Wilson will blame the SNP.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.


THE headline over Brian Wilson's article states that the "SNP ... guaranteed George Square chaos". Younger readers may not be aware of Mr Wilson's long history of visceral opposition to Scottish independence. Does he believe that the poisonous tribalism which afflicts our society in the West of Scotland and beyond and which sustains the dominance of the "Old Firm" over Scottish football is attributable in whole or in part to the SNP?

It may have escaped the notice of Mr Wilson and many others that the championships of SPFL League 1 and League 2 in 2021 were also won by Glasgow teams. The smaller and more local tribes which support Partick Thistle and Queen's Park were equally joyful and held celebrations which attracted little or no media attention.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


NEIL Mackay claims that "sectarianism shows a Scottish face to the world" ("So what do events in Glasgow tell us about Scottish values?", The Herald, January 18).

As is understood, the tribal Rangers/Celtic Protestant/Catholic divide arose from immigration in previous centuries.

It is to be hoped that sectarianism in the west of Scotland gathers less publicity when the world looks at Pollokshields and the strong public intervention to stop brutal dawn raids on two immigrants who were from a country far away.

It would be interesting to know if that gathering included many Rangers and Celtic supporters united in that effort to prevent the immigrants’ deportation. Or in the same George Square on Sunday after the Rangers mayhem in the previous hours, who knows if those united at the peaceful rally for Palestinians from another country far away from Scotland included Rangers and Celtic supporters protesting in that common cause?

Maybe any future humanitarian-type protestations could show a representation of peaceful Rangers and Celtic supporters in their colours to show the world that the destructive face of sectarianism is promoted only by a flawed section of small-minded people who are outnumbered by the big-hearted people of Scotland. This may help discard bigotry and prejudice as all come together to promote a better face to the world of concern and kindness to the desperate and the downtrodden.

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.


WE would need to have a heart of stone not to have been moved by the words of Canon Matt McManus (Letters, May 19). Here we have a man who has clearly spent his life in works for the public good feeling that he has to write such words in disbelief, bewilderment and, perhaps, even despair at the hatred generated toward him in certain quarters.

While his sense of dismay will have moved our hearts, it should also be recording concern in our minds. Yes, concern in our minds because we live in a country where such awful behaviour can still arise. No doubt the many true friends of Canon McManus, to whom he refers, will be confirming to him that his many years of work and service are truly valued and appreciated.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


IF "the law of the land should not be sovereign over the will of the people" as suggested by David Gray (Letters, May 19), then who rules? The answer is simply anarchy.

If any law is perceived to be so onerous or unjust the answer is clear: it can be challenged in court and changed by Parliament.

This Mr Gray acknowledges in the case of suffragettes (the Equal Franchise Act 1928).

There were many residents in Pollokshields who were not best pleased by the antics of those who chanted and shouted their opposition to the legal removal of two illegal immigrants, especially on the grounds that the timings were religiously inauspicious, that is, the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the Festival of Eid. It transpired that they were not of the Islamic faith, rather Sikhism. I'm not convinced that the deeds of the Pollokshields protestors could be labelled "kindly motivated actions" by lying under a vehicle and blocking the police.

Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns.


AS always the news on your front page this morning makes interesting reading. John Swinney has been moved from his outstanding success (I jest) in education, to deal with the current Covid situation, which as we know is causing much worry and distress ("Swinney is moved from education to new Covid recovery role", The Herald, May 19).

Having overseen the continuous fall in education standards in Scotland since he became Education Secretary in 2016, what have we to look forward to in the coming days and months with regards to Mr Swinney's dabbling with Covid? He hasn't started well, of course, stating that the "silence from Rangers was deafening as fans gathered last Saturday" – as was his, the First Minister's and Humza Yousaf's deafening silence about the congregation of hundreds of protesters in Pollokshields last Thursday, the thousands demonstrating in George Square during the Palestinian Support Rally last Sunday and the thousands demonstrating outside the BBC headquarters in Glasgow on the same day. Selective Covid restrictions being enforced would appear to be the name of the game under the new SNP regime.

I presume, too, that Mr Swinney will replace the First Minister at her daily and/or regular TV news updates re Covid? That must be a difficult decision for the humble Ms Sturgeon to make – what on earth will she be concentrating her efforts on? Let me guess.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.

Read more: I have sought to do good for 60 years. Why do they hate me?