Large numbers of Glasgow Rangers fans gathered outside their team’s Ibrox Stadium on Saturday as the team was close to their first Scottish Premier League title in 10 years.
Cheering fans gathered to greet the team, sing and raise torches before and during the game against St. Mirren. Steven Gerrard’s men won 3-0 to take them 21 points ahead of bitter rivals Celtic.
If Celtic fails to win at Dundee United on Sunday, the Rangers will be crowned champions and end a run of nine consecutive league titles for their rivals in town.
Should Celtic beat Dundee, the Rangers can still seal the title by collecting a point when they travel to Celtic Park for the next round of league games on March 21st.
Fans gathered en masse in Ibrox on Saturday in anticipation of a long-awaited triumph, despite lockdowns still in place in Scotland that are restricting large gatherings.
“I would like to remind supporters that under the current coronavirus guidelines of the Scottish government, all gatherings are currently prohibited and we would like to urge the public to comply with these restrictions,” said Police Officer Mark Sutherland, as quoted by the BBC.
“Our priority is public safety and an appropriate police plan has been drawn up and officers worked with those present to explain and encourage compliance with restrictions.”
A spokesman for the Scottish government added their disappointment, saying: “At this crucial stage in the suppression of the virus, the actions of this minority of people threaten the safety of other supporters, the police on duty and the wider community.”
Despite the rally, there were no immediate reports of arrests.
With former Liverpool and England icon Gerrard at the helm, the Rangers have regained their place at the pinnacle of Scottish football after most of a decade in the shadow of great rival Celtic.
After a humiliating financial crisis in 2012, the Rangers were downgraded to the fourth division of Scottish football as they were forced to work their way back up the leagues before being able to challenge Celtic again.
Gerrard was appointed manager in 2018 and has set out to transform his fortune. He has been unbeaten in 32 league games this season and reached the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League.
Saturday’s win over St. Mirren was achieved thanks to goals from Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Ianis Hagi.