Nicola Sturgeon warns Rangers supporters large crowds ‘risk lives’ as fans break lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon warned Rangers fans they were ‘risking their lives’ as they gathered in their thousands to celebrate their side’s first Scottish Premiership title in a decade.

The Gers clinched their 55th championship when rivals Celtic could only manage a 0-0 draw away at Dundee United.

Despite warnings from Saturday when they partied in the streets following a 3-0 home win over St Mirren, fans again broke lockdown rules and turned out in their droves to mark the occasion.

Scotland is currently under tier 4 restrictions, which means mass gatherings are banned and the public is urged not to leave their homes amid the pandemic. 

Rangers fans set off flares as they celebrated their side's 55th title win as Celtic drew

Rangers fans set off flares as they celebrated their side's 55th title win as Celtic drew

Rangers fans set off flares as they celebrated their side’s 55th title win as Celtic drew

Most fans were seen not wearing face masks as they ignored strict lockdown protocol

Most fans were seen not wearing face masks as they ignored strict lockdown protocol

Most fans were seen not wearing face masks as they ignored strict lockdown protocol 

Many were seen not wearing face masks or following any kind of social distancing.

Groups were seen letting off flares outside their Ibrox ground and in George Square in the City Centre.

And in an attempt to urge people to stay home Nicole Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland tweeted to remind them of the ongoing lockdown.

She said: ‘I congratulate @RangersFC on the title win and recognise what a moment this is for fans.

‘But gathering in crowds just now risks lives, and could delay exit from lockdown for everyone else.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked fans to remember social distancing rules in a tweet sent Sunday

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked fans to remember social distancing rules in a tweet sent Sunday

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asked fans to remember social distancing rules in a tweet sent Sunday

Despite the warning, fans turned out in their droves bringing inflatable champagne bottles, flags and flares

Despite the warning, fans turned out in their droves bringing inflatable champagne bottles, flags and flares

Despite the warning, fans turned out in their droves bringing inflatable champagne bottles, flags and flares

The title win was Rangers' first in a decade and following nine straight league wins for rivals Celtic

The title win was Rangers' first in a decade and following nine straight league wins for rivals Celtic

The title win was Rangers’ first in a decade and following nine straight league wins for rivals Celtic

Police Scotland could take retrospective action against those out celebrating this afternoon

Police Scotland could take retrospective action against those out celebrating this afternoon

Police Scotland could take retrospective action against those out celebrating this afternoon

‘If those gathering care at all about the safety of others and the country, they will go home.’

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf also condemned Rangers fans for their actions and warned they could face retrospective police action.

He added: ‘I’m certainly frustrated because it should not be up to Police Scotland to take enforcement action.

‘Police have been putting themselves at risk over the last year, day in, day out, to keep us safe, and they should not have to be in a situation which can be completely avoidable.

‘It’s not uncommon for action to be taken as a follow-up and that’s entirely up to Police Scotland to do.

‘When things return to normal, I’m sure there will be an almighty party of all parties to celebrate what is likely to be a quite historic title victory, but until that moment you must respect the rules because you’re not only putting you own life at risk but also the community’s lives at risk, too.’

Fans of all shapes and sizes made their way to Ibrox to celebrate their side's league triumph

Fans of all shapes and sizes made their way to Ibrox to celebrate their side's league triumph

Fans of all shapes and sizes made their way to Ibrox to celebrate their side’s league triumph

The fans' actions follow similar celebrations on Saturday when they were also asked to stay at home

The fans' actions follow similar celebrations on Saturday when they were also asked to stay at home

The fans’ actions follow similar celebrations on Saturday when they were also asked to stay at home

Police watch on as fans gather outside Rangers' Ibrox Stadium home in Glasgow

Police watch on as fans gather outside Rangers' Ibrox Stadium home in Glasgow

Police watch on as fans gather outside Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium home in Glasgow 

Some fans carried life size cut outs of manager Steven Gerrard who has led his side to a 55th league title win

Some fans carried life size cut outs of manager Steven Gerrard who has led his side to a 55th league title win

Some fans carried life size cut outs of manager Steven Gerrard who has led his side to a 55th league title win

The First Minister has previously criticised fans for gathering in large numbers.

She said after a protest outside Celtic Park in November: ‘We have advice against gatherings and every day I stand up here and say avoid crowded places.

‘We have a limit on people coming together outside… so it stands to reason any group of people that are gathering together in a crowd are putting themselves and others at risk.

‘Whether it’s football fans, rugby fans, any other kind of sport fans or just people in general, please don’t do it because right now, in the middle of this pandemic, it is a risky thing to do that puts you and other people at risk.’

Rangers had won 3-0 yesterday, setting up their title win if Celtic failed to get three points away from home

Rangers had won 3-0 yesterday, setting up their title win if Celtic failed to get three points away from home

Rangers had won 3-0 yesterday, setting up their title win if Celtic failed to get three points away from home

The side later toasted the 55th championship win with bottles of bubbly

The side later toasted the 55th championship win with bottles of bubbly

The side later toasted the 55th championship win with bottles of bubbly

Forlorn Celtic players know the game is up as they drew 0-0 away form home, handing Rangers the title

Forlorn Celtic players know the game is up as they drew 0-0 away form home, handing Rangers the title

Forlorn Celtic players know the game is up as they drew 0-0 away form home, handing Rangers the title 

The Blues Brothers Rangers and Linfield FC fan group yesterday posted videos of the gathering on Twitter.

A member of the group said: ‘It’s scenes of joy.

‘Ten years almost of pain and watching our rivals win the lot has been hard to take.

‘It’s scenes of relief to stop the 10 in a row.’

Celtic had gone into their match needing to win to keep alive any hopes of an historic tenth title in a row. Early in their match a plane organised by Rangers fans had flown Tannardice carrying a banner saying: ‘Can you see us now.’

The draw gave Rangers an unassailable 20-point lead, with six games still remaining to be played.

A banner was flown over Tannadice Park on Sunday between Dundee United and Celtic

A banner was flown over Tannadice Park on Sunday between Dundee United and Celtic

A banner was flown over Tannadice Park on Sunday between Dundee United and Celtic

Rangers have dominated this season’s title race from start to finish, winning 28 and drawing four of their 32 matches, to ruin Celtic’s bid for a 10th successive crown.

It caps Rangers’ return to prominence in Scotland after a decade of hell that saw them demoted to the bottom tier in 2012 following financial collapse.

They returned to the Premiership five years ago but truly regained their strength under Gerrard in the past couple of years and have blown Celtic away this season.

Saturday’s victory over St Mirren, earned thanks to goals by Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Ianis Hagi, preserved their 100 per cent home record and sparked extraordinary scenes.  

Several people condemned their behaviour online.

‘I appreciate you want to celebrate your team’s success, but under current restrictions this is idiotic,’ wrote one Twitter user. 

‘The Rangers Football Club have made a mockery of social distancing guidelines,’ wrote another incensed person. 

Another social media user described the scenes of Rangers fans partying in their droves outside Ibrox as ’embarrassing’ and showing no consideration for those affected by coronavirus. 

The Scottish Government slammed fans who breached lockdown rules on Saturday to throw their support behind Rangers ahead of their 3-0 win over St Mirren, with footage showing fans swarming Gerrard’s car as he arrived at Ibrox.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said at the time they were ‘extremely disappointed’ with the supporters’ behaviour. 

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said on Saturday: ‘We are extremely disappointed supporters have gathered at Ibrox today.

‘At this crucial stage of suppressing the virus, the actions of this minority of individuals jeopardises the safety of other supporters, the police on duty and the wider community.

‘We will continue to engage with Police Scotland and the club.’

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