Rangers' boycott of Dundee United is poorly timed
Club are blaming the wrong people
31 January ~ So much for the Cup providing a big day out for lower-league fans. On Saturday Rangers face their hardest fixture of the campaign, their first away match to an SPL club since re-forming, with no backing. Rangers supporters' groups initiated a boycott of the Scottish Cup trip to Dundee United and Ibrox chief executive Charles Green, who attended his first Rangers match last May, quickly made it official. The stated reason is United chairman Stephen Thompson's vocal opposition to the new Rangers company entering the SPL last summer.
There's also United's refusal to refund gate money for a previous SPL meeting abandoned at half time due to weather conditions. I can't remember what anyone else in Scotland was saying last summer as I was too busy listening to the sound of my club being liquidated. However, I did hear fellow Rangers fans declaring themselves happy to "serve our time" in the lower leagues. I also remember us taking our usual 5,000-7,000 to Tannadice a few times between the abandoned match of November 2009 and liquidation in 2012.The timing of this action seems as flawed as the reasoning behind it.
United fans threatened to boycott season ticket sales if their board voted the Rangers newco into the SPL. This threat angered many Rangers fans but choosing to imitate it seems the crassest way of registering your objection. The match is live on TV, so the home club will make a profit regardless. And surely the best way to annoy United, who've been shipping goals all season and lost their manager on Monday, is by denying them the further riches of the semi-final and final. Rangers already bridged the gap between Scotland's bottom and top flights with September's League Cup defeat of Motherwell. The last thing United fans wanted is half their tight, 14,000-capacity stadium turned into a celebration of what the SPL is missing.
A new Ibrox habit of applauding opponents off the pitch speaks of the humility displayed by many bluenoses since the club re-formed. Erroneous tax case blogs, Scottish football's internecine governing bodies, opposing fans and chairmen expressing their democratic right to uphold sporting integrity; none of these things liquidated Rangers yet they remain the focus of a vengeful, misplaced campaigning ire among large sections of the support.
Green, who recently raised over £22 million of investment through a share issue, eases his tenure by pandering to the angriest noises. Simultaneously, this veneer of empathy – also adopted by the infamous Craig Whyte while he drove the old Rangers into the ground – guarantees plenty of free advertising for the brand via tabloid headlines.
United have retained a section for away fans, Rangers will donate their share of gate receipts to charity. When home punters don Whyte masks to mock the few hundred boycott-breakers it may seem like the inevitable result of the scattergun bitterness which enabled Rangers' liquidation – staying away from your team because your anger needs you more. Some of us hope it's actually the end of Rangers blaming others for our own problems. And that there's a replay. Alex Anderson
There is anger felt towards a whole number of sources over what happened to us. Quite how you express anger towards David Murray, Craig Whyte, Lloyds Bank and HMRC in a meaningful way I'm not sure. However choosing not to directly improve the finances of one of the more vocal 'sporting integrity' merchants seems like an appropriate response in this case. In the end Dundee Utd fans can fill their own ground and their club will be no worse off and the point will still have been made.
With the possibility that the SPL commission could report this week too it strikes me that for once it isn't the worst idea in the world for 8,000 or Rangers supporters not to be in attendance. The atmosphere will be poisonous as it is.
The club acquiesced to the supporters demands, I've no real issue with that, for once there is almost unanimity on this, something surprising in itself with a support as large and fractured as ours. The club did the right thing in reflecting the views of the support and donating the gate money takes away any suggestion of profiteering.
I don't know any Rangers supporters who blame Dundee Utd for our recent problems, but I know a few who witnessed a side to Scottish football they were largely unaware until last year. Personally I'm not yet ready to 'rejoin the fold' or let bygones be bygones. Suggesting i'm somehow letting Rangers down or blaming someone else for our problems is unfair and inaccurate.
Rather than spit a collective dummy out of an issue that has long since passed, Rangers have a more pressing concern with the 12-12-18 format. As this has the SFA foaming at the gash, will Rangers boycott Hampden should they make it to the semis? At least where Hampden is concerned, Celtic would appear to have had a boycott of their own judging by recent results…
In answer to your first question I'd say not all SPL clubs are viewed the same way. Only some were very vocal and very involved in the blackmail.
Rangers have no say in the 12, 12, 18 format. Also it's "not long since passed", it was only 6 months ago and the SPL commission is meeting as we type. I said this to you before on the OTF last year, there is now a resentment and a bitterness towards other clubs from Rangers supporters that wasn't there before. You might not believe me but it's true. It'll take a long, long time for that to subside.
In my opinion the club should have stayed out of it. Charles listened to the angry voices and acted. Those voices of course drown out any fans wanting to go to the game. Those voices will also tell you that Rangers fans are in full agreement. I can assure you that there are many Rangers fans out there who disagree with the boycott and would like to go. I cant actually prove that and neither can anyone who says the opposite. There was no vote of season ticket holders to prove any kind of feeling in the support.
So Charles Green decided to go with an official boycott because of what he felt the fans wanted. I wonder what he would have done if a section of fans had started a campaign to get the boycott lifted so they could attend and support the team? Are those supporters in the wrong? No, they just happen to have a different opinion.
I feel sorry for the folks who never miss a game and maybe even one or two have havent missed a game in year or in their life. Their rights were ignored and if they do manage to get into the ground God knows what they will be called by their fellow supporters. All because they love Rangers so much and wanted to see them play.
I get the sense that the crux of the article was to suggest that Rangers' boycott was picking at scabs somewhat. Whatever Thompson did to influence the vote, the fact was he did not instigate the vote in the first place; Thompson didn't start the fire, even if he did fan the flames somewhat.
In any case, when AA writes about the missed opportunity to show 'what the SPL has been missing' this can come across as conceit. Of course the league's not the same without its biggest club but what of it? Right enough, the game's not in the best of shape but it's no worse for Rangers' absence.
Rangers don't have to make nice, but surely focusing on its own resurrection (wherever that may be) would be more beneficial than trying to stick it to other clubs politically?
As for the abandoned match against Dundee United, a Rangers supporters club took the matter to the courts and there certainly have been Gers fans who have not returned to Tannadice because of this affair. The ill-feeling caused by this has been added to in the past year or so.
Turning to the status of Rangers, the club is the same as always. Only the company running it is new (a "newco"). The most recent confirmation of this is in the SPL's statement issued yesterday about their commission, which statement lists the club separately from the two companies (newco and oldco).
Very well put and it’s obvious you feel as strongly as I do – so that’s why the marathon reply here (also because I have a lot to get off my chest on this subject) - but I reckon we feel strongly about two different things: If I read you correctly, you don’t blame United for our financial collapse but you do think their actions deserve some sort of payback? Fine. Okay. But why tomorrow? Why give their blood-lusty fans the satisfaction of thinking THEY had the power to bring our club to its knees?
Get our end rocking, crack out the UJs, belt oot the songs, get United pumped and demonstrate that our priority at this moment is showing everyone we’re back – rather than our backs – and we’re here to inflict some historic defeats upon you all. It’s about football. Do the boycotts later if you have to, when we’re back in the top flight – Christ, it won’t be long.
To be honest, I could give a sh*t about United right now. For once in my somewhat mealy-mouthed “let’s enjoy football in its entirety” life, they mean absolutely nothing to me. I hope we destroy them on the pitch (I’ve convinced myself we’ll draw 1-1 and take them back to Ibrox which means we’ll prob get gubbed), natch – but they could be anybody. All they are to me tomorrow is a platform for Rangers to say We’re Back.
At this time especially, with Rangers recovering from the biggest trauma since the Ibrox disaster, I’m all about how we go forward. It has to be or else we’ll just descend into another financial hole.
As you say, the boycott is indeed almost unanimous. I won’t be going. I disagree with it but I’ll respect it. Ally asked me not to go and after his Waddell-esque off-field heroics of the last year his word is final. Plus I remembered a Theatre Studies lecturer, long reconciled with his failure as a thesp, giving a brief reprise of Krapp's Last Tape to illustrate a point. When 4 or 5 people in an auditorium of 50 began to clap, then stopped, he was more humiliated than if all or none had applauded. One out, all out.
Had there been no boycott I would have been watching on the telly anyway – it’s been years since I did every away game and this further typifies why it’s difficult to judge EXACTLY what percentage of Bears agree with this action. How can an absence be full? It’s hard to say how representative 7 or 8 thousand Rangers fans are of the entire support when we’ve yet to broach 30,000 for any Cup game we’ve played at Ibrox after the East Fife newco curtain-raiser.
If Dundee United were being duplicitous then its sounds as if Dundee – chucked up a league at such short notice they were condemned to a season of thankless toil – are the ones with the biggest complaint. And if you’re angered by boardrooms appeasing the bloodlust of their fans then I can only assume you’re writing to Charles Green with a list of complaints about his press pronouncements.
Am I to understand that you wish to punish Dundee United simply because you don’t feel you can get to HMRC, David Murray or Craig Whyte? This is exactly my point. Scattergun. If everyone felt that way then the boycott would definitely not have happened as so many would be intent on getting to Tannadice to vent. Poison would shame any United fans who demonstrate such attitudes tomorrow. Us, though – Rangers – we’re just being bl**dy huffy.
I don’t think anyone knew until this week when the SPL commission was happening and, frankly, if people are investigating us it’s yet more confirmation that the club’s history is unbroken – you can’t really punish a corpse.
The side you witnessed to Scottish football last summer, which has so upset you, was one of the few consolations to me. Knowing that, even with our club financially eviscerated, we still attracted so much bitterness and energetically hateful attention from the quarters you’re talking about was brilliant confirmation of what I’d so long suspected. I always thought the decades-old painting of our fans and club as the most bitter in the land was one of the biggest cases of projection since Norman Bates. The thought of having no Rangers to demonise left many with the terrifying prospect of having to look in the mirror. When opponents go out their way to goad you (and in this, rival supports have been as fractious as ours, with a whole lot of unexpected sympathy coming my way too) you know you still have them in your back pocket. I’ll give rival clubs my money – they get it as soon as I step into Ibrox or subscribe to Sky anyway - but I’d never give them my hate.
What it all comes down to is this: We’re sending the team out with no fans.
When it gets to that stage, the game’s a bogey – in fact, the game’s clearly become an irrelevance. We have completely changed the subject when we do this kinda thing.
Why did liquidation hurt so much? At root, because it meant we might not be able to watch our team play football every week. Yet here we are VOLUNTEERING to not watch them play. I hope tomorrow is simply a book-end to a year of gutting set-backs for all Rangers fans – a cathartic exorcising of the trauma which kicked in after our last Scottish Cup match against Dundee United.
I agree with AMMS' point to you in that the events of last summer will probably not seem "long since passed" to any adult Rangers fan until the day we die. And this is why I agree a boycott of Tannadice is indeed spitting the dummy - because it is or will be construed as being a response to an event which a few empty seats at a ground could never equate with. Also, it's taking the focus away from why we were liquidated and placing it onto how other clubs behaved towards what you rightly call a situation they should never have been placed in.
Spartans, Cove Rangers etc - these guys have campaigned diligently and patiently for years to get into the bottom tier of the SFL. They've rebuilt their grounds, managed their finances tightly etc and here was Rangers going straight into SFL3 under the criteria of our previous parent company going bust. That was brass neck enough - for us to be even considered for SPL status was embarrassing (for me anyway).
I had a wee rant on these pages at the beginning of last season pleading with SPL fans NOT to miss Rangers - my "show them what they've been missing" statement was conceited, yes, because I cannae help thinking my wee club's still the best wee club ever. But I mostly meant "missing" in the physical rather than emotional sense. I haven't seen a lot of sold-out games in the top flight in 2012/13 - we could have packed Tannadice tomorrow. Right now I get the feeling most Rangers fans are as loathe to be back in the SPL as most rival SPL fans claim they are to have us back.
But I don't understand your Celtic comment - after all, Hampden is where they've won half their trophies of the last four years ...
Aye, I think we all know someone who never misses a game, who prides themselves on being there every week. Ye feel for them – and I know the likes of Ally and Walter will too. I went through enough of a quandary on this one and, as I said above, I would almost certainly never have been going to this game anyway. For the 100% attendance punters this must be a nightmare.
To be fair, the club statements have been very carefully pointing out that they are “advising”
Rangers fans to boycott this game rather than instructing or ordering them to do so but – yeah – I also wish it had been left up to the bears themselves. It doesn’t help that Green seems to be playing to galleries he doesn’t really understand. His recent statements re Ibrox naming rights show that he recognises when to sit on the fence – my suspicion is that it’s when he thinks coming down too hard on one side will lose him money.
I don’t think it’ll get to the stage of Rangers fans seriously offending each other. I trust we’re all cognisant of the fact this has been an emotionally traumatic year and reactions will be different. I’ve seen one young guy tweeting, oxymoronically, that “anyone who goes to Tannadice is not a real Rangers fan” but, that apart, I’ve not seen it getting nasty among the Rangers support. Someone, somewhere will undoubtedly be using the traitors and scabs language but “boycott” and “boycott-breaker” was over-emotional enough for me in itself.
I’m worried that we’re getting a wee bitty cultish these days as a support. I hope this is an end to it. To be honest I think most Rangers fans have just had enough of the emotionally draining off-field stuff and just want to get back to watching football. Ye’d have thought tomorrow would have been perfect for that …
Yup - United weren't the only ones with groups of fans getting themselves all worked up last summer. Totally agree. While we might not like the language they used when doing so or the way their club chairmen might have slithered and u-turned around their reactions I honestly feel it was none of my business.
I couldn’t have cared less if we were taking a year out or joining the juniors - I thought Rangers were dead and I was in mourning. What's happened since the summer - including my own inability to miss a home game - has slowly brought me round to the fact that a club is indeed the fans. That's why this boycott p*sses me off - if we're carrying the history then we're also carrying the ethos. I hate that "we welcome the chase" has, for some, been replaced by "If we keep running they'll keep chasing".
For years we've been buying United's best players and winning titles on their ground - never mind the balance sheets, we've banked all the "revenge" we'll ever need on Tannadice.
If the Craig Whyte masks AREN'T meant to be offensive then they're disqualified as banter by Scottish football's standards! Offence is a minimum requirement!
Look, if United fans want to go to all that effort re an opposition team then I take it as a compliment they're thinking more about Rangers than their own side.
The 2009 cancellation - yup - as you say, this hit United fans the same as ours. A great point. And a spit in the ocean of "inconvenience" that was liquidation.
Whyte was beyond dodgy, mate - he ran Rangers into the ground deliberately. Murray made many mistakes but they were indeed mistakes, a by-product of the best of intentions for a support which always demands the best and which could now be seen as making the ultimate sign of ingratitude.
But it's not really - we're just a bit punch-drunk right now.
Why tomorrow? Well, when you’ve been as impotent as the Rangers support have been for nearly 12 months now and the chance to fuck someone, anyone, comes around you take it.
It isn’t a rational decision it’s an emotional one, like many made in recent months. I’m not sure what satisfaction, if any, Dundee Utd fans will get from it and frankly I don’t care.
I don’t think the club need to prove they are back, we never went away, and the defeat of Motherwell in the League Cup was the catharsis required for that. We’re six months into the season, we’ve literally played the length and breadth of the country, no one needs reminded we’re back.
I’ve not written directly to Charles Green about his press pronouncements, but I have expressed my views on them www.gersnet.co.uk/index.php/latest-news/...-up-and-start-again. Feel free to cure your insomnia.
No, you haven’t understood me at all with regards Murray, Whyte, HMRC and Lloyds, I’m not punishing Dundee Utd as some sort of projection of my anger at others. If I’d any way of expressing my anger at any of those four that didn’t involve me breaking the law I’d do it. But again I’m impotent, short of a few angry tweets or a rant on a messageboard there is nothing I can do about them. Taxes I need to pay, but I don’t have to give Dundee Utd any of my money.
You may well be right about the SPL Commission, and as it isn’t making its judgement yet it was a moot point anyway, fair enough.
Unlike you I took no consolation from the summer’s events, quite the opposite. Like you I’m a long time reader of WSC and a long time believer in its creed; that basically we’re all in this together, despite the colour of our scarf, accent or relative success. All supporters are basically the same and that we recognize ourselves when we see the opposition. I was hopelessly naïve, embarrassingly so. We’re not all in this together, far from it.
I think we’re sending out a team with no fans because we’ve got to, I think most of us would rather not play Dundee Utd at all just yet. But in our precarious position simply not turning up, or forfeiting the match, my preferred option in truth, simply wasn’t viable. We’d have been fined at best, at worst who can say, they make it up as they go along these days.
It’s still too raw for me, I’d be happy if we never played Dundee Utd again. I’m enormously bitter about much of Scottish football now and I didn’t used to be.
I’m aware of the irony, you point it out very well.
I’ve always thought that on some level part of the attraction of being a football fan is the empowerment it bestows. Most of us have little or no power in our lives yet on a Saturday we get to run our judgement over young, talented sportsmen, over rich businessmen and nominated officials and we can air it loudly. We get to become part of a larger group, our voice is heard, literally, we feel we can influence the match, we can inspire, we can criticise, we can insult and we can ignore. It isn’t the only reason we go, far from it, but at some level it’s an attraction.
As supporters we were ignored, mocked, humiliated and castigated last year. We were shown to be powerless in the end. So tomorrow we get to say ‘we’re still angry about it’ and we get to say it in the only way open to us. There hasn’t been a militant streak in the Rangers support since Jock Wallace’s second stint, and even then that was reserved for our directors and players.
If choosing to send as many away supporters to Tannadice as Utd normally send to Ibrox is the only expression of anger the support make I think Scottish football has got off pretty easily.
It is far more a demonstration against the hypocrisy and double standards shown by the SFA/SPL towards our club during our dark times. Steven Thomson, the DUFC Chairman, sat on the SPL board – the same board who, along with their SFA counterparts attempted to do “confidential” back door deals to save the Rangers pound for their own clubs whilst at the same time being seen to punish Rangers for the misdeeds of Craig Whyte.
Boycotting the SFA’s flagship competition is a perfect way to highlight the SFA/SPL cosy cabal’s self interest. Let us not forget the SFA, backed by the SPL, tried to bully the SFL clubs into putting Rangers into SFL1, which was an appalling abuse of power.
If the fans of other clubs could look beyond the internecine nature of Scottish football, they might actually support the boycott. But then again, the Earth may be flat.
Well, Ian Black was, at Tannadice today, the embodiment of everything you're feeling. Anger, resentment and a desire to "fuck someone, anyone".
We got turned over and ended the game with 9 men but Black is taking applause and smiling away because, well, because he really showed them. The result was as secondary to him as an expression of how huffy he was feeling. And his huff mattered more than our pride - and certainly far, far more than something as insignificant as a football match.
I take no consolation from the "events" of last summer - I took consolation from the attention it was given by other fans who actually seemed more angry than we should have been.
Agree with you on our impotence. Personally, I felt over the last 12 or 13 years that the desire to be angry with everything and a misdirected campaigning bitterness amongst the Rangers support would inevitably, somehow, lead the club to annihilation. I bleated on and on about it on a blog of mine (sometimes on WSC) whenever I saw instances of it but it made no difference to what happened to our club - but perhaps it has allowed me to feel I knew exactly where and when to direct my anger, and what is most worth getting angry about.
To think beating Motherwell in September was proof that Rangers are back would mean you've forgotten what we were. I know you haven't. I'm saying beating United at Tannadice - or even just showing uo with a massive supoort and giving it large - would have been enough for me and, of course, that's no what I truly meant either. I mean it's all part of an on-going journey back to winning on a par commensurate with the size of our support. Winning major domestic trophies regularly again.
If beating Motherwell was catharis enough for you (it'll take being champions of Scotland again for me)then I don't see why that wasn't enough of a "get it up ye" to the rest of Scottish football which I, frankly, wouldn't give the credit of being able to register on my annoyance radar in comparison to the heartbreak of the summer.
And things like Scottish football "got off pretty easily" are where we absolutely go our seperate ways on this one: what would you deem an appropriate expression of your anger?
Today we at least had the consolation of knowing we won't have to play Celtic in a season for the first time in over a century. I would obviously never have wanted it to happen in this way but, as much as I love beating Celtic, a whole year without the toxicity and non-football, plastic cause nonsense their more angry supporters bring to the table is a blessed relief.
I'm so gutted that with this Tannadice boycott
we've managed to produce just such an atmosphere without any need for an old Firm fixture. If you like the empowerment you get from attending football matches then I just don't understand how you could think NOT going helps.
There has been absolutely no shortage of militant action at Ibrox over the last decade - it has, however, been misdirected and much of it has come from a desire simply to BE militant. I always get suspicious - and depressed - when the game itself becomes secondary.
Such stands need to be taken in life. Yes. But football is not real life - that's the beauty of it - and, in my whole time loving Rangers, the consolation after any on-field defeat has been that we as a fan base at least don't change the subject. We, at least, aren't like so many of our rival Scottish football fans who would rather kill football than lose at it. Today was a black mark against that article of faith. I really hope it has been enough to satisfy you, AMMS - and all those who feel the same.
Win games, win trophies - dare to enjoy it for what it is. that's all we've EVER had to do to put the boot into everyone else. As Ian Black demonstrated today, when your main aim is to ACTUALLY put the boot in, your opponent wins.
Please call me Alex and - no - sorry - you're missing the point of what I'm saying and I'm quite happy to put that down to my poor writing skills.
If we ARE happy to be in SFL3 (and we are. As you say, most if us indeed voted for it) then wny the hell should we care what everyone else in the SPL was up to? It's as relevant as what was going on in SFL3 boardrooms while we were winning our last three titles under Walter.
D'ye get me? Yes, there's duplicity, hypocrisy and all sorts of double-dealing going on around whether or not the newco should be voted in last summer but it doesn't take a boycott of today's game to expose that - it was common knowledge.
Furthermore, as you and AMMS have been quite rightly alluding to, the likes of Steven Thompson WANTED Rangers in the SPL. Lawell was especially noticeable by his silence as he walked the line between "Our pound" and his usual modus operandi of rabble rousing the Celtic pound like the best act at cirque du soleil. These chairmen WANTED Rangers newco in the SPL and DIDN'T GET US in the SPl - they've ALREADY been shafted by us AND lost so much faith with their own fans. They're, frankly, beneath us and have been dealt with.
We WANTED to be in SFL3 and we ARE. So where's the beef? Why's there a boycott? Why did we send our team out at Tannadice, against a team which hasn't won there since August, into a party atmosphere which our boycott stance created??
Massive own goal, mate. Sorry. We looked like a tired First Division team at worst today. Usually that would have been enough to beat this United side. The desire we created amongst the United crowd and players and the burden we placed on our own players' shoulders was as much the difference as Jackie MacNamara taking over mid-week.
Well, that's what i'll be telling my bookie anyway ...
Yeah, I know what you took consolation from, I can read, I didn’t, I took the opposite from it.
Perhaps your old blog has given you insights and perspective the rest of us can only aspire too. Or perhaps you are just wrong this time.
We’re miles away from winning domestic trophies, you know this too if you’ve seen us play this season and I’m fairly certain you have. It will take several seasons for us to even compete and 50,000 of us turning up in Dundee won’t change that.
“What would I deem an appropriate expression of my anger?” I’m not sure if you’re expecting I’ll go off on a rant here, threatening violence and destruction on old Scotia, you know, fit whatever stereotype I’m in now. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it. By ‘got off pretty easily’ I mean that we could have left Scotland altogether. We could have decided to boycott every away match, we could have boycotted Sky and ESPN, we could have taken the SFA to court and fucked everyone in the eyes of UEFA. As it is Dundee Utd got a bigger than normal home crowd, yeah Scottish football got off pretty easily.
The game’s been secondary for 12 months now, not just today. We’ve had no militancy, we’re the most supplicant support imaginable, 20 guys with a banner once every five years is not militancy in my book.
I’m satisfied Dundee United didn’t directly profit from me today, I’m satisfied that others will understand that this is still very raw for many of us and all this talk of ‘put it behind us’ and ‘look forward not back’ is cheap bullshit peddled by people who wish they’d never lifted the lid of Pandora’s Box. Tough, of the evils of the world have now escaped and can’t be put back in.
Real life led me to give up my season ticket, not Craig Whyte, HMRC or Dundee Utd. I’m aware where football fits in the grand scheme of things, hence the reason I’m ‘discussing’ it with you, on a football website, rather than emailing my MP or writing a blog under the pretence of saving Scottish football.
Don’t conflate our abject performance today with anything other than not currently being very good. It’s not analogous, I don’t know who my opponent even is in all this, all I know is I didn’t want to give Dundee Utd any of my money today and lots of other people, totally independently of me, felt the same way. Carve that up anyway you want and write me off as just another bitter wanker all you want.
You’re one of the best writers on Rangers there is. You are thoughtful, independent, forceful and rarely interested in currying favour or popularity, a great counterweight to most of what’s produced in the various echo chambers out there. I just happen to think you are entirely wrong this time.
IT WAS possible to believe that every last Rangers fan had actually respected the boycott of Tannadice yesterday.
So little was heard of the 422 who did show, these refusal-refusniks might have well have watched on the box. How they will have wished they hadn’t gone anywhere near Dundee yesterday. Tannadice, blanketed in tangerine, rocked. More than that, it mocked. Mercilessly. The home supporters staged a monster mockathon, the like of which they haven’t treated themselves to since Dundee were last in their firing line for the funnies.
The United faithful, buoyed by the appointment of Jackie McNamara as manager, were set up for their day to give the reincarnated Rangers a roasting by the 15-second lead they never looked like surrendering. They started doing so even before kick-off with a chorus of “who the f****** hell are you”, which segued into “you’re not Rangers anymore”. Harsh, but on the basis of the anaemic nature of what the Ibrox club subsequently produced, correct to a point.
There was little let-up as the 422 Rangers support sat motionless, impassive. United fans taunted them by “doing the bouncy”, telling them they were only here to see their club, and generally giving it to them tight. And just when it looked like they were beginning to bore of the baiting, a second goal gave them new impetus, with Ally asked the score and a stinging “you’ve never won f*** all”.
Refreshed by the half-time, they spent the second period singing the Cranberries’ Zombie on an interminable loop. Other refrains made the repertoire, some of them even – gasp – nothing to do with Rangers. In response, just before many of them cleared off after United added a third, the small, and hardiest band of follow-followers managed to raise a strangulated cry in support of Rangers. That it soon died a death said, well, all too much."
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