RANGERS were today urged to hammer the yobs who shamed the Ibrox club by singing sectarian songs – by hitting them with lifetime bans.
The Glasgow club has publicly condemned a section of their own support for foul chanting during the game with Berwick Rangers on Saturday. And Gers manager Ally McCoist admitted after his side's 3-1 victory that the fans responsible had "let themselves and the club down".
Strathclyde Police will this week study video footage that was taken of the terraces at Shielfield Park in an attempt to identify the offenders.
John Macmillan, general secretary of the Rangers Supporters' Association, has called for the club to mete out severe punishments if the culprits can be singled out.
He said: "I am 100% confident that if individuals can be identified – and I hope they can be – they will be banned from the club. I know that this season one or two already have been banned for similar offences.
"Of course, identifying individuals is easier said than done. But the club has got to take that course of action in this instance if they can be.
"I thought we were starting to get over this nonsense. What happened in Berwick was very, very disappointing. That behaviour can't be condoned in any way whatsoever.
"The club can't just say: 'This is just a blip'. They have to send out a stern warning that this will not be tolerated, that there will be very serious repercussions if it happens."
Macmillan, who watched the game on television at home, praised Rangers officials for acting swiftly when it became clear what songs were being sung.
He said: "The bad language was clearly coming over. Derek Rae (the ESPN commentator) apologised at least three times for the words that were being picked up by the microphones.
"I was glad to hear a quick response was made by the club. By all accounts, David Martin, the security and safety officer, went over and spoke to them. I was very pleased to hear that. Also, a statement was put out."
Macmillan has called for Rangers fans to play their part in the ongoing fight against sectarianism by reporting anyone guilty of offensive chanting.
He continued: "This does happen at Ibrox. I have been at a number of meetings with David Martin. He can go to these people and speak to certain individuals within these groups. But, unfortunately, the message just doesn't seem to get through to some.
"I think we as supporters have a duty to report fans sitting around them who sing these songs."