POLICING bosses were ‘blind-sided’ to the potential for violence at a Rangers football match which resulted in two people being stabbed, it has been claimed.

Police Scotland have defended their decision to class the game between Rangers and Osijek of Croatia as not ‘high risk’ after a mass brawl broke out close to Ibrox stadium.

A leading spokesman for football supporters said the authority failed to take into account the reputation of fans in their policing strategy.

Supporters Direct Scotland chief Paul Goodwin said that the authority had been ‘blind sided’ due to the size of Croatian team - who were accompanied to Glasgow by their own police.

He said: “On the surface, it is a small country and a relatively unknown team without a reputation for this kind of thing.

“But as soon as you mention the likes of Croatia, in the past there has been issues with their fans, which police would be aware of.

“Football Supporters Europe is aware that in those kind of countries, there is a different standard of policing and fans have experienced issues.

“In the Eastern block countries there is still an element of violence linked into the political nature of it.

“There’s always a criminal element who want to associate themselves with the game.”

The Croatian supporters were not escorted by police to the stadium due to their low numbers and, as a result, were able to engage in violence on a busy Govan street.

Officers from surrounding areas were called in to help deal with the incident which involved between 40 and 60 individuals on Edminston Drive, close to Ibroxholm Avenue.

Area Commander Chief Inspector Alan Bowater said there was ‘no intelligence’ to suggest that extra policing would be necessary ahead of the game between Rangers and Osijek.

He added: “Every game that has taken place has an appropriate policing presence surrounding it. That is in regards to intelligence. What you will see from the footage is that police officers were very quickly on the scene and dealt with the matter and dispersed the disorder.

“There is always a category addressed to policing surrounding clubs that are involved and this one was policed appropriately given that it was not a high category game.

“It usual that large support from visiting European clubs are escorted from the city centre to the stadium, however, there were far fewer fans that usually anticipated, which is why it was lower graded and they were not escorted.”

Investigators are now trawling through CCTV to piece together how the violence erupted.

Footage shared on social media showed dozens of supporters engaging in violence and setting off flares on residential streets.

Two Croatian nationals - a man aged 24 and another aged 40 - were rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment to stab wounds following the clash.

The 24-year-old man was released from hospital on Friday morning and it was expected the 40-year-old would be released in the hours following.

Both victims are believed to have been attacked in the same location, although it is unknown if the same perpetrator was involved.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Willison described the incident as ‘disgraceful’ and warned those involved to expect to be held accountable.

He added: “I’m working on the basis that it was between Croatian fans and Scottish fans.

“During the disturbance two males were injured and taken to hospital.

“This was a disgraceful incident. Police Scotland will not tolerate this behaviour and a major part of the investigation will involve CCTV capture and review.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time to come forward including those with mobile phone footage or dash cam footage.

“There was people in the area not associated with the match that could have become embroiled and there was fans going to enjoy the game which they too could have become embroiled.

“To the people who were involved, be aware that we will identify you and we will be coming to chap your door.

“Thankfully the issues we experienced on Thursday night are uncommon - it was unprecedented, but I would reassure the public that the incident will be reviewed and it will considered in any further planning for events.”

The disturbance was the second to take place within a week involving Rangers fans.

Two men were assaulted during a large-scale street battle close to Central Station.

The drama unfolded following the Rangers v Wigan match at Ibrox.

Investigators are not treating to two incidents as related and say there is nothing to suggest an increase in football related violence.

Area Commander Chief Inspector Bowater added: “There is nothing to suggest that these incidents are alike and nothing to suggest an increase in organised violence in football.

“Every football match is policed appropriately and with the resources we believe will be necessary for the safety.

“Police Scotland will not tolerate such behaviour and those responsible will be identified and brought to justice.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland commented: “There was no intelligence to suggest any disorder would occur at this game and the police planning and preparation reflected that.”