Police chiefs have warned “many more arrests will follow” after Rangers supporters battled each other and threw missiles at officers as they celebrated their team’s first premiership trophy in a decade.
At least three officers were injured – one suffering a serious face wound – while trying to marshal ranks of unruly fans in Glasgow city centre on Saturday evening, and more than 20 people have been arrested so far.
Thousands defied Covid-19 warnings against large gatherings and massed in George Square to celebrate Rangers winning their first Scottish Premiership championship since 2011, setting off fireworks and flares and drinking in the street.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the “disgraceful scenes” and sectarian chanting among the crowd, adding: “To say I’m utterly disgusted by the Rangers fans who rampaged through the city would be an understatement.”
Footage on social media showed packs of flag-draped fans attacking each other, and launching traffic cones, plastic bollards and other missiles at lines of riot gear-clad police officers.
Images showed George Square strewn with hundreds of broken bottles, plastic bags and spent flares after crowds were moved out of the area at around 9pm.
An accident and emergency department source told the PA news agency one man came into hospital “missing half his hand” after a firework he was holding blew up.
Police Scotland described some fans’ behaviour as “disgraceful”.
Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, the divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said in a statement: “Our officers became the focus of the crowd’s attention with missiles and flares being thrown at them.
“Although most of those present dispersed, a number remained and confronted officers with violence and aggression.
“Missiles were thrown and officers came under direct attack as George Square and the surrounding area was cleared.”
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said on Twitter that “many more arrests will follow in the coming weeks”.
Ms Sturgeon said on Twitter: “In normal times, the violence & vandalism, and the vile anti Catholic prejudice that was on display, would have been utterly unacceptable. But mid-pandemic, in a city with cases on the rise, it was also selfish beyond belief.
“People across the country still living under the most difficult restrictions – not able to see family or attend weddings and funerals – are rightly furious at the irresponsible actions of a thuggish minority who seem to care little for the risks they pose to other people.”
Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said on Sunday it was “disgraceful” that officers were subject to “the kind of thuggery we saw last night”.
He tweeted: “Incidents of violence, disorder, anti-Catholic & any other hatred will be followed up.”
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Rangers defeated Aberdeen 4-0 at Ibrox before collecting the Scottish Premiership silverware. Fans had been warned against gathering to celebrate due to rising Covid-19 cases in Glasgow.
However, thousands of supporters outside Ibrox were cheering and chanting as the Rangers players arrived for the 12.30pm kick-off, before marching into the heart of the city after the game.
On Friday night, scores of Rangers fans lit red flares simultaneously along the River Clyde in the city as they marked the end of the season.