Glasgow & West Scotland

Croatian football fans stabbed before Rangers game

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Media captionViolent clashes broke out near Ibrox stadium

Two Croatian football fans were stabbed during violence before Rangers played Osijek in Glasgow.

Up to 60 people were involved in the trouble in Govan, near Ibrox Stadium, before the Europa League game.

The male victims, aged 24 and 40, were taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The 24-year-old has been released while the other awaits tests.

Officers were called to Edmiston Drive, at its junction with Paisley Road West, just after 19:00 on Thursday.

Both men were stabbed across from the Ibroxholm Oval tower block but detectives have yet to establish if one or more suspects were responsible.

Police are also still trying to determine which group started the violence.

Flares were let off during the clashes and eyewitnesses said bottles and rocks were also launched.

Image copyright Marianne Chirray

One video posted online shows a man being kicked and punched by two men as he lay on the ground.

Officers are trawling private and public space CCTV in a bid to map the movements of the suspects, many of whom wore dark hooded tops to conceal their identities.

The force appealed for witnesses or anyone with mobile phone or dash cam footage of the clashes to contact them.

'Reckless behaviour'

Ch Insp Alan Bowater said: "Supporters of both sides should be able to attend a football match without getting caught up in violence and disorder. Also, innocent members of the public should not have to be faced with the threat of encountering it.

"The individuals involved must be tracked down and held to account and Police Scotland will use every resource at its disposal to put a stop to this reckless behaviour.

"I would like to reassure members of the public that we take their safety extremely seriously and sufficient resources will be deployed at future games to tackle anti-social behaviour and violence."

Ch Insp Bowater, the area commander, defended the policing operation and said the match was not graded as a high category and there was no intelligence to suggest there would be any trouble.

He added: "What you will see from that footage last night was that police officers were very quickly on the scene and dealt with the matter."

Det Chief Inp Craig Willison said between 40 and 60 people were involved in the violence, which he described as "unprecedented".

He also said there was nothing to suggest the clash was pre-arranged.

Det Chief Inp Willison added: "The people who were involved in this disturbance last night should be aware that we will identify you and we will be coming to chap your door."

Police said they were not aware of any trouble during last week's first leg match in Croatia.

The force also confirmed it is reviewing other "minor incidents" connected to Thursday's match.

Rangers progressed to the next round after the match ended 1-1 to give Steven Gerrard's side a 2-1 win on aggregate.

Last weekend a mass brawl broke out near Glasgow Central Station after a pre-season friendly between Rangers and Wigan.

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