Ex SFA chief Gordon Smith has admitted it feels pointless asking fans to show respect for the Royal family ahead of today’s Scotland v Ireland clash at Hampden. Loud boos rang out round the stadium on Wednesday night during a minute’s applause for the Queen, who was patron of the Scottish Football Association, before the 3-0 Nation’s League win over Ukraine.
It came months after the Tartan Army and Irish supporters were filmed singing “f*** the Jubilee” as the UK celebrated the late monarch’s 70th year on the throne ahead of the reverse fixture in Dublin in June. Now former SFA chief executive Smith has begged fans to show decorum in and around the ground. He also pleaded with supporters upset by chanting not to react.
His intervention comes after matches in Scotland and Ireland have seen chants mocking the Queen’s death since she passed away earlier this month. She was laid to rest last Monday and her family’s mourning lasts six days. Smith said he was “expecting” more anti-Royal family slogans in Glasgow this afternoon.
He said: “You can ask all you like for people to act in a proper manner but to expect it is probably meaningless because it’s not going to happen. There will be people within both sets of fans who are completely anti-establishment and anti-royalist, there’s no doubt about it.
“I’m expecting chants, so I’m not going to be shocked by it. You don’t get angry by it, that’s what these people think, that’s their viewpoint, and that’s what they’re expressing.” The ex Kilmarnock and Rangers player added: “To those who are annoyed, don’t have a reaction to it because then that’s probably what people are looking for.
“Don’t get involved and don’t react, that’s the best way to deal with it.” Ex First Minister Henry McLeish also pleaded with fans to show respect. The former Scottish Labour leader, hired by the SFA to investigate the state of football in Scotland in 2010, said: “It’s sad and disappointing that some fans are behaving in that way.
“Let’s not forget that the vast majority of Scottish fans are powerful supporters of their team. The team’s doing well and that should be encouraged. My message to those that want to bring other issues to the game is this – football is a fantastic game and the image can be really spoiled by the behaviour of a few.
“This is not about people’s views on the monarchy, or people’s views on Ireland. This is a game of football and I really think it damages the reputation of football and Scotland. Bad behaviour and insulting behaviour shouldn’t come in any way to spoil the game.
“I would appeal to people to stick with the football and keep their concerns about other matters off the pitch and out of the stadiums. That would be the best encouragement for Scotland. Football’s a worldwide game, there’s people looking in on this, there are nations looking in on this and we want to be proud of our country and proud of our football team.
“The worst way to do that would be to have this disrespectful voicing of opinions where actually they’re not required and may do enormous damage to us. This is the last time, when Scotland is climbing up the international league table of countries, to have this kind of behaviour.” The SFA and the Football Association of Ireland were contacted for comment.
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