Football: Findlay resigns over sectarian row

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THE RANGERS vice-chairman, Donald Findlay, has resigned following allegations that he sang sectarian songs at an end-of-season party in Glasgow.

The Daily Record yesterday published photographs of Findlay, one of Scotland's leading lawyers, apparently standing on a stage and singing what the paper described as anti-Celtic anthems. Both Old Firm clubs have been attempting to defuse religious tension with Celtic launching their "Bhoys Against Bigotry" campaign. Findlay's alleged actions would appear to have made his position with the Ibrox club untenable.

The allegations have soured Rangers' celebrations after they achieved a Scottish domestic treble in the first full season of their manager, Dick Advocaat. They completed that treble with a 1-0 Scottish Cup final win over Celtic at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Findlay has acted in some of Scotland's most high-profile criminal cases. In 1996 he represented Jason Campbell, who was gaoled for life for slashing the throat of a young Celtic fan. And last year he represented Thomas Longstaff, 26, who was gaoled for 10 years for attacking another Celtic supporter.

Gerry Madden, the secretary of the Glasgow Celtic Supporters' Club, said Findlay had let down his club and had no option but to resign. "In the light of what has happened I don't think he had any choice but to resign," Madden said. "Both Celtic and Rangers are doing all they can to eradicate sectarianism and bigotry from football. I feel sorry for David Murray [the Rangers chairman], who is doing his best to get rid of it. I don't think Mr Findlay had any other option but to resign after this came to light."

The Rangers Supporters' Association said Findlay had done the "honourable" thing by resigning.

Rangers issued a statement confirming that Murray had accepted Findlay's offer of resignation, tendered in a letter which read: "In our private meeting we discussed the article which appears in the Daily Record.

"I indicated to you that I felt it would be appropriate for me to resign from the Board and I hereby tender my resignation.

"The events of Saturday night were a serious misjudgement on my part. It was a private function to celebrate a successful season.

"It is disappointing that someone attending should have felt it necessary to go to the press. However, even at such a function, my conduct was not acceptable and I ought to have realised this.

"I regret any harm done to the club I care about deeply. I apologise unreservedly for the offence caused to anyone. I will continue to be the Rangers supporter I am.

"I wish you and Rangers every success and hope my resignation may begin to repair the damage done."