Football: Rangers apologise to Aberdeen

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The Independent Online
RANGERS ISSUED a full public apology to Aberdeen last night for labelling a section of the Pittodrie club's support "scum" in last Saturday's Ibrox matchday programme.

Stewart Milne, the Aberdeen chairman, protested to Bob Brannan, the Rangers chief executive, yesterday about the anonymous article which also branded the Dons' team as "under-achievers and money-grabbers".

Rangers made it clear in a statement that they have "issued a full and unreserved apology" to Milne, the club and its supporters - and this was accepted by Aberdeen.

The Rangers statement added that the programme is published on the club's behalf by a third party and the column, entitled "Blue Knows", was approved by the magazine's editor.

However, the club admit they take full responsibility for "all material appearing in its official publications and is therefore in discussion with the publisher to ensure there will be no repeat of the situation."

Brannan said: "The views expressed were not those of Rangers Football Club. Relations between the two clubs are typically excellent and it is therefore regrettable this issue has arisen.

"I have apologised sincerely to Stewart Milne and explained how the situation arose. He has accepted this and I trust this will be the end of the matter."

Milne also expressed the hope that longer-running debates might also now be silenced.

Neil Simpson's career-threatening challenge on Rangers' Ian Durrant at Pittodrie in October 1988, remains a source of conflict, but Milne insists only a minority of supporters still dispute the matter.

"Rangers have apologised unreservedly for the comments, which we accept, and as far as we are concerned, that is the end of the matter," he said.

"Bob has acknowledged that the relevant sections of the programme could certainly have been deemed to be inflammatory.

"If anything positive is to be taken from this unfortunate incident, it has been agreed that both clubs will look at ways in which we could move together for the good of the Scottish Premier League and Scottish football as a whole.

"Whilst there have been incidents in the past involving Rangers and ourselves, both clubs should now be looking towards a future devoid of the nastiness which has appeared from time to time and for which a minority element of fans from both sides have been responsible."

That sentiment was echoed Euan Chisholm, chairman of the Association of Aberdeen Supporters' Clubs, who believes the time has come to meet Rangers fans and ensure the rivalry between the two clubs is restored to a friendly basis.

"Meeting with the main Rangers supporters' groups is now an option for us to put everything into context and emphasise the extremes of opinion are in a minority," he said.