Murray condemns Rangers trouble-makers

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The Independent Football

Sir David Murray has urged Rangers supporters to pull together in their fight against sectarianism.

The Rangers chairman - addressing shareholders at today's annual general meeting at Ibrox - criticised the small minority of fans who still bring shame upon the club, highlighting what he describes as "bile" which continues to appear on fans' websites.

But Murray insisted there had been a vast improvement in combating the problem in recent years - and vowed that Rangers would not become the whipping boys of Scottish football where sectarianism is concerned.

"I've repeatedly said that Scotland's shame is not sectarianism - it's drugs and obesity," said Murray.

"We have people involved with this club who put bile - that's the word for it - on websites every day. All we are doing is playing into the hands of the media.

"In the 20 years I've been at this club, there has been a vast, vast improvement on the behaviour of sectarianism at the club.

"Then we don't help ourselves by giving people stuff on a daily basis.

"But all the problems with Scottish sectarianism should not be just put at the feet of Rangers Football Club.

"I intend to take that up with the First Minister [Alex Salmond] again when I see him in the next week."

When it was put to the chairman by one shareholder that the club does not do enough to defend its own fans, Murray added: "Let me say something quite controversial today, I don't think within our club we help ourselves.

"We give our head on a salver sometimes.

"Some of these websites ... (chief executive) Martin Bain and I get phone-calls every day about rumours, sales, this and that. Half of our problems I believe are self-inflicted.

"Yes, you can argue that we don't defend ourselves but we have supporters - even on the day of the UEFA Cup final - criticising the management and players.

"Some people who are supposedly supporters need to have a hard look at themselves. Not all of our supporters are pulling in the right direction and they give the media it on a plate."

"We do defend ourselves," added chief executive Bain.

"But sometimes it is difficult to defend yourself when internally people undermine us and hand our critics a big stick to batter us with.

"I ask you as shareholders and supporters to do your bit to shout down some of the people who are so-called Rangers people who undermine us and give sticks to our critics to beat us with."

Rangers - currently locked on the same number of points as Celtic at the summit of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League - are determined to ensure their rivals do not triumph in the championship race for a fourth successive season.

And Murray added: "It's so important to win the trophy back but we will win it slightly easier if we stick together. If we are divided people will pick us off.

"Don't buy the papers, don't listen to it, stick together and get behind the team.

"And, I tell you what, what a wonderful feeling it will be if we possibly can win the championship again.

"Let's pull together and let's enjoy our success together."

Meanwhile, Murray reiterated his commitment to Rangers despite plans to eventually sell the club.

"I think it's a bit unfair to say I've not been committed, I spend four or five hours a day working on Rangers," he said.

"I have made it quite clear that eventually I have to go, I don't want to be doing this for the rest of my life.

"I've got a huge business to run and my business needs me as much as Rangers need me.

"I could have sold the club two or three times but it's not about money for me and I've said that repeatedly.

"Please trust me, I won't sell you short. I've only got the best intentions for Rangers.

"It costs me a lot of money - I have the most expensive seat in the house!"