Police made 28 arrests as Rangers fans celebrated title success

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(Reuters) - Scottish police arrested 28 soccer fans and fined several others following wild celebrations sparked by Rangers' first league title triumph in 10 years, after bitter rivals Celtic were held to a 0-0 draw at Dundee United in the Premiership on Sunday.

Thousands of Rangers fans gathered at the club's stadium, training ground and George Square in Glasgow's city centre in violation of COVID-19 lockdown rules as they celebrated the team's 55th league crown.

Many fans let off flares while some of them were guilty of disorderly conduct, assaulting police officers and "sectarian related breach of the peace", police said.

The gatherings were met with anger by the general public, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying fans risked the country's progress in containing the novel coronavirus and described the scenes as "infuriating and disgraceful."

Greater Glasgow police said in a statement https://www.scotland.police.uk/what-s-happening/news/2021/march/latest-statement-on-arrests-as-football-fans-gathered-in-glasgow on Monday that following a planned policing operation, 28 people were arrested.

Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland added that seven people were issued with fixed penalty notices or will be the subject of a report to a local prosecutor.

"Despite the coronavirus regulations and the prohibition of gatherings, our officers were faced with a very difficult set of circumstances," Sutherland said.

"... Over the course of the day (Sunday) a number of minor injuries were sustained by members of the public, some of which were as a result of intoxication.

"I'm grateful to our officers who showed great commitment and professionalism... many of whom put their own health at risk during a challenging set of circumstances."

Rangers said in a statement https://www.rangers.co.uk/article/club-statement-4/1eY7WhmE2hY1o18GUC9arB that they understood the joy of their fans but urged them to follow protocols.

"We're aware there is the possibility of more, significant milestones within this season," the Scottish Premiership champions said on Monday.

"We look forward to further open dialogue with the government, police, SPFL (Scottish Professional Football League) and other key stakeholders."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris)