Scottish football and beyond commemorates Ibrox Disaster with tributes, 50 years on
Scottish football has paid tribute to the 66 supporters who lost their lives in the Ibrox Disaster, on the 50th anniversary.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Rangers were unable to fulfil the club’s annual service and remembrance event prior to this afternoon’s match with Celtic.
However the club paid a poignant tribute in an online video commemorating the 66 supporters who died on Stairway 13 leaving a match against Celtic in 1971.
Rangers played with a printed message on each shirt, which read: “Always Remembered, 2nd January, 1971”.
Tributes were also paid from across the Scottish football spectrum and beyond, with players past and present and clubs sending messages and retweeting messages. A minute’s silence was observed before the Old Firm match, which Rangers won 1-0, while many fans’ tributes were left outside at the memorial to the disaster at the south-east corner of the ground.
Junior club St Anthony’s, based nearby in Govan, paid tribute: “The club today remembers the 66 Rangers fans who died in the #ibroxdisaster 50 years ago today. No fan should go to a game and not come home. Rest in Peace.”
English champions Liverpool said: “Our thoughts are with those who lost their lives and everyone affected by the Ibrox Disaster 50 years ago today. #AlwaysRemembered."
FIFA and the Scottish Football Association also marked the anniversary with commemorative social media posts.
Former Rangers player Graham Roberts said: “Thinking of the 66 today. Come on Rangers FC.”
Chris Sutton wrote: “50 years ago today 66 fans went to watch a game of football at Ibrox and never returned home. Thinking of them and their families today.”
Another former Rangers player Alex Rae wrote: “Gone but never forgotten. Forever in our hearts.”
Pre-match, Sky Sports and talksport presenter Jim White, formerly of STV wrote: "As kick off approaches in today’s New Year match between @RangersFC and @CelticFC, time to remember the 66 who lost their lives in the Ibrox disaster, exactly 50 years ago.”
Celtic remembered the victims in a website tribute article from Dr Joseph M Bradley earlier this week which read: “The last thing people expect to see when a loved one departs for a football match is that they never return. The pain and suffering of those that died, those who survived, and the many family and friends connected to all concerned, was, and for many still is, profound.
“On January 2nd, 2021, all connected to Rangers, Celtic, and Scottish football and society, should pause to recall this terrible tragedy of 50 years ago, and to remember its victims with the dignity they deserve.”
The club’s chairman Iain Bankier laid a wreath at the memorial this morning, while captain Calum McGregor led out the sides carrying a memorial wreath to the centre spot.
Neil Lennon also reflected on the events : “I was at Ibrox a few years ago to lay a wreath, it was one of the most poignant moments I’ve had in my time here. It’ll never be forgotten. Going to a match and not coming back, I can’t think of anything worse.”
A banner was also hung outside Celtic Park on New Year’s Day, which read: “Ibrox Disaster 1971 – We remember and pray for the victims and their families”.