Rangers and Celtic players opt not to take the knee before kick-off

Both Rangers and Celtic players choose NOT to take the knee before Old Firm kick-off and instead STAND after shocking racial abuse of Glen Kamara this week… with Gers insisting ‘standing will send a bigger message that we need action’

  • Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara was subject of alleged racist abuse this week 
  • Kamara says he was called a ‘f****** monkey’ by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela 
  • Steven Gerrard confirmed that the team would not take the knee this lunchtime
  • Players and staff on both sides stood against racial abuse before the Old Firm 
  • LIVE – Celtic vs Rangers: Gerrard’s side looking for third derby win this season

Both Rangers and Celtic players stood in solidarity against racial abuse before kick-off in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday. 

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara was subject of alleged racist abuse in the ill-tempered Europa League tie against Slavia Prague on Thursday, with the incident currently under a UEFA investigation, while forward Kemar Roofe was also targeted with alleged racist abuse on social media.  

Ahead of kick-off at Celtic Park, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard confirmed that the newly-crowned champions would not be take the knee and would instead be standing ‘side-by-side’, and their opponents Celtic also followed suit in a powerful message. 

Rangers captain James Tavernier insisted pre-match that standing ‘would send a bigger message that we need action.’  

Rangers and Celtic players stood in solidarity against racial abuse instead of taking the knee

The powerful message comes after Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara (R) was subject to alleged racial abuse on Thursday 

UEFA are investigating after Kamara (right) claimed he was called ‘a f****** monkey’ by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela (left) on Thursday, who has denied the allegations

‘The message isn’t strong enough. We believe standing up will send a bigger message that we need action,’ Tavernier told Sky Sports

‘All our black players have received racial abuse this season. That’s from social media platforms. This a clear message to them as well. We’ve had enough of it.’

Gerrard confirmed what would occur before kick-off: ‘We won’t take the knee.

‘I spoke to both me captains yesterday and they’ve made a collective decision that they’re going to stand. They’re going to stand together, side-by-side, and we’ll support that and follow suit as staff too.

Rangers staff, substitutes and boss Steven Gerrard (far-right) stand in solidarity pre kick-off

‘I wasn’t aware of the chat that the players had amongst themselves but James and Connor have come to see me yesterday and I totally understand the decision they’ve made.  

‘I totally back it 100 per cent, and we’ll do the same as a staff.’

Kamara, who claimed he was called a f****** monkey by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela on Thursday at Ibrox, was named in Gerrard’s starting XI on Sunday.   

Kudela refuted the allegations and has since countered saying he was punched by Kamara in the tunnel after the game. 

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara was the subject of alleged racial abuse on Thursday evening 

The Rangers player was furious after Kudela was seen whispering something to him

‘I know the boy [Kamara] very well,’ Gerrard added. ‘I know the character and he’s desperate to play today. What a place to play football. 

‘So I didn’t have to have the chat but obviously just to check on his welfare and how he was feeling, of course I did that as well. He’s totally fine and looking forward to the game.’ 

There have been calls to kick Slavia out of the Europa League after a number of the Czech club’s fans held up a vile banner calling Kamara a ‘n*****’ following the incident on Thursday. 

Eleven of the Czech club’s supporters posed with a long banner that reads ‘Kamara – just a n*****’ while holding flares to light it up.

Slavia Prague ultras hold up a vile banner calling Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara a ‘n*****’

Another image posted on the same Instagram account shows the group holding another banner that read: ‘Slavia Praha against all #TeamKudela.’ 

The banner, which was posted to social media on Friday night, was condemned by the Slavia Prague chairman, Jaroslav Tvrdik, who labelled it as ‘disgusting’ and ‘pathetic’.

In a statement released through his lawyer on Friday night, Kamara made his feelings clear.

‘There is no place for racism or any form of bigotry in football,’ he said. 

‘Since (the) summer, many of us have taken the knee in solidarity with those who have lost their lives to racial violence. If UEFA genuinely wants to ‘show racism the red card’, then it’s time to stop the tokenism and take a zero-tolerance approach.

Kamara has called on UEFA to take serious action and go beyond tokenism in tackling racism

Gerrard confronted Slavia Prague’s coaching staff about the incident after the match at Ibrox

‘As a player, I do not expect myself, nor any other to have to tolerate racial hatred on or off the pitch in 2021. The vile racist abuse by Ondrej Kedel (sic) took place on the international stage, and any failure to act by UEFA will be viewed as a greenlight for racism.

‘During yesterday’s (Thursday’s) match with Slavia Prague, Kedel (sic) was arguing with a Rangers player and after I tried to intervene, he told me to shut up and then said ‘one second my friend’.

‘He then came over to me covering his mouth, leaning into my ear, he uttered the words – ‘You’re a f***ing monkey, you know you are’.

‘I was shocked and horrified to hear such racist abuse from a professional football player. Kedel’s (sic) claim he simply swore at me and said ‘You’re a f***ing guy’ is a complete utter lie which does not stand up to any form of scrutiny.’ 

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