Rangers vice-chairman John Bennett has expressed his pride in the tens of thousands of supporters who followed their team to Seville and “wowed” the Spanish police and authorities.
Police confirmed on Thursday that no Rangers supporters were arrested in Seville after estimating that 100,000 were making their way to the Andalusian capital.
Six Germans were arrested ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final, most of them for being allegedly part of a large gang of Eintracht Frankfurt fans who went looking for clashes with Rangers supporters.
Some footage emerged of Frankfurt fans attacking Gers fans outside a bar with chairs and bottles thrown but the build-up, the final itself and the aftermath were overwhelmingly peaceful with far more reports of rival supporters mingling.
Rangers’ previous two European final appearances were marred by violence and the club enlisted popular former players and managers such as Graeme Souness, Ally McCoist, Richard Gough, John Greig and Ian Durrant to plead with fans to behave in Spain.
The supporters have now won major praise for their behaviour before and after Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out defeat.
Bennett told broadcast journalists: “Our fans have come here and they have wowed people. They have wowed people who have known the club, and wowed people who don’t know the club, perhaps more importantly.
“We have had feedback from the police, such good feedback from the police, the local authorities of this city and at La Cartuja, the stadium, and they have all said one thing, ‘wow’. Overwhelmed and overwhelmingly positive by our fans’ atmosphere, our fans’ behaviour and this is for the fans.
“Everybody naturally thinks this oven of heat combined with your drinking beer and whatever, which football fans throughout the world do of course, and of course people look and say, ‘is that a cocktail for something that might go wrong?’
“Boy oh boy. Our fans brought a cocktail of colour, of noise, of positivity.
“I just want to thank them. I respect them so much. They have carried this club over the last 10 years on their backs and their shoulders. I am so proud of them.”
Disappointed fans have been returning to Scotland since the early hours of Thursday but they have the prospect of the Scottish Cup final to lift their spirits, with their team facing Hearts at Hampden on Saturday.
Bennett said: “What I would say to our fans right now: it hurts, yes it hurts, it stings, but this European journey comes to an end and the great journey of Glasgow Rangers Football Club continues, and it continues this weekend when we chase silverware.”
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