GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) Rangers said its players were assaulted on the Hampden Park field by Hibernian fans after the Edinburgh team won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years on Saturday.
Officials at the Glasgow stadium initiated crisis procedures, and the Scottish Football Association opened an investigation into the “contemptible behavior,” and said it was “appalled by the scenes of disorder.”
Thousands of Hibernian fans streamed on to the field at the final whistle just after David Gray’s goal in stoppage time secured a 3-2 win. Players from Glasgow club Rangers appeared to be goaded by Hibernian supporters as they tried to leave the pitch.
Police horses were brought on to restore order as police and stewards struggled to cope. As Hibs fans returned to the stands, part of the field was ripped up and the goal posts were broken by people climbing on them.
Rangers expressed shock at the “disgraceful behavior” by Hibernian fans while praising its supporters for showing restraint “under severe provocation.” The Rangers squad was unable to return to the field to receive their runners-up medals.
“Rangers players and staff were assaulted by these fans who invaded the pitch and in the interests of their safety could not return to the pitch for the medal presentation,” a club statement said. “There can be no place for the violent behavior witnessed at the end of the final.”
Rangers called on the Scottish FA and police to investigate “where security measures failed,” and the governing body immediately responded to that request.
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“What should have been an historic, memorable Scottish Cup final will now, sadly, be remembered for all the wrong reasons,” Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan said.
“The Scottish FA, along with Police Scotland and the stadium management have initiated a full investigation into the scenes that unfolded to understand how such a volume of supporters were able to enter the field,” Regan added in a statement.
Britain’s Press Association said police horses were last needed to restore order at the Scottish Cup final at the 1980 game between Celtic and Rangers.