Rangers, Celtic reject taking a knee ahead of Old Firm derby

Rangers and Celtic did not take a knee ahead of the Old Firm derby on Sunday, following allegations of racism against midfielder Glen Kamara during Thursday’s Europa League defeat against Slavia Prague.

UEFA said on Friday it was investigating incidents in Rangers’ clash with Slavia Prague after Kamara complained of being racially abused by a visiting player.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard confirmed their stance in a prematch interview.

“We won’t take the knee,” he said. “I spoke to both my captains [on Saturday] and they’ve made a collective decision that they’re going to stand and they’re going to stand together side by side and we’ll support that and follow suit as a staff as well.

“I wasn’t aware of the chat that the players have had among themselves but [James Tavernier and Connor Goldson] have come to see me [on Saturday] and I totally understand the decision that they’ve made and I totally back it 100% and we’ll do the same as a staff to show them support.”

Celtic interim manager John Kennedy added: “We spoke to Rangers and agreed we won’t do it. It’s probably lost it’s impact so we will hopefully send out a much stronger message if we stand together.

“Racism and any sort of hate in society but also in football is disgraceful. We want to give any support we can.”

On Saturday, Dundee United and Motherwell also opted against taking a knee. Motherwell said it had become an “empty gesture” in the fight against racism.

Kamara was furious after Slavia Prague centre-back Ondrej Kudela leaned into his ear and said something while covering his mouth, sparking a melee in the final stages of their round-of-16 tie.

Slavia Prague denied the allegations and said in a statement Kudela had been assaulted by Kamara after the game. The defender said his remarks to the Finnish midfielder, who is Black, had not been racist.

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