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1971: Sixty-six die in Scottish football disaster

AUDIO : Radio commentary on the aftermath at Ibrox

Sixty-six football supporters have been killed following a match between Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers at the Ibrox Park stadium in Glasgow.

The disaster occurred when crush barriers collapsed as thousands of fans made their way out of the stadium.

Initial reports suggest the tragedy, which happened on stairway 13 of the stadium, was caused when hundreds of Rangers fans began leaving the match early believing Celtic had won.

Jimmy Johnstone had scored for Celtic with just a minute to go, but Colin Stein scored an equalising goal for Rangers during injury time causing a huge roar to erupt inside the stadium.

According to eye-witnesses, fans attempting to get back up the stairs after hearing the roar, collided head-on with those coming down the stairs.


"Everyone was struggling to get out, suffocating - it was essentially a fight for survival "

Rescuers, who were on the scene within minutes, tried to force their way through the crowds, but their efforts were mostly in vain. One man who managed to struggle out of the crush, described the scene.

"I was making my way out of the stadium down the stairs when suddenly everything seemed to stop," he said.

"The lads at the back just kept coming forward down the stairs.

"I went down with the rest of the crowd, being pushed and pulled onto the ground.

"Everyone was struggling to get out, suffocating - it was essentially a fight for survival. After 10 or 15 minutes I was dragged out by a policeman and brought to hospital by ambulance."

Eighteen-year-old Margaret Ferguson was the only female fan to be killed in the tragedy.

Alick Buchanan-Smith, Scottish minister for Home Affairs, has called for an immediate inquiry into the disaster.

In Context
A public inquiry later discounted the initial version of events which suggested fans had been attempting to go back up the stairway.

It is now believed the crush was caused simply by the downward force of so many supporters leaving at the same time.

The momentum of the crowd meant that once people started to fall, there was no way of holding the mass of bodies back.

The disaster remains the worst in the history of Scottish football and is surpassed only by the Hillsborough tragedy in British football.


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