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Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Wednesday, 15 September 2010 17:49 UK

Rangers fans' behaviour praised by police and clubs

Rangers fans were held at Wigan's DW Stadium
Ranger fans were held at Wigan before being escorted to Manchester

Greater Manchester Police and Wigan FC have joined Rangers in praising the club's fans for their behaviour in Tuesday's Champions League match.

Police arranged for travelling fans to gather at Wigan's DW Stadium before being escorted to Old Trafford to watch Rangers play Manchester United.

Chief executive Martin Bain said: "Our fans knew there was a lot at stake and their response was tremendous.

"I would like to thank all the fans who travelled and made the trip enjoyable."

Rangers had about 3,800 supporters in Manchester for their goalless tie with United.

Police did not wish to risk a repeat of the trouble in Manchester two years ago at the Uefa Cup final and had set up a holding area for fans in nearby Wigan to prevent fans congregating in Manchester's city centre.

But, prior to the match, some Rangers fans felt the precautions were too extreme, with one describing the operation as being "herded like cattle".

However, Bain praised the fans for creating "a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere at the DW Stadium" and for their support inside Old Trafford.

"We have had really positive feedback from the Greater Manchester Police, the DW Stadium and retailers around Wigan's ground," he said.

"I would like to thank Greater Manchester Police and Strathclyde Police, who worked very closely with us to ensure that our supporters' visit to Manchester was a success.

The supporters had a great rapport with the stewards at the stadium and made the most of the facilities on offer around the ground

Ray Johnston, safety officer at The DW Stadium

"Going to Wigan did cause a degree of inconvenience for fans, but they really responded well and worked with us through the supporters' groups.

"They made the best of going to Wigan and enjoyed the facilities that were laid on for them."

Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable Ian Hopkins, whose force had laid on an extra 250 officers, said the plan had "worked well", adding: "The night has shown the fans in a really good light.

"The supporters responded positively and many of them complimented GMP and the clubs on the handling of the operation.

"Given the limited number of arrests for fairly minor offences, it reiterates the fact that most acted responsibly and are genuine fans.

"Clearly, people heeded our advice not to travel without tickets and, as a result, Manchester city centre was very quiet - one of the aims of our operation."

Ray Johnston, the safety office at the DW Stadium, said: "The Rangers fans were absolutely tremendous.

"The supporters had a great rapport with the stewards at the stadium and made the most of the facilities on offer around the ground.

"Rangers fans are welcome here any time in the future, because we had a superb reaction from those who travelled."

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see also
Smith defends Gers' Euro tactics
14 Sep 10 |  Rangers
Naismith happy at Rangers' point
15 Sep 10 |  Rangers
Rangers fans criticise security
15 Sep 10 |  Manchester

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