JOHN Swinney has said the silence from Rangers was "deafening" as supporters flouted coronavirus restrictions and vandalised Glasgow city centre.

The Deputy First Minister, speaking at the Scottish Government's daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh, said the club should have done more to make clear to fans that mass celebrations should have been discouraged throughout the weekend.

Swinney said: “I think it would have been the duty of Rangers to say clearly and simply to fans that they shouldn’t have come out to celebrate and when they did they should have gone home.

“The silence from Rangers was deafening – that’s a matter of profound regret.

“If the club, on a day which I acknowledge is a day of joy for the club, had said to its fans to follow restrictions which are in place – like every other citizen – and had gone home and avoided the crowded scenes that we had outside Ibrox and in George Square.

“The messaging of that type from the club I think could have helped to diffuse the situation and crucially to disperse the crowds.

“But it didn’t happen and that is one of the deep elements of concern that the Government has about the conduct of Rangers.”

Scotland's chief medical officer Gregor Smith said that the mass gatherings over the weekend "sows a seed of doubt" about the possibility of relaxing coronavirus restrictions as the impact will not be felt for up to three weeks.

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Smith said: "From a personal perspective I can say it was quite demoralising to see so many people coming together in some of the scenes that we saw yesterday. I'm quite sure my colleagues across the NHS who at this stage of the pandemic are pretty exhausted in terms of their own response to it, felt that same way when they saw scenes of people mixing without distancing or masks.

"I think that there is a very real risk that we will see an uptick in infections as a result of some of the scenes that we saw over the weekend."

Police Scotland have said that 28 people were arrested over the weekend and a further seven have been issued with fixed penalty notices.

Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said: “Despite the coronavirus regulations and the prohibition of gatherings, our officers were faced with a very difficult set of circumstances as many thousands of supporters gathered to celebrate across a number of different venues.

“Our priority was public safety and this included reducing the risk of disorder, road safety and effective crowd management among the complexities of a vociferous crowd. This included established crowd control measures to prevent serious disorder in multiple areas and protect the public.

“An appropriate policing response was in place throughout the day and officers continually engaged and encouraged compliance with coronavirus regulations.”

Rangers released a statement on what happened with fans over the weekend saying they had "proactively engaged" with the local MP, the Justice Minister, the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the SPFL in advance of the possibility of the club securing the title.

The statement said the club "understand the jubilance" of supporters, but read: "Nevertheless, it has been of great frustration for all football fans across the world that they have not been able to watch their team within stadiums, especially for the loyal Rangers season-ticket holders who have stood by this football club through thick and thin in the last decade.

"We reiterate the message from our manager, Steven Gerrard, who highlighted that fans should adhere to government guidelines – stay safe, socially distance and look after each other in this difficult time.

"We are aware there is the possibility of more, significant milestones within this season, and we will continue to proactively engage with key stakeholders to maintain a cohesive message in relation to government guidance at this present time.

"We look forward to further open dialogue with the government, police, SPFL and other key stakeholders."