Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said an investigation has been launched

Yet again Rangers fans have disgraced themselves and their club. 

On Sunday, prior to the fixture with traditional rivals Celtic, a sizeable group of Rangers fans marched through Glasgow city centre chanting an anti-Irish racist song about the Irish Famine. The song claims that Scots of Irish descent have brought "trouble and shame" on Scotland and demands that they "go home". 

In a court judgement in 2009, a Rangers fan, William Walls, was convicted of breach of the peace, aggravated by religious and racial prejudice, for singing the song and encouraging others to do so at a Rangers match in Kilmarnock in December 2008. He was sentenced to two years' probation and given a football banning order prohibiting him from attending matches and was later banned from Ibrox for life by the club. The court's judgement was very clear, the song is overtly racist and singing it in public constitutes a public order offence.

READ MORE: James Dornan writes to Rangers over 'shameful' fan behaviour

Sadly, here we are almost 13 years later and some Rangers fans still think that it's acceptable to intimidate members of the public in Scotland's largest city with nakedly racist displays of hatred. It would be bad enough if this was an isolated incident, but it is not. This is the third time within the space of a few months that Rangers fans have caused disruption and outrage in the centre of Glasgow.

If this had been a group of independence supporters chanting racist songs about English people, the Scottish media would be full of hand-wringing articles about the deep dark shame that lurks at the heart of the Scottish psyche. There would be an hour-long investigation on BBC1 Scotland.

However, because it's Rangers fans waving British flags, the problem is seen as being caused by "a few bad apples" and not as systemic racism at the heart of British nationalism in Scotland. 

The problem will not be solved until Rangers as a club is forced to take responsibility for the behaviour of its fans. All fans identified as participating should be banned for life from all football matches whether they are criminally convicted or not. Every time that the club's fans commit one of these public order outrages the club should be disqualified from a match for every fan who is arrested and convicted. It should also be legally compelled to pay all policing and clean-up costs. 

It's only when these entitled and pampered man-children are forced to suffer meaningful consequences for their misbehaviour that the rest of us can have peace from them.

This piece comes from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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