Steven Gerrard pleads with Rangers fans to stay away from their mammoth Old Firm clash with Celtic as the club prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster
- Ibrox Disaster occurred in 1971 and 66 fans lost their lives in crush at stadium
- Club will pay tribute to those who lost their lives on January 2, 50 years ago
- Steven Gerrard has asked that fans stay away to comply with coronavirus rules
- Grief from families resonates having lost his cousin in Hillsborough disaster
Steven Gerrard has urged Rangers fans to stay away on Saturday as the club marks the 50th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster.
The Covid-19 pandemic means Gers chiefs are planning a scaled-back tribute to remember the 66 fans who lost their lives in a crush on January 2, 1971.
And Gerrard has asked fans not to visit the stadium ahead of Saturday’s Old Firm derby with Celtic.
Steven Gerrard has asked Rangers fans to stay away from the Old Firm game this Saturday
A small memorial will be held prior to Rangers welcoming rivals Celtic to Ibrox for the clash
The Rangers manager said: ‘In a normal situation, we’d have a lot of people around the ground and we’d obviously put a full service on so we could pay our respects that way.
‘But because of Covid-19, things will look slightly different.
‘However, as a club we still want to pay our full respects to everyone involved and to all the names that are no longer with us.
‘It’s a very special day tomorrow, myself and the players are all aware of that – but I would ask all our fans to stay away.
‘I know that’s tough but we also have to pay respect to the situation we’re all in at the moment and stay safe at home.’
Gerrard’s cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley, 10, was the youngest victim of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the former Liverpool captain admitted the grief felt by the families of those who lost their lives at Ibrox resonates strongly with him.
He said: ‘Yeah for sure, there’s certainly a relation from my point of view with my connection to the Hillsborough disaster as well.
‘I certainly know what this disaster means to people and I want to send my full respects to all the families and the survivors. I also want to pay my respects to the people who passed away.
‘It’s a very poignant day tomorrow, the 50th year as well.’
The Ibrox Disaster has left a mark on Rangers and its supporters and the pain still takes hold
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