Legia Warsaw fans unfurl massive banner of Pope John Paul II ahead of clash with Rangers at Ibrox

Legia Warsaw fans unfurl massive banner of Pope John Paul II, stop play with huge pyrotechnic display and are roared on in the crowd by ex- Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc at Rangers

  • The Legia Warsaw fans managed to bring in gigantic banner before the game  
  • Pope John Paul II’s image was used to provoke the Rangers fans at Ibrox  
  • It comes after Rangers were hit with second UEFA charge for sectarian chants
  • As a result, the club were forced to close off 3,000 seats at their home ground 
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Legia Warsaw supporters brought a gigantic banner of Pope John Paul II to their side’s Europa League play-off clash with Rangers. 

The provocative image was displayed ahead of kick-off and underneath it was the message: ‘Be not afraid.’

Plenty of supporters from the travelling Polish side filed into Ibrox early and they crammed into their section before unfurling the banner.

Legia Warsaw supporters unfurled a massive banner of Pope John Paul II at Ibrox

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Legia Warsaw supporters unfurled a massive banner of Pope John Paul II at Ibrox

The travelling supporters made their presence known and brought the provocative banner

The travelling supporters made their presence known and brought the provocative banner

The travelling supporters made their presence known and brought the provocative banner

The Legia Warsaw fans also set off flares in unison and disrupted the match

The Legia Warsaw fans also set off flares in unison and disrupted the match

The Legia Warsaw fans also set off flares in unison and disrupted the match 

Play was brought to a halt as there was too much smoke on the pitch to see

Play was brought to a halt as there was too much smoke on the pitch to see

Play was brought to a halt as there was too much smoke on the pitch to see 

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John Paul II, who died in 2005, was Polish and held the papal office from 1978. 

His image was used by the visiting fans to wind up Rangers supporters and tensions were already high.

A total of 3000 seats were left empty at Ibrox after the Gers’ were charged with sectarian singing for a second time by UEFA, relating to last week’s 0-0 draw in Warsaw.  

Rangers called for inclusivity and an end to discrimination on the big screen inside Ibrox

Rangers called for inclusivity and an end to discrimination on the big screen inside Ibrox

Rangers called for inclusivity and an end to discrimination on the big screen inside Ibrox

There were 3000 empty seats after UEFA's second charge for sectarian chanting
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There were 3000 empty seats after UEFA's second charge for sectarian chanting

There were 3000 empty seats after UEFA’s second charge for sectarian chanting 

The visitors provided a red hot atmosphere but were ultimately disappointed

The visitors provided a red hot atmosphere but were ultimately disappointed

The visitors provided a red hot atmosphere but were ultimately disappointed 

The referee had to wait until the smoke began to clear before play could restart

The referee had to wait until the smoke began to clear before play could restart

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The referee had to wait until the smoke began to clear before play could restart

The charge prompted Rangers to announce that they will refuse tickets for their next European away game. 

Legia’s banner was presented underneath a statement from the hosts on the big screen calling for inclusivity and an end to discrimination. 

It read: ‘Rangers football club recently launched its ground-breaking diversity and inclusion campaign ‘everyone anyone’ and wishes to remind every supporter that there is no place in Ibrox Stadium for discriminatory behaviour.’

On a row of the empty seats there was also a UEFA ‘equal game’ advert but the banner from the visiting supporters flew in the face of those messages. 

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During the game itself, there was a stoppage after Ibrox was covered in smoke following a pyrotechnic flurry from flares set off in the away section. 

The away end looked like it was on fire as the flares were set off in the second leg

The away end looked like it was on fire as the flares were set off in the second leg

The away end looked like it was on fire as the flares were set off in the second leg

Boruc (centre middle) was in the thick of the action and cheered his side on throughout

Boruc (centre middle) was in the thick of the action and cheered his side on throughout

Boruc (centre middle) was in the thick of the action and cheered his side on throughout

The referee halted proceedings and even television cameras temporarily lost sight of the pitch. 

Eventually after the smoke cleared the play resumed. This was a night with as many story-lines off the pitch as on it and there was a familiar face in the away end as former Celtic goalkeeper cheered on Legia, who he played for between 1999 and 2005. 

The stopper was seen with a microphone in hand, leading the chants for the visitors. 

But Boruc was left disappointed as Alfredo Morelos scored in the first minute of stoppage time to snatch a 1-0 victory on aggregate and ensure Rangers’ progression to the Europa League.  

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