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champions elect WATCH: Rangers on the brink of the title as Steven Gerrard defends controversial celebrations

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Rangers fans celebrate outside the ground after their win in the Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren at Ibrox: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Rangers fans celebrate outside the ground after their win in the Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren at Ibrox: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Rangers fans celebrate outside the ground after their win in the Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren at Ibrox: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard admitted he could understand the celebrations of the club's fans, as he led his side to the brink of Scottish title glory.

A 3-0 home win against St Mirren means Rangers will be crowned as champions on Sunday if Celtic fail to win at Dundee United, but the sight of thousands of Rangers breaking lockdown rules outside Ibrox to celebrate was condemned by authorities.

Fans were seen crowding around Gerrard's car entering the ground before the game, yet under coronavirus rules, public gatherings are banned and a maximum of two people from two households are allowed to meet outdoors and while Rangers fans had clearly breached those rules, Gerrard insisted he could understand their exuberance.

Those celebrations continued after the game, as Rangers sealed the win that pushed them to within touching distance of ending Celtic's nine-year reign as Scottish champions.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates with fans outside the ground after winning the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow: Robert Perry/PA Wire.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates with fans outside the ground after winning the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow: Robert Perry/PA Wire.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates with fans outside the ground after winning the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow: Robert Perry/PA Wire.

Yet Gerrard was seen popping his head out of the Rangers dressing room window after the game and he admitted the passion of the moment had got the better of some fans.

"It's a big, monumental day for the club, this is probably the most important three points we've delivered," said Gerrard. "I've just walked into a really happy dressing room as you can imagine because we know how close we are.

"I've got to get my words right here – we are still experiencing and are involved in a pandemic. It’s important fans try to stay humble and safe, but it's tough because we're so close.

"It's important the players connected with the fans but also remembered what they had to do.

"Anything inside you or part of your heart can understand what these fans have been through, obviously safety is paramount at the moment but it's tough.

"It's tough because it has been an emotional three years for me and the fans have been through a lot in 10 years.

"This club means so much to them. It's their life and you can understand it when they react like this."

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Rangers fans celebrate outside the ground after they win the Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren at Ibrox: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Rangers fans celebrate outside the ground after they win the Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren at Ibrox: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Rangers fans celebrate outside the ground after they win the Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren at Ibrox: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

A Scottish government spokesman said it was "extremely disappointed" that fans had broken lockdown rules as they stated: "At this crucial stage of suppressing the virus, the actions of this minority of individuals jeopardises the safety of other supporters, the police on duty and the wider community."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously criticised fans for gathering in large numbers.

After Celtic fans took part in a protest outside the club’s stadium in November, she said: "We have advice against gatherings and every day I stand up here and say avoid crowded places.

"We have a limit on people coming together outside… so it stands to reason any group of people that are gathering together in a crowd are putting themselves and others at risk.

"Whether it’s football fans, rugby fans, any other kind of sport fans or just people in general, please don’t do it because right now, in the middle of this pandemic, it is a risky thing to do that puts you and other people at risk."

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