James Tavernier and Marvin Bartley have shared experiences of abuse and explained how much the support of Scottish fans has meant to them in the fight against racism.
In a conversation with Sky Sports, the Rangers and Livingston captains said fan support for players taking the knee in defiance against racist abuse in the game is “the most important applause these people will ever make in their lives”.
Tavernier shared how racist abuse in social media left him “infuriated” but that he often chose to “forget about it” rather than directly confront people.
Describing seeing racist abuse on his phone, he said: “The first think that caught my eye was the monkey emoji. So I clicked on it.
“It was just basically someone getting at me for the colour of my skin and saying how bad of a player I am.”
He continued: “I was sat with the coach heading back to the training grounds and I didn’t show it to anybody.
“It was one of those moments where I was just so infuriated.
“It was burning inside us because I never replied back to that person, I wanted to but I don’t know if I would have been able to control what I said.
“Best thing for me was just to put my phone to one side and just forget about it.”
Before the start of the season, Tavernier penned a letter to Rangers fans asking for their support.
In a message to supporters, Tavernier spoke of his continued desire to eradicate racism and has called on the Rangers support to unite as he looked to remove any doubts over what their stance was.
Speaking to Rangers TV, he said: “We cannot forget that we must use this opportunity to create as much positivity and unity within our famous ground.”
In the Sky interview, Bartley told how he had “sleepless nights” in the run up to the first match with fans again against Rangers at Ibrox.
The captain and assistant manager said: “The only time I had seen players taking the knee was down in England.
“A few clubs down there had booed it and then at the Euros even more fans were booing it
“It was very difficult for me to sit at home and watch that.”
He continued: “Leading into that game, and I could have been playing anywhere, but it was the first game of the season and the first one back with fans and I was extremely nervous – probably a couple of sleepless nights if I’m honest.
“When I went down to take the knee and I heard people applauding that’s the most important applause these people will ever make in their lives.
“I don’t care what else they applaud for whether it’s when their children are getting married, winning the league whatever it might be, that was the most important one that I think those people will ever make and they will never understand just how much that meant to us as players but also us as black men.”
The full conversation between Tavernier and Bartley can be seen before the Rangers match against St Mirren on Sunday.Internet Explorer Channel Network