Rangers, Manchester City and Chelsea had asked to play the anthem ahead of their games on Wednesday night, but European football’s governing body turned them down, according to Sky.
Before kick-off at Ibrox, however, an impeccably observed minute of silence was followed by a rousing rendition of ‘God save the king‘ among the 50,000 fans crammed into the ground.
Fans at the Broomloan Road stand also held up cards to create a large mosaic of the Queen’s profile against the background of the Union Flag above a banner reading “1926 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022”.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was honored at Ibrox tonight with a minute’s silence, a show created by the Union Bears and a rendition of the national anthem,” reads the club’s official website.
Rangers defy UEFA and pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II by playing our national anthem. Challenge. Pride. Dignity.… https://t.co/3nTgdocOVC
— Jamie Bryson (@JamieBrysonCPNI) 1663183525000
Rangers lost 3-0 to Napoli to suffer their second straight loss in the group.
The British flag and loyalty to the monarch are central to Rangers’ traditional identity as a Unionist club.
Their city rivals Celtic are closely identified with the Irish Republican movement and banners mocking Elizabeth and the monarchy were displayed by fans during their Champions League game in Warsaw.
UEFA said in a statement to Sky Sports News that no anthems were being played in order to maintain a “cohesive pre-match ceremony with a subdued atmosphere and no celebratory activity at all UK venues to show respect like we did last Thursday”.
A minute’s silence was also observed ahead of games at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and the City of Manchester Stadium with banners honoring the late monarch also displayed at those grounds.
Britain is in the midst of a period of mourning for Elizabeth, who reigned for seven decades until her death last Thursday and will be buried on Monday.