THE Celtic-supporting deputy leader of Glasgow City Council has denied intervening to prevent a Rangers fan zone going ahead.

David McDonald issued a statement after heavy criticism of Glasgow Life’s decision to stop the club using the Ibrox Football Centre for a fanzone pilot before the match against St Mirren on August 12.

The move, which prevented the grant of a Public Entertainment Licence needed for the event, was down to Ibrox and Cessnock Community Council’s objection to the plan, based on concerns any fanzone would prevent the pitch being used for youth football on Saturdays.

But Labour group leader Frank McAveety last week claimed Mr McDonald and council leader Susan Aitken had put pressure on the licensing committee to block the fan zone.

Read More: Rangers denied fan zone after council pulls permission for venue

It comes as new figures obtained by the Evening Times revealed just 11 youth-only bookings have been made for the Ibrox Football Centre pitch on days when Rangers were playing at home since June last year. 

The statistics, obtained under Freedom of Information act, showed of 26 home matches played between June 29 last year and August 2 this year, the Ibrox Football Centre had bookings on just 14 days.

And the most recent booking made after 1pm on a Saturday match day - the time when the club wants to host the fanzones - since September last year.

Ibrox and Cessnock Community Council said the findings will be circulated to its members, although, it is unclear whether that will result in the organisation’s objections being dropped. 

In an online statement, Mr McDonald said: “I strongly refute any and all allegations of incorrectly influencing a decision based on the football team I happen to support.

“I have never made a council or political decision based on the team I support.

Read More: Rangers fan group’s scathing attack on senior SNP figures for rejecting Ibrox fan zone plans

“Neither I nor the council leader has any issue with the proposed fan zone at the Ibrox Football Complex, and I would welcome fresh efforts by Rangers Football Club to persuade the local community of their plans.”

Mr McDonald also apologised for remarks he made online about a historic ceremony held by Rangers to commemorate the miners who lost their lives in the Holditch Colliery Disaster in the Stoke area.

The club had played for ‘The Loving Cup’ to help raise funds for the affected families but Mr McDonald compared the special ceremony to an "Only an Excuse sketch".

It comes as Rangers fans group, Club 1872, revealed details of a letter they sent to David McDonald.

In it, the group questioned Mr McDonald on his alleged involvement in stopping the fan zone.

The group added: “We have also become aware over the past few days of a number of social media comments by you which call into serious question your impartiality on this matter."

“These range from mocking the Loving Cup ceremony at Ibrox to engaging with sectarian fantasist Phil Macgoillabhain and showing your public support for the Green Brigade.

“You will be aware that the Green Brigade have been responsible for a number of sectarian and pro-IRA displays.

The group added: “It is extremely concerning that as an elected representative you would support these activities, and even more so when you have directly intervened in a decision which negatively impacts Rangers Football Club.”

The row comes just months after the Evening times revealed Glasgow City Council approved the off-market sale of land at Janefield Street in Parkhead to allow Celtic to create a disabled car park and turn its current spaces into a fan zone.