VIDEO: Controversial ex-Blackpool FC striker's 'machine gun' celebration angers fans

Nile Ranger celebrates scoring his side's third as Southend beat Fleetwood 4-2
Nile Ranger celebrates scoring his side's third as Southend beat Fleetwood 4-2

Former Blackpool FC striker Nile Ranger marked his return to the Fylde coast with a controversial machine gun-style goal celebration seemingly aimed at Fleetwood Town supporters.

The ex-Blackpool FC player - who was just last month released from jail after being convicted of fraud - scored his side's third goal as Southend won 4-2 at Fleetwood.

Ranger, who found himself in hot water during a spell at Newcastle United in 2011 when he was photographed posing with a replica gun, celebrated by taking off his right boot and taking aim towards the home fans.

Using it as a mock weapon, he appeared to mime shooting into the stand, much to the anger of the crowd and many on social media, although his manager said the was 'nothing untoward' in the gesture.

Ranger himself tweeted after the game about the incident, writing: "To put things straight, I wasn't shooting the crowd. I just have a lot of ammunition in the boots this season."

The Southend striker, 26, was playing in just his fourth game of the season, having had his electronic tag removed on Friday.

He fired home from the penalty spot in the 45th minute of the match at Highbury after he was ruled to have been felled by Nathan Pond in the box.

But it was his elaborate celebration afterwards that angered the home faithful with a machine gun-style gesture similar to Robbie Keane's famous goal celebration.

The removal of his electronic tag and the lifting of a 7pm curfew following a 10-week stint in jail for online fraud allowed Ranger to make his return to the Fylde coast for the Saturday's League One clash.

Southend manager Phil Brown said after the match: "I believe it is something - 'there is fire in my boots, fire in my belly or bullets in my boots' or whatever. It is nothing untoward.

"It was obviously something he has been thinking about because he had a lot of time on his hands. I'm just delighted for the lad for scoring a goal and being on the winning team."

Twitter user Baz Hay described Ranger's actions as a 'disgrace', adding: "I wonder how the FA police these lower leagues? Nile Ranger simulating gunning down the Fleetwood fans with his footy boot."

Martin Crane added: "Ranger's celebration was disgusting."

Ranger played for Blackpool from 2014 to 2016, making 14 appearances.