Celtic v Rangers: Final decision on derby will take place ‘early next week’

Some fans gathered outside Ibrox to celebrate Rangers' title win
Fans gathered outside Ibrox to celebrate Rangers’ title win.

By Democrat reporter

BBC Scotland is reporting that a final decision over whether the Old Firm match on 21 March will go ahead will take place “early next week”, says the justice secretary.

Thousands of Rangers fans broke Covid guidelines to celebrate their team’s Scottish Premiership title win.

Humza Yousaf is meeting Celtic, Rangers, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council on Friday.

And he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland that public health “simply cannot and will not” be risked.He pointed to Scottish government intervention forcing the postponement of Premiership matches in August after regulation breaches by players.

“If government cannot get assurance that we won’t see a repeat of such scenes, then every option will be considered and that would include deferring the game,” he said.

“We have quite a wide variety of powers under the coronavirus legislation because it is in the interests of public health. Previously we have had the ability to stop matches being played.

“If there is intelligence to suggest there would be public disorder and that large numbers of groups of fans may gather, we cannot risk it.

“We simply cannot and will not risk people’s health at this critical juncture, just when we’re at the very cusp of easing some restrictions.”

Celtic have “already taken steps to enhance security and protection of our property at Celtic Park” and the club say they will continue to advise supporters to observe the current guidelines.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Nine on Thursday, Yousaf accepted “there is only so much – in fairness to the clubs – they can do”, but said he would “ask them to do as much as they can”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that the government “cannot simply turn a blind eye” to the fans’ breach of lockdown.

The government and Police Scotland were critical of Rangers’ response, but the club said the comments were “disappointing” and that they had engaged with the authorities in the run up to their title win.

Ms Sturgeon said that discussions were taking place to make sure the scenes were not repeated, and is due to report back to parliament before the derby in 10 days’ time.

“I’m a football fan and I enjoy a Celtic v Rangers match as much as the next person,” Yousaf told The Nine.

“But let’s be really clear here, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. We have a strain of the virus that is far more transmissible than the previous variant.

“People have missed weddings, funerals, have not seen their family, parents, grandparents in care homes.

“I will not be unfair, I will ask the football clubs to very clearly put out messaging from the respective m

One comment

  1. Looks like Humza is desperate to shift the blame from last weeks political policing decision to instruct a Police not to intervene in dispersing crowds forming across the city.

    Police in George Square could have nipped the mass gathering in the bud when there were only a few hundred in the square. But instead of dispersing them early doors they stood back.

    And ditto the street parties from Larkhall to Dumbarton and in between,

    And now Surgeon, Swinney, Humza and the Police blame Rangers, and by implication Celtic too.

    Ah well, the it ” wisnae me “ continues!

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