The Scottish Government made it clear last week that they were unhappy with the scenes in Glasgow and had said that they would take a decision on the derby closer to the game.
The clubs held talks with government and the police to discuss messaging and an approach to the high-profile fixture. Both clubs then issued messages to fans urging them to stay at home and observe all the current restriction rules.
Astonishingly, the relevant authorities have ducked the issue. They have been persuaded that it is safe for the match to go ahead at Celtic Park and the sides will now meet for the third time this season.
It will cost a fortune from the public purse to police the event.
Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins – “stay home, because if you don’t stay home and you don’t heed the warnings of the police then potentially you could be arrested.”
Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said a “significant policing operation” will be in place for the match and urged supporters to behave in a responsible manner, a message that will largely be ignored by hundreds if not thousands of fans.
And in West Dunbartonshire, which has the worst domestic violence figures in the country, women will be taking refuge from their violent partners until the situation calms down.
ACC Higgins told STV News: “We’ve been really pleased with the way both clubs have embraced everything that both ourselves and the Scottish Government have asked of them.
“The club captains, the club managers have put out really strong messaging. The club websites have again reiterated the message which is please stay at home.
“The match is on the television, there is absolutely no need for you to come to either Celtic Park, George Square or Ibrox stadium.
“So my message is really, really clear – stay home, because if you don’t stay home and you don’t heed the warnings of the police then potentially you could be arrested.
“What we don’t want is the terrible, terrible disease to flare up again and compromise the route map. It’s not fair for you to act in a selfish manner and for your own self-purpose come out and compromise the potential of the restrictions being lifted.
“We’ve been really encouraged by the reaction we’ve got from the fans groups. I think the message has landed and I’ll be really, really disappointed if we see on Sunday the scenes that we saw a couple of weeks ago. I’ll be really disappointed but be assured we will deal with it.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf – “Police Scotland have confirmed there will be a significant police presence in Glasgow to maintain public safety.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said there had been “extensive engagement” between ministers and officials, both clubs, the SPFL, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council ahead of the Celtic v Rangers game at Celtic Park.
He said: “Celtic and Rangers have strongly emphasised to their supporters throughout this week that they must stay at home and not gather. I welcome their positive and constructive approach to working with us to ensure the game can safely take place behind closed doors.
“I urge the fans to listen to the messages from their clubs, the police and Government to stay at home.
“I also encourage Celtic and Rangers – and all other clubs in Scotland – to continue to urge their supporters to stay home during games until they are permitted to return.
“With a number of high-profile games scheduled for the remainder of the season, it is important there is no complacency and pressure is maintained to ensure we continue to suppress the virus.”
Having already secured the Premiership title, Rangers are aiming to go the entire league season without defeat, while Celtic will hope to provide a bright spot in a disappointing and embarrassing season by beating their fierce rivals.