Sporting events in Scotland are to take place in front of severely reduced crowds from Boxing Day as the country attempts to slow the spread of the omicron variant.
Scottish football’s busy schedule of festive fixtures, including the Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers on January 2, will go ahead but there will only be 500 supporters in attendance at each game.
The new restrictions are to last for a minimum of three weeks. The Scottish Premiership starts a two-week winter break after the Edinburgh derby on January 3.
Rugby’s 1872 Cup matches between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh will also be affected, along with other large-scale events
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to announce the new measures along with other plans to help curb the spread of the virus.
The three midweek Scottish Premiership fixtures will go ahead in front of full crowds before restrictions take effect.
Scottish football clubs have tightened their Covid protocols in response to the rising numbers, with the Joint Response Group confirming on Monday that the increased social distancing and changed travel rules had been rolled out to the rest of the league clubs after being earlier adopted by the Premiership sides.
Sporting events across Scotland were suspended in March 2020 during the first wave of Covid, with football teams only returning to training three months later. The SPFL clubs voted to call their competitions early and award titles and decide promotion and relegation on a points per game basis.
Competition resumed in August 2020 but fans didn’t return to grounds initially, with only a small number on a trial basis before the end of the year. Full crowds did not return until August 2021.