SPFL chief warns Old Firm fans not to gather or travel south

Neil Doncaster urges Celtic and Rangers supporters not to congregate in houses and pubs to watch Saturday's match.

SPFL chief warns Old Firm fans not to gather or travel south Getty ImagesGetty Images

Rangers and Celtic supporters have been warned not to gather in groups or travel south of the border to watch this weekend’s Old Firm match.

Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), said such gatherings posed potentially significant health risks.

He was speaking a day after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged fans not to travel to Blackpool to watch Saturday’s clash, which takes place at Celtic Park at 12.30pm.

Doncaster urged supporters not to congregate in houses to watch the match, saying that would put “themselves and their loved ones at significantly increased risk”.

He said: “Fans should also be aware that travelling from the Central Belt health board areas covered by current additional measures – Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire & Arran – to other areas in Scotland to watch games in licensed premises is a clear breach of the guidelines.

“Likewise, we echo the message from police forces in England that attempting to circumvent Scottish rules by travelling south of the border to watch matches in pubs would be completely irresponsible and could result in significant fines.

“With such a high-profile round of fixtures ahead, the eyes of the world will be on Scottish football, offering a fantastic opportunity to showcase what makes our game so compelling and exciting.”

Sturgeon said on Wednesday at least 180 Scots who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last month reported a recent trip to Blackpool.

She said: “Blackpool is a place that many Scots love and like to visit, particularly at this time of year,” she told the briefing.

“Many of us have happy childhood memories of going to see the Blackpool illuminations.”

But the FM warned: “If you were thinking about going to Blackpool and haven’t booked yet then please do not go this year.

“Even more specifically, because we know this is an issue and I want to be very clear about this, do not travel to Blackpool this weekend to watch the Old Firm match in a pub.”

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