Police warn fans not to gather ahead of Scottish Cup Final

St Johnstone are set to take on Hibernian at an empty Hampden Park on Saturday behind closed doors.

Police warn fans not to gather ahead of Scottish Cup Final SNS Group

Police have warned football fans not to gather ahead of the Scottish Cup Final this weekend.

St Johnstone are set to take on Hibernian at an empty Hampden Park on Saturday after plans to allow a small crowd were shelved due to ongoing level three coronavirus restrictions.

Assistant chief constable Alan Speirs said preparations for policing any gatherings in relation to the match are well under way.

The warning comes a week after Rangers fans’ title celebrations caused disorder in Glasgow city centre.

Assistant chief constable Speirs said: “The Scottish Cup Final on Saturday is an important day for everyone involved with St Johnstone and Hibernian football clubs and we will have an appropriate policing plan in place to maintain public safety.

“It is vitally important that both sets of fans avoid gathering in large groups and stick to the regulations in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“I also want to take this opportunity to remind people that the use of pyrotechnics is extremely dangerous. We have seen from events in recent weeks that the consequences of their use can be severe, you might not just injure yourself using them, but you could also seriously injure those in your vicinity.

“Police Scotland is already working with both teams and our partners, including the Scottish Government, to ensure the match goes ahead safely and supporters follow the restrictions for their own safety and that of the wider public and our officers.

“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but officers will not hesitate to use enforcement powers as a last resort.”

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final, Nicola Sturgeon also urged fans not to gather in big groups to watch the game, either in pubs or in people’s homes.

“That is still against public health rules and is not safe in the current situation we face,” she said.

Sturgeon also urged supporters of the winning team that “no-one should be congregating anywhere in large numbers at the moment”.

But overall she said she “continued to hope and indeed expect” that over the summer restrictions could continue to be eased, taking Scotland “back to a much greater degree of normality”.

Sturgeon said more detailed work setting out what could happen would be published in the coming weeks.

“We still have really good and really strong grounds for optimism,” she added.

Five police officers were injured and dozens of people arrested after massive crowds of Rangers fans had to be dispersed from George Square in Glasgow last weekend.

The thousands of football supporters were celebrating their team’s Scottish Premiership triumph with many gathering outside Ibrox and then marching through the city on Saturday before scenes turned “ugly”.

Officers dealing with the event said it was the worst violence they had dealt with in 20 years, according to the Scottish Police Federation.

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