Police warn fans ahead of Hogmanay Old Firm game

The Old Firm match is taking place on Hogmanay for the first time
The Old Firm match is taking place on Hogmanay for the first time
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Police have warned football fans that disorder will be met with the "full force of the law" ahead of the first-ever Hogmanay Old Firm clash.

Rangers take on Celtic at Ibrox on Saturday, the first time the high-profile fixture has ever been played on New Year's Eve.

Police Scotland has been criticised for the scheduling of the game, with the Scottish Police Federation calling the decision "absolutely unbelievable".

The force warned supporters not to attempt to take flares or fireworks into the game and said displays "likely to stir up hate crimes" would not be tolerated.

Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty said: “This is no doubt an exciting weekend for many people, whether it’s to enjoy a day of shopping at the sales, attending a football match or gearing up to celebrate the New Year.

“It does mean that the city will be busier throughout the day and night. Together with our partners, we have robust policing plans in place to account for this with public safety being our priority.”

He added: “Given the time of year, it would be expected that alcohol will play a part in some of the activities but I would urge people to drink responsibly, plan your outing in advance and ensure you stay with friends and family who know where you are. Expect to see more officers in and around stadiums, shopping centres, on approaches to Glasgow and in the city centre itself.

“Much has been said about the Rangers v Celtic match taking place but I envisage that the majority of supporters will come and enjoy the game and leave safely. However, that small minority determined to cause disorder, anti-social or offensive behaviour will be met with the full force of the law.

“Officers will actively tackle those who put the safety of others at risk. Our policing approach is about early intervention, prevention and engagement and people should expect to see more officers proactively targeting the small amount of people intent on drinking to excess or behaving badly."