Celtic v Hibs cup final fears allayed after Nicola Sturgeon Omicron briefing

The Premier Sports Cup final between Celtic and Hibs is still expected to go ahead as planned after Nicola Sturgeon's announcement on new Covid measures in Scotland stopped short of reintroducing restrictions on crowd sizes, for now.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gives a coronavirus update at the Scottish Parliament on December 14, 2021 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gives a coronavirus update at the Scottish Parliament on December 14, 2021 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The spread of the Omicron variant had led to fears that the Scottish Government could look to reimpose the limits on attendances that had seen clubs play behind closed doors or in front of reduced capacities for much of the past 18 months.

The First Minister told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday that her government would be asking businesses to step up protections against transmission of the virus. Guidance will be issued this week making clear what that would mean for different sectors.

However, with no mention made of limiting spectator numbers, as things stand there will be a full capacity crowd permitted at Hampden Park on Sunday.

The final is expected to draw an attendance of more than 50,000 people and advice issued by national clinical director Jason Leitch last week is for all fans to conduct a lateral flow test prior to attending.

A number of full houses are expected at matches over the festive period, with big derby fixtures including Celtic v Rangers on January 2 and Hibs v Hearts on January 3 set for sell-out crowds at Parkhead and Easter Road respectively.

Scottish clubs suffered significant financial losses last season due to playing behind closed doors, but after a phased return of spectators at the start of the current campaign, full capacity numbers have been welcomed back since August.

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