Celtic v Rangers crowd fears discussed as John Swinney admits: 'It's a long way off'

John Swinney has admitted that no assurances can be given that crowd restrictions will be lifted in time for the rescheduled Old Firm fixture at Celtic Park.

John Swinney admits it's too early to say whether crowd restrictions will be lifted in time for the Old Firm fixture on February 2.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
John Swinney admits it's too early to say whether crowd restrictions will be lifted in time for the Old Firm fixture on February 2. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Deputy First Minister insisted it is too early to make a call on whether the 500 limit on spectator numbers will be lifted by the time the Celtic v Rangers clash is staged on February 2.

The New Year showdown was originally due to be played this Sunday but was put back a month after SPFL clubs voted to bring forward their winter shutdown in the wake of the restrictions.

However, after a record 11,000 coronavirus cases were recorded on Boxing Day, amid warnings the wave could peak in late January or early February, there are fears that crowd limits could remain beyond the initial three-week time frame.

Speaking on BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, Swinney stressed he would not "pre-judge" the situation with a formal review due on January 11.

“You can see already in the space of about a week or so we’ve gone from having an average daily case level in Scotland of about just over 5,000 to around about 10,000 over the course of the last few days," he said.

“So people can see with their own eyes the galloping pace at which Omicron is moving through Scotland.”

Asked specifically about the crowd numbers for the Celtic v Rangers fixture, he said: “Well that’s a long way off, the 2nd of February, so we’ll take that as it comes.

“What I would say is that the government doesn’t want to have these restrictions in place a moment longer than they are necessary.”

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.