Celtic v Rangers and Hibs v Hearts postponement talks after Scottish Government set 500 crowd limit

Scottish football clubs are locked in talks over the prospect of bringing forward the planned winter shutdown following Nicola Sturgeon's announcement on crowd sizes.

Scottish football clubs are locked in talks following the Scottish Government announcement on crowd restrictions. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Scottish football clubs are locked in talks following the Scottish Government announcement on crowd restrictions. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

In her Covid briefing to Holyrood on Tuesday, the First Minister confirmed that for a period of three weeks, from and including Boxing Day, all matches in Scotland will be restricted to just 500 spectators in a bid to help curb the spread of Omicron.

The ramifications are to be discussed by the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group, with discussions set to centre around the possible postponement of fixtures ahead of the scheduled two-week winter break in January.

Such a move would require the agreement of the Scottish Premiership clubs as well as broadcaster Sky Sports, who hold the rights to show matches over the festive period.

The affected fixtures include the Old Firm match between Celtic and Rangers on January 2 and the Edinburgh derby between Hibs and Hearts on January 3, both of which will now be "effectively spectator-free", Sturgeon confirmed.

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Hibs, who are due to host Aberdeen on Wednesday night before the new restrictions come into force, have said they are awaiting guidance from the JRG and asked fans not to contact the club over the fixture schedule in the meantime.

A club statement read: “Hibernian FC will update supporters regarding our fixtures against Dundee United, Celtic and Hearts in due course.

“This has come after the Scottish Government announced that football will be played behind-closed-doors for an initial period of up to three weeks, starting on December 26.

“The club is now waiting for guidance from the SPFL and the JRG regarding fixtures during that period.

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“Once Hibernian FC has that guidance, then supporters will be informed immediately via the club’s various channels. In the meantime, please do not contact the Ticket Office.

“Hibernian FC appreciates that there is a lot of uncertainty following the Scottish Government’s announcement but asks supporters to remain patient as the club finds out further details.”

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