Crowd limits set to be lifted by Scottish Government - starting with Celtic v Hibs, Six Nations boost

Scottish sport is set to receive a huge boost with the Scottish Government planning to lift crowd limits on large outdoor sporting events.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to update MSPs at Holyrood this afternoon regarding Covid restrictions in the country following an increase of positive cases over the festive period due to the Omicron variant.

It has been reported that she will confirm the lifting of restrictions on large outdoor events which has seen sporting crowds limited to just 500 due to the latest Covid data showing an encouraging trend.

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The lifting of the outdoor restrictions is expected to come into effect from Monday, January 17, which coincides with the return of the Scottish Premiership.

Hearts v Ross County was played behind closed doors on Boxing Day after the Tynecastle club decided against allowing 500 spectators in following the crowd restrictions introduced by the Scottish Government (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The top-flight clubs took the decision to bring the winter break forward due to the capacity limits in the hope that when they returned two of the rescheduled fixture dates would be played in front of crowds which weren’t capped.

Next midweek will see all 12 cinch Premiership clubs return to action ahead of the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, which means just one round of matches were played in front of a restricted crowd.

It will also be a decision welcomed by Scottish Rugby with Scotland hosting England in the Six Nations on February 5.

Speaking on Monday, Sturgeon noted the impact of the protective measures put in place at the end of 2021 and spoke of the country learning to live with the coronavirus which could include face coverings for a longer period of time.

Scottish Premiership's Boxing Day fixtures were played in front of restricted crowds. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“We are still in a very challenging situation with Omicron as many, many countries across the world are,” she told STV. “That challenge is particularly acute for the National Health Service.

“But I would say that, but for the protective measures we introduced before Christmas and but for the very responsible behaviour of the public, I think we would be in an even more challenging situation right now.

“Some of our projections pre-Christmas have not quite come to pass because we’ve managed to mitigate to some extent what the Omicron wave would otherwise have presented for us.”

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