Old Firm: why Celtic vs Rangers could be cancelled by Scottish Government – and what Humza Yousaf said about game

The game on March 21 is at risk of not being played according to the Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has refused to rule out the cancellation of this month’s Old Firm derby.

The threat comes after thousands of Rangers fans broke social distancing rules to celebrate the club’s league title triumph.

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Speaking on March 11 justice secretary Humza Yousaf said that following dialogue with the police the government will “consider whether or not it's wise for the match on 21 March to go ahead.”

Thousands of Rangers fans gathered in Glasgow on March 6 and 7 (Getty Images)

His comments come after Nicola Sturgeon condemned the actions of jubilant fans, stating on Tuesday that Holyrood "cannot simply turn a blind eye".

Here’s the latest on Celtic vs Rangers.

What did Humza Yousaf say?

Yousaf issued an ultimatum to both clubs ahead of the fixture.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Friday he said: "I will take an assessment, and as a government we will take an assessment from the intelligence we receive from Police Scotland, and if there is a serious question or likelihood of disorder or fans gathering then we would have to consider whether or not it's wise for the match on 21 March to go ahead.

"I'm a football fan and I enjoy a Celtic vs Rangers match as much as the next person,"

"I enjoy the passion, and the banter afterwards. But let's be really clear here, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. We have a strain of the virus that is far more transmissible than the previous variant.

"People have missed weddings, funerals, have not seen their family, parents, grandparents in care homes. So we are not going to allow people to gather - and in the case of the game on March 21 - potentially create disorder while the vast majority of citizens obey the rules.

"I will not be unfair, I will ask the football clubs to very clearly put out messaging from the respective managers, their players, their club ambassadors to say very clearly that fans must stay at home."

He added: “there is only so much - in fairness to the clubs - they can do. But I will ask them to do as much as they can.”

Mr Yousaf later tweeted that the game would be postponed if there was any police intelligence saying fans were about to “square off” against each other.

What did the first minister say earlier this week?

On Tuesday, the First Minister told Holyrood told MSPs she shared the “anger” over the “disgraceful” behaviour and that she would be speaking with Police Scotland’s Chief Constable (Iain Livingstone) later that day to avoid a similar situation in future.

She said: “However, no one should doubt the deeply invidious situation that behaviour like this puts the police in as they discharge their responsibility to protect public order and safety.

“We will also be having further discussions this week with the football authorities and with certain football clubs who, in my view, need to show much more leadership.

“Let me be clear, in making these comments, I don’t care about the colour of the shirts.

“I said some harsh things about Celtic’s decisions at the start of this year.

“And as far as I am concerned in this case, Rangers Football Club did not do nearly enough to help avoid this situation arising at the weekend.

“The fact is that elite sport is being allowed to continue just now so that fans – deprived of so much else in life right now – can continue to watch and support their teams.”

When is the Old Firm derby?

The third league Old Firm derby is scheduled to take place on March 21.

If the game goes ahead it will kick off at 12pm with Sky Sports.