Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock call for earlier lifting of crowd restrictions

Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock have asked the Scottish Government to bring forward the date for lifting crowd restrictions so they can welcome more supporters to their cinch Championship clash on Friday.

Partick Thistle want to welcome fans back to their Championship fixture against Kilmarnock on Friday (Photo by Sammy Turner / SNS Group)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that a cap of 500 people at large outdoor events would be removed from Monday next week, coinciding with the return of the Premiership after its winter break.

However, lower-league teams in Scotland have continued to play on through the crowd restrictions, which have been in place since Boxing Day in an effort to stem the surge of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

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Reduced crowds have had a significant impact on revenue and Thistle have asked if the measures can be removed early to allow a bumper crowd into Firhill for a match between two of the clubs with the biggest fanbases in the second tier.

A statement on Thistle's website on Wednesday read: "Partick Thistle was pleased to hear the good news that restrictions on fan numbers at games are to be removed. However, we don't understand why this hasn't happened immediately.

"The Premiership restarts on the 17th (January) with full crowds, but other leagues, playing as usual this weekend, continue to be disadvantaged for a further three days.

"As well as the significant financial impact on Thistle, this decision means our fans face another game where the majority cannot attend and we cannot welcome opposition fans.

"We have asked the question to see if there is any scope to bring the date forward as we owe it to our fans to try. We know it's a long shot and unlikely to be changed, but the right thing to do was to state our case rather than simply accept being disadvantaged again."

Kilmarnock have backed Thistle's request, tweeting: "We welcome and support Partick Thistle's statement and will assist them in any way to try to allow both sets of fans to be at Firhill."

Andy Smith, chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association, added his backing:

"A reprieve will make a huge financial difference to many of our smaller clubs," he said.

"Too often Scottish football overlooks the smaller clubs and their supporters when making big decisions.

"This is a chance to make a statement that football in Scotland is more than just the Premier League."

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