Rangers v Celtic set for capacity crowd as Jason Leitch delivers full stadium hope for August

Scottish football clubs could be playing in front of full stadiums again in the opening month of the new season.

Scottish football stadiums could be full again from August 9 - meaning a capacity crowd for the first Old Firm match of the season between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox on August 29. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Scottish football stadiums could be full again from August 9 - meaning a capacity crowd for the first Old Firm match of the season between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox on August 29. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

That is according to national clinical director Jason Leitch who has confirmed that the Scottish Government's plan to lift all coronavirus restrictions on August 9 would result in no limits on crowd sizes at football matches.

Such a scenario would delight fans who have been locked out of stadiums since last March, while also easing the financial burden on clubs who have had to make do without matchday income for over a year.

It could see full houses return for the first time in the Premier Sports Cup last 16 knock-out phase, scheduled to take place over the weekend of August 14 and 15, and will also ensure a capacity crowd for the first Old Firm derby of the season between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday, August 29.

Current restrictions only allow for between 500 and 2000 spectators depending on the tier level of the local area, although clubs can apply for more.

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While stressing that the August 9 date is "pencilled in” and dependant on the pandemic situation in Scotland, Leitch told the BBC Scotland Sunday Show that he is hopeful things can return to normal as planned.

"On August 9 the level system disappears, unless there were particular hotspots or the country didn't do what we hope it will do," he said. "Maybe vaccinations slow down for some reason, although I'm not expecting that.

"It's a little bit indicative, and then on August 9 all physical distancing is removed and the limits on event sizes are removed."

Asked if that meant crowds can return to football matches in full numbers, he replied: "They can on August 10, but we've had to learn that new word - that indicative word.

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"We have given advice that with a fair wind the trajectory that we're presently on with vaccinations, remember we're vaccinating 300,000 people every 10 days, and this six weeks buys us quite a lot of vaccine time. So if we can get that in and people come, then yes we hope that August 9/10 can happen."

Pressed further on whether football stadiums would be full, he added: "Yes, but you’re making me sweat."

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