Police concern may see New Year Old Firm derby scrapped

The Scottish Premier League could be forced to scrap the New Year Old Firm derby next season.

The SPL fixtures will be released on Friday and the traditional meeting between Rangers and Celtic, which takes place on the public holidays of 1 or 2 January, looks set to played on a midweek evening in December instead.

The move follows police advice in a bid to reduce the possibility of trouble surrounding the fixture.

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SPL secretary Iain Blair said: "We've been working with the police and government and their view is a midweek Old Firm derby is easier for them to deal with compared to the challenges presented by bank holidays, such as 2 January.

"Wednesday 28 is a working day, as is Thursday 29, so let's see what happens.

"While the crowd situation at the actual games has been very good in recent years, their view is that what happens at the stadium has an effect on various parts around Scotland, excessive drinking etc, and the problems created.

"If there are things we can do that would minimise those opportunities, then we will look at them."

Ally McCoist, meanwhile, could make his first signings as Rangers manager this week if he is successful in finalising Bosman deals for Tomer Hemed, a 24-year-old Israel international striker, and Crystal Palace midfielder Neil Danns, 28.

Danns has rejected a new contract offer from Palace and McCoist said: "I would describe Danns as a box-to-box midfielder with good physical attributes, and he should be suited to Scotland.

Maccabi Haifa want to keep Hemed and can, like Rangers, offer him Champions League football.