Old Firm game could be postponed if assurances not given, says Scottish minister

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Old Firm Game Could Be Postponed If Assurances Not Given, Says Scottish Minister
Rangers fans celebrating at Ibrox Stadium following their Scottish Premiership win, © PA Wire/PA Images
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Neil Pooran, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Scottish ministers could postpone the upcoming Old Firm game unless they have “absolute assurance” there will not be a repeat of last weekend’s scenes.

Scotland's justice secretary Humza Yousaf said the government was meeting with Rangers, Celtic, Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council on Friday to discuss the March 21st derby.

Thousands of Rangers fans breached lockdown rules last weekend to celebrate the side’s first league win in a decade.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Friday, he said deferring the game was an option if concerns about fan behaviour remain.

He said: “We are at the most critical juncture in our fight against the virus and we cannot, simply will not, tolerate the scenes that we saw last weekend.

“And therefore if I cannot get absolute assurance, and the government cannot get absolute assurance, that we won’t see a repeat of such scenes or even worse things – potentially scenes of disorder involving groups of fans – then of course every option will be considered, that would include deferring the game.”

He said the game could go ahead if clubs sent out a clear message that their fans should stay at home.

If there was any suggestions of public disorder or large gatherings “we simply will not risk people’s health”, Mr Yousaf said, while a decision on the game will be made early next week.

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

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