Celtic, SPFL clubs brace for impact as JRG gear up for protocol discussions

By Euan Davidson

December 16, 2021

Celtic and SPFL clubs are bracing themselves for the return of Covid-19 restrictions, after a Joint Response Group (JRG) videoconference took place tonight.

As it stands, though, the Premier Sports Cup Final between Celtic and Hibernian will take place as planned on Sunday.

The Omicron variant has caused chaos in English football, with multiple games cancelled. Meanwhile the Scottish Government have issued a new slate of guidelines in the run-up to Christmas.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Scottish football matches haven’t been immune to anxieties either. Dundee United’s clash with Rangers was in doubt after positive test results at Tannadice [Daily Record]. Last weekend, a game between Airdrieonians and Queen’s Park was postponed, which would’ve seen two Celtic Academy talents going up against each other.

Via Edinburgh Evening News, a JRG spokesperson said: “Following a videoconference discussion tonight with Premiership clubs, the JRG will begin consultation on the potential strengthening of protocols between now and the winter break to reinforce Scottish football’s measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 and the increased transmission of new variants.”

With 4 match-days still to take place between now and the Winter break, there’s obvious concern about the viability of matches. The Omicron variant has swept across the UK; Scotland alone had 5,951 new Covid-19 cases today [Scottish Government].

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Concerning times for Celtic, SPFL as JRG reconvene

Obviously, we don’t know yet what this will entail. But the announcement of a meeting in and of itself is a huge concern.

Public health is, of course, the most important thing here. If going to football matches is unfeasible in the wake of the new variant causing mayhem, then it’s unfeasible.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

What a crying shame it would be, though. Part of the utter joy of this season has been the return of supporters in grounds. The drama has been ratcheted up. The matches have been so much better than 20-21, and the intensity of the game is back.

Let’s hope that the Omicron variant can be controlled before too long.

Read more: Confirmed: Next 5 Celtic referee appointments including cup final and derby

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