Confirmed: Scottish Government deliver the update Celtic supporters were hoping for
The Scottish Government has today announced that football stadiums can return to full capacity from January 17th.
That means that Celtic will face Hibernian at Parkhead on Monday with the prospect of a full house. The decision has been taken after a 3-week period in which restrictions on large gatherings including football matches came into play. Only 500 people have been able to attend stadiums in Scotland since Boxing Day.
Sturgeon today gave a speech to the Scottish Parliament confirming the news. It gives Celtic a huge lift and vindicates the decision of Scottish football clubs to pull the winter break back last month.
Fans who attend matches must have with them their vaccine passports. The government has confirmed that fully vaccinated will now mean having 3 jabs as opposed to 2. However, if your 2nd jab was less than 4 months ago, you will still be considered fully vaccinated.
Speaking today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I can confirm today that the attendance limit of 500 at large scale outdoor events will be lited from Monday 17th January. That means for example that spectators will be permitted again at major outdoor sporting events including football fixtures scheduled for early next week and forthcoming Six Nations rugby matches.
“The Covid certification scheme will remain in place for these and other events previously covered, but with 2 important changes. Firstly, our guidance will now stipulate that organisers of large events of 1,000 or more people should check the certification status of at least 50% of attendees rather than the current 20%, or 1,000 people.
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“Second, on Monday, the requirement to be fully vaccinated for the purposes of Covid certifcation will include having a booster if the second dose was more than 4 months ago. The NHS Scotland Covid Status app for domestic use will be updated on Thursday so that its QR code includes evidence of booster vaccination.”
All systems go for Celtic and the SPFL
Celtic’s only game with the 500 restriction cap came at St Johnstone on Boxing Day – a game in which manager Ange Postecoglou stated he didn’t enjoy [Glasgow Times].
In addition to that, there has been monumental pressure for the restrictions to be lifted across the Scottish game. Especially considering English football has been ploughing ahead with capacity stadiums in recent weeks.
It couldn’t be coming at a better time for Celtic either. We have some colossal games coming up at Parkhead, and today’s decision from the government only raises the excitement levels ahead of Monday’s return to action. Perhaps most importantly for Celtic fans, it also means that the February 2nd Glasgow derby clash against Rangers will also be allowed a full capacity attendance.
The truth is that last season felt like the dark days of Scottish football. Playing in front of empty and, on occasion, small crowds just didn’t feel right. It took a lot out of the experience both for the players and the supporters.
It’s a major relief for the national game that this didn’t prove to be an extended course of action from the government. Hopefully, from here on in, we’ve finally heard the last of restricting outdoor social events.
And now we can all pencil in Monday as a day to get highly-excited about. Celtic Park wil hopefully be absolutely rocking.