Comments from the Scottish Government this week appear to pour cold water over reports that large crowds could be returning to Celtic Park by the end of August.
Journalist Stephen McGowan reported in The Scottish Daily Mail last month that Celtic were planning on welcoming as many as 30,000 people back to Paradise in August and September.
That was said to be a result of a partnership with the Scottish Rugby Union.
The two organisations employed outside consultants to look into how feasible the return of large crowds is.
However, comments from National Clinical Director Jason Leitch and a follow-up from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggest that October isn’t even a guarantee.
Professor Leitch said, as quoted by The Daily Record: “We cannot predict when crowds will be back. I can predict that it will not be soon, it will be phased.
“I had another conversation yesterday with the leadership of the SFA and the SPFL, the club leadership along with some colleagues and I have suggested in media in the last two or three days, perhaps October.
“I would maybe pencil that into your calendar but I certainly wouldn’t write over it in pen.”
Later, the First Minister moved to clarify that October is not yet being discussed as a return date, stating that Leitch was merely trying to set expectations.
Sturgeon said, again as quoted by The Daily Record: “Football with crowds has not been pencilled in for October. We haven’t taken that decision yet.
“Jason was simply trying to find a way of saying, ‘Don’t assume it will be October when we get crowds back’.
“So do not take from this that we have given football an October provisional date for crowds being back. That’s not the case and actually I don’t think it’s a fair interpretation of what Jason actually said.”
Clearly there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes but hopefully all the different groups can get together and put forward a definitive plan soon.
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell has recently stressed the importance of matchday income to Scottish football.
Lawwell is also hoping Celtic Park can hold test events in an effort to fully prepare for what might be required to safely welcome fans back. (Daily Record)
As it stands the Scottish Premiership is due to kick-off in August behind-closed-doors, with fixture dates to be announced next week.