John Hartson correctly blames petty rivals for ticket saga ahead of Celtic match

By David Walton

February 2, 2022

Celtic great John Hartson has brilliantly called out Rangers and pinned the blame on them for the ongoing Glasgow derby away fan dispute.

Tonight, the Hoops will host the Ibrox club with zero away fans in attendance. This comes after Celtic were denied tickets in Govan back in August. Incredibly, this was said to be down to Celtic not being able to guarantee Rangers seats for tonight’s fixture due to the Covid uncertainty [The Times].

Yet this all stretches back to 2018 after Rangers appointed Steven Gerrard. They were playing up the big man act and decided to slash Celtic’s Ibrox allocation by over 6,000 to just 800 [The Scotsman]. Rightly, the Parkhead club responded by stating our rivals would have their allocation cut too [Scottish Sun].

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

And as people continue to long for big away attendances in the Glasgow derby once more, Hartson reminded Kenny Miller on Go Radio last night just who was to blame for all of this.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, Hartson said: “Well I think Rangers put a stop to it, didn’t they? 3 or 4 years ago when Celtic were on a winning league run of 5, 6, 7 in a row or whatever it was. There were under 10,000 away fans that Celtic went to go to and celebrate in front of them. Rangers had to pull that, they almost saw that as a huge downside to them trying to win games and trying to beat Celtic and halt the 10.

“You could almost say that was one of the things that worked for them and obviously Celtic reacted and we are where we are today.

“It’s gonna be a special night at Paradise” | Big Celtic vs Rangers Preview with Ryan118

“It’s gonna be a special night at Paradise” | Big Celtic vs Rangers Preview with Ryan118
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“But we have to say that it was Rangers’ initial decision, let’s not get away from that, to pull away the away fans. No chance, no chance [on whether Celtic should’ve still let away fans in].”

Celtic have made their thoughts known, Rangers need to halt their pettiness

We all know how petty and small-minded a football club Rangers are, but even their move in 2018 to slash attendances came as a slight shock. Then almost immediately after it was announced you reminded yourself of just how bitter they actually are.

There’s a narrative that goes around now that this is both club’s decision. That you can easily reel Celtic into the blame because we “could be the bigger club”. Yet those that follow that narrative conveniently forget that the Hoops have left the door open for negotiations ever since this saga began [Scottish Sun].

The issue here is that Rangers are refusing to budge. Their Managing Director Stewart Robertson stated that it won’t be changing anytime soon either [The Athletic].

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

This can end whenever Rangers decide to be grown-ups and actually get around the table. It’s incredible that they continue to refuse to allow this fixture to return to what it was.

It shows just how much we damaged them during our 9-in-a-row run. That they felt forced into this because they couldn’t get a result against us shows their true mentality.

It would be nice if the media would also call it what is too, just like John did here.

In other news, Bodo/Glimt vs Celtic to be allowed a full capacity as Norway PM drops restrictions