Police send final Celtic Park derby warning; health impact of George Square incident made public

By John McGinley

March 20, 2021

Supporters of both Celtic and Rangers have been given a final Police Scotland warning not to congregate in large numbers tomorrow regardless of the derby and what happens in the match.

After Rangers supporters caused controversy by celebrating their Scottish Premiership title win in George Square two weeks ago, there have been doubts about the game going ahead at all.

The Scottish Government didn’t make their final decision on that until after the Europa League fixture at Ibrox on Thursday night.

Celtic have been drawn into it despite being blameless, though the Scottish Government have made it clear to the club that they do not associate the scenes at George Square with the Hoops. [CelticFC.com]

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins has now sent a final public warning that people are at risk of being arrested if they congregate anywhere in a group.

Speaking to The Daily Record (20/03 print edition, page 7), he said: “For this weekend, we have got a significant policing operation in place and our approach will be the same as it has been right the way through the pandemic – we will engage with people, we will encourage them to disperse and if they don’t heed our warning then yes, we will move into enforcement and we will arrest people but we don’t want to be in that place.

“What I’m urging everybody is listen to the clubs, listen to the messages from your managers and your captains and please, please, please stay at home.”

It comes in conjunction with a shocking report of the health impact of Rangers supporters gathering.

David Hamilton, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, told The Daily Record (20/03 print edition, page 8): “A number of officers who policed the Rangers celebrations have since tested positive for Covid-19 and, as a consequence, many more have had to self-isolate.

“I hope those fans who attended will reflect on whether flouting the health regulations was really worth it.”

The paper report that as many as 36 officers are now self-isolating as result.

That’s a really strong reminder that this virus doesn’t care about football, celebrations, results, losses, protests or any other such event.

Celtic Park awaits the derby / (Photo by Andrew Milligan/Pool via Getty Images)

That’s why it’s so important for everyone to heed the advice of the authorities and get through this last chunk of the football season.

There’ll be plenty of time for public football passion after more rounds of vaccination and more restrictions are lifted.

Let’s hope the only news tomorrow comes from on the pitch.

In other news, Southampton fans still can’t believe they only paid Celtic £7m for Stuart Armstrong after FA Cup heroics.