Rivals provide embarrassing excuse as they keep petty Celtic policy in place

By Euan Davidson

January 13, 2022

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson has said the policy of reduced Celtic away allocations at Ibrox will remain in place.

And he’s blaming Covid-19 restrictions for the situation.

In the Brendan Rodgers years, Celtic were battering Rangers at Ibrox on regular basis. As was historically appropriate, Celtic had the Broomloan Stand, but in recent years, the Hoops have been reduced to just 800 fans.

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

That was happening before Covid-19 and the restrictions, red zone and all the rest. But Robertson has claimed that it’s the pandemic and related factors that are to blame, as if this wasn’t happening before. Additionally, he says that it’s what the majority of Rangers fans want.

Speaking to The Athletic Football Podcast, Robertson said [47.22]:

“I think things have probably evolved over time, 800 fans from either side now go to the games, I don’t think there will be in a couple of weeks. Where Covid was at the time we had a red zone, and there were no away fans were in.

“The challenge with changing that at the moment, both clubs have now sold season tickets in those [away] areas. And actually it’s how do you change that back? Most of those supporters have renewal rights. It’s not something I see changing in the short term.

“The vast majority [of Rangers fans] don’t [want it changed back]. They’re comfortable with it. I don’t know about the other side of the city, but from our supporters’ perspective, they’re quite comfortable with the way it is. The vast majority, I’d be lying if I said it was everybody.”

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Embarrassing stuff from Rangers as Covid-19 blamed for dwindling Celtic allocation

Now, this would bear weight if Rangers hadn’t cut the Celtic allocation in 2018 [The Scotsman]. The truth of the matter is that the Ibrox club sold season tickets in the Broomloan and essentially didn’t want gloating Celtic supporters partying in one of their stands.

You know what? If Robertson admitted that, you’d be hard-pressed to blame them. It makes more sense than saying “oh but this is a recent thing, remember red zones? It’s not our fault!”

Of course their supporters are happier with it. Their league title win was in a season when there no fans there, let alone Celtic supporters. They wanted to play on this winter with reduced capacities of 500.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

It’s quite funny, listening to the podcast, hearing Mark Chapman drop common sense about the atmosphere of the Derby, and the need for away supporters.

The nostalgia, the spectacle, all of that. But Robertson’s answer really is telling. Rangers are terrified of risking scenes of Celtic joy in their stadium, something that became almost cliché with its regularity in the 2010s.

So, unless there’s a dramatic change in policy, 800 away fan limits will be in place for the foreseeable. It appears our rivals do not welcome the chase.

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