Scottish Government provide Celtic with clarity as spot-check process explained

By David Walton

September 21, 2021

The Scottish Government has today confirmed that spot-checks will indeed be allowed for large events such as games at Celtic Park.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government passed legislation for the use of vaccine passports at all events from October 1st [BBC]. This allows venues to ensure that only double-vaccinated members of the public can attend their events.

However, the SFA JRG were left furious as recently as recently as last week when they called out government for failing to give them clarity on how the process will work for Scottish football matches. Spot-checks were being pushed by clubs due to the potential issues caused by having to check thousands of vaccine passports.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But today, Sturgeon has finally provided the likes of Celtic with clarity on the rules moving forward. And most promisingly, spot-checks will indeed be on the cards.

As quoted by the Scottish Sun, the First Minister said: “Once the scheme is launched, anyone going to a venue or event which requires certification will be required, if asked, to show their vaccine record. Venue staff will either scan or visually check your QR code. The NHS Scotland Covid Check app that venues can use is already available for download.

“At a venue such as a nightclub, or at a relatively small event, we expect that it will be possible to check vaccine certificates for everyone in attendance. However at larger events, organisers will be expected to carry out a reasonable number of checks.

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“We are working with businesses and environmental health officers to provide specific advice and guidance on the level of checks that should be considered both reasonable and effective to fulfill the public health objective of certification. I hope that this information – together with the details to be published shortly – will provide further clarity on how the scheme will operate.

“However let me stress that even after the scheme has started, we will keep the operational details under review. We will be prepared to make changes in light of experience and as – for example – upgrades and improvements are made to the operation of the app.”

Scottish Government finally provide spot-check confirmation for Celtic and co

This is positive stuff from a Celtic perspective. It means there won’t be long delays at Parkhead as fans wait for their QR code to be scanned.

The last thing football clubs wanted was to have fans waiting for entry minutes to kick-off. After all, that could’ve caused real disruption and angry amongst the support too. That this will be avoided is a promising step.

What has still to be answered of course is how many clubs this will be the case for. You have to imagine the likes of Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, and Hearts will be allowed to carry out spot-checks. The same perhaps goes for full capacities at the likes of Pittodrie and Tannadice.

ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

But it’ll be interesting if the same goes for the lesser clubs. Will the likes of Ross County or St Mirren be able to implement spot-checks for example? It’s really anyone’s guess at the moment.

However, it’s clear from the First Minister’s comments that Celtic Park will be on the list. How could it not be given the crowds the Hoops attract to their home venue?

Hopefully these plans can be firmed up. Clubs still need to know how many checks they’ll need to carry out. And until that’s been confirmed, there won’t be total relief or satisfaction just yet.

In other news, Report: Barcelona considering ex-Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers for top job