Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf offers Celtic challenge ahead of Glasgow Derby

By Euan Davidson

March 12, 2021

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf has offered Celtic and Rangers a challenge ahead of the Glasgow Derby.

The match, scheduled for the 21st of March, has been under enormous scrutiny. Meetings are to take place today between the clubs, senior Scottish politicians and police chiefs. After last weekend’s unsavoury scenes, there’s a real threat to the Glasgow Derby taking place.

Yousaf, “a Celtic FC fan” [SNP], seems relatively hopeful of the match taking place. However, he’ll need to put his support to one side, with the Justice Minister potentially required to make a huge call ahead of next Sunday.

The Justice Secretary said [Daily Record]:

“There is only so much – in fairness to the clubs – they can do.

“But I will ask them to do as much as they can.

“I will then take an assessment, and as a government we will take an assessment from the intelligence we receive from Police Scotland, and if there is a serious question or likelihood of disorder or fans gathering then we would have to consider whether or not it’s wise for the match on 21 March to go ahead.”

“I’m a football fan and I enjoy a Celtic vs Rangers match as much as the next person. I enjoy the passion, and the banter afterwards. But let’s be really clear here, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. We have a strain of the virus that is far more transmissible than the previous variant.”

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf / (Photo by Ken Jack/Getty Images)

Humza Yousaf: “I will not be unfair” on Celtic and Rangers ahead of Glasgow Derby

Yousaf continued:

“People have missed weddings, funerals, have not seen their family, parents, grandparents in care homes. So we are not going to allow people to gather – and in the case of the game on March 21 – potentially create disorder while the vast majority of citizens obey the rules.

“I will not be unfair, I will ask the football clubs to very clearly put out messaging from the respective managers, their players, their club ambassadors to say very clearly that fans must stay at home.”

As much as we’ve all missed the football, public health needs to be the priority. If the Government feel there’s a risk of disorder and the spread of Covid-19, they really have to act.

Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, it’s hard to argue that a government’s prerogative at this time has to be anything other than public health. With events being cancelled across 2020 and 2021, there’s an argument we’re lucky to have football at all.

Here’s hoping a resolution can be worked out in Holyrood today.

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