Stadium tours return to Celtic Park signalling normality ahead

By Euan Davidson

July 7, 2021

Celtic have announced that stadium tours are resuming at Paradise.

In a hopeful hint of what’s to come at Celtic Park, the club announced a “new-look” tour, which promises new photo opportunities and parts of the stadium which were previous unavailable to guests. The stadium tour has long attracted excellent numbers [Celtic FC]. Its return is potentially positive sign for supporters, who will be desperate to get back for match-days.

Celtic announced:

“Exploring Club history, Celtic legends and the iconic Celtic Park stadium itself, this new ‘Return to Paradise’ tour will begin at the top of the Celtic Way, taking you into the stadium bowl, enabling you to go pitchside, to the dugouts, the North Stand and the Rail Seating sections of the stadium, offering new vantage points and some fantastic photo opportunities.

“In line with Scottish Government guidelines all guests will be required to maintain social distancing from other households and tours will be operating with a reduced capacity for your safety and comfort.”

Does this mean much in and of itself? It probably depends whether you’re a tour guide, or have something booked. But to the support at large, it’s a promising sign. Having been locked out of Paradise since March 2020, it says a lot that several of the tours are already sold out.

Put simply, Celtic fans want to be back at the stadium. Also, water is wet.

Where are we with fans returning to Celtic Park?

To be honest, the picture for fans returning to games en masse is clear as mud.

Hearts will be allowing just 2,000 fans in to their opener against Celtic. This is despite claims by Jason Leitch that capacity crowds could return from the 9th August [Daily Record]. The timeline for this doesn’t seem to match up. Obviously, the landscape changes with Covid-19 on a regular basis. However, definitive remarks are of little comfort to supporters.

Celtic supporters / (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

There was controversy yesterday, as the GAA (Glasgow Athletics Association) couldn’t welcome spectators into today’s Sprint Gala [Glasgow Times], despite crowds turning out in Hampden to watch Euro 2020 games. Some consistency is sorely needed.

The return of stadium tours is welcome, of course. However, they’re far easier to negotiate from a Covid-19 perspective. These are small, well co-ordinated groups. Bringing fans back on a Saturday or a Sunday is a different situation entirely.

We need some clarity going forward. With so many having shelled out on season tickets, but with concern about a still-widespread virus, sport fans in general need some consistent rules to make sense of what’s happening.

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