The real story behind Celtic and Rangers ticket furore; club stance

By John McGinley

March 17, 2023

Some outlets in Scotland have characterised the latest development on away supports at derby matches as Celtic and Rangers fans being ‘banned’ or ‘barred’ from the fixture, but that is not accurate and there has been no joint decision made on this basis.

Celtic have made it clear this afternoon that they have taken their own lead on this issue and actually first rejected the chance to take up a small number of away tickets for the fourth league derby of the season at Ibrox, after the Premiership split.

The club feel that the matchday experience for the tiny 700 or so away support at Ibrox is a poor one and not suitable for a number of reasons. They don’t believe moving ahead with that situation is viable. Subsequently, it seems, a small away allocation for the Celtic Park derby has also been rejected by the visiting club.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Celtic maintain that they are open to a return of traditional allocations at both stadia, though this is not something Rangers have been keen to pursue at this point.

This is contrary to reports in the media this afternoon which suggested that Celtic had “locked out” Rangers fans for the Scottish Premiership derby taking place in April. Celtic feel they have taken a strong stance designed to best serve away fans following the Bhoys – it’s not about keeping Rangers supporters out of Celtic Park.

The club have been consistent on this matter for a couple of years now, feeling that a return towards larger away allocations is the best scenario. All of this comes after Rangers decided to cut the away derby support at Ibrox drastically, ostensibly to house new season ticket holders at that end of the ground.

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson told Sky Sports last year the club would not increase the allocation back to previous levels. Whether some middle ground can be reached regarding allocations for two to four thousand fans in each away support – similar to European competitions – is not yet apparent.

Given that Celtic remain open to larger allocations, the ball is very much in the Ibrox club’s court, as it has been all along. Celtic are drawing a line in the sand and making it clear the tiny allocations are not workable from their perspective.

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