Former Celtic star Kris Commons is backing proposals for derbies between Celtic and Rangers to take place in the second half of next season, The Scottish Daily Mail reports (26/05 print edition, page 79).
As reported over the weekend, the concept of delaying the first two derby matches of the 2020/21 campaign is being talked about within the SPFL.
That concept is also said to have the support of clubs and broadcaster Sky Sports, who become exclusive rights holders in August.
By backloading the highest-profile games in the league, it could allow the ongoing public health crisis to subside enough to let some supporters into stadiums to generate the fixture’s famous atmosphere.
Commons is very much in favour, feeling the match will lose almost all of its appeal if it’s played behind closed doors.
As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (26/05 print edition, page 79), he said: “Having no fans at a Celtic v Rangers game would take away 95 per cent of the spectacle. You want the supporters there. That’s why you have extravagant celebrations and the emotion.
“That’s why Steven Gerrard shouted into the camera when Rangers beat Celtic last December at Celtic Park. It’s why Neil Lennon has cupped his ears before at Ibrox.
“I would welcome all four Old Firm games being played in 2021 in front of fans.
“Imagine both teams winning their first 15 matches and being level going into the first match of the season? What a game that would be.”
Commons is no stranger to a derby moment himself of course, netting four goals and assisting four times in eight derby matches during his time at the club (Transfermarkt).
Celtic really have nothing to fear from this fixture next season, winning two of the three that occurred during 2019/20.
It would make sense to see them all played out towards the end of next term if it gives fans the best chance of witnessing the drama.
The hype generated would be unbelievable which might attract some of the unwanted controversies that go with it all, however, in a purely footballing realm, the correct decision is to delay.
Will the SPFL now follow up on their bold plans?