"Why take that risk?"; former Celtic goalkeeper Rab Douglas shares Glasgow Derby concerns
Former Celtic goalkeeper Rab Douglas has spoken of his concern about the upcoming Glasgow Derby.
At the weekend, Rangers supporters took to various locations in Glasgow to congregate en masse. Those shocking scenes have been discussed in Holyrood, with Nicola Sturgeon “seeking assurances” it won’t happen again [Glasgow Times]. In a period of Tier 4 lockdown in Glasgow, there’s legitimate concern that the celebrations could keep the city shut for longer than anticipated.
Of course, with a jubilant Rangers support on the street and a Glasgow Derby coming up, concerns are rife. There’s an air of inevitability about counter-demonstrations, and ugly scenes outside Celtic Park on March 21st.
In his column in the Courier, former Celtic goalie Rab Douglas made his concerns clear. Writing with empathy and an understanding of differing perspectives, the Seville run shot-stopper made his feelings clear.
Douglas said [Courier]:
“For me, the risk involved in letting the game take place, whether it’s fans gathering at Celtic Park or somewhere else in Glasgow, looks too great.
“The league is won. So why take that risk?
“We’ve been battling away for a year as a country to keep Covid-19 under control.
“We’re now getting to a stage, with vaccinations starting to reach more of the population, where it feels like there’s maybe a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Scottish Government look at the situation last weekend and decide they won’t allow another potential flashpoint match to take place – particularly now the result doesn’t count for anything other than pride.”
“Staggered”; former Celtic goalie Rab Douglas on Glasgow Derby
“[W]ith everything that has yet to be decided hanging in the balance – and with everything outside of football that needs to be protected – I think the Government will take a “safety first” approach to next Sunday’s match.
“Given how desperate everybody in the country is to get out of lockdown and get back to enjoying ourselves safely, I’d understand.
“In fact, I’d be staggered if it’s not cancelled.”
All signs point to cancellation
Given the weekend just past, it’d be more surprising if the Derby actually went ahead.
At this moment, there’s simply too much momentum towards a potential spread of the virus. We’ve been asked not to congregate, yet rival supporters are taking to the streets and huddling (yes, huddling) in unison. Nary a mask was seen at George Square on Sunday.
Therefore, it’s hard not to back Douglas here. If anything, we’d expect the fixture to get kicked further down the road if at all possible. With the behaviour of the Rangers supporters, as well as there being little to play for, it wouldn’t be the greatest shock if the season was called early.
It’s an awful shame. And no doubt, voices will try to tar us all with the same brush.