Rival MD confirms Celtic fans will return to Ibrox but it's no resolution to Derby farce

By Euan Davidson

February 15, 2022

Rangers’ Managing Director Stewart Robertson has given Celtic fans the green light to return to Ibrox for Glasgow Derbies.

Just 800, though.

The Ibrox MD insists the next two Derby meetings will feature fans of both clubs in attendance. All fine and well, given the lockout both sets of supporters have suffered thus far in 21-22, owing largely to Covid-19.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Robertson said [Sky Sports]: “There will be away allocations in the next two games. Because of the Covid situation back in August, the two clubs got together and agreed that actually, we wouldn’t have away fans. Because we had Red Zones, we weren’t sure what the Covid situation was going to be for that period of time.

“It’ll be the allocations we’ve had the last couple of years, going into next year and the succeeding years after that.

“I’m comfortable where we are in terms of the away fans allocation.”

So, in a sense it’s good news in the short-term regarding the Glasgow Derby. Although, admittedly, you wouldn’t have found many Celtic supporters on the 2nd of February complaining there weren’t enough rival fans at Paradise.

Still, it’s a Derby. There are meant to be both sets of supporters there, that’s what makes the occasions famous, and gives the fixture part of its lustre. Yet, because Celtic were so dominant under Brendan Rodgers, Rangers continue to cap the Hoops allocation at 800.

So, you can call this news a victory, but only in a pyrrhic sense.

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Rangers and Celtic supporters both lose out when the Glasgow Derby away allocation is capped so low

Fine, you can understand Ibrox suits got fed up of seeing the entire Broomloan bouncing with joyous Celtic supporters.

Counterpoint: grow up. It’s still farcical that the biggest Derby game in the world is being reduced as a spectacle by bitterness. The situation is far more difficult to sort, going forward, given that season tickets are being sold in the Broomloan these days, too.

While, yes, Celtic Park was a much more joyous place without our rivals in attendance (either off the pitch or, seemingly, on it), we have to think long-term here. For the league, as much as anything. The strides the Scottish Premiership has taken this season in terms of international attention has been notable.

Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

Part of the appeal of the league is the Glasgow Derby. For neutrals, it’s going to be less of a spectacle with just a fractional away support at either Celtic Park or Ibrox. Especially when the reason is that Rangers took the huff with us winning so constantly in the 2010s.

It’s Celtic being dragged into this. However, from a distance, it’s going to be hard to tell who the fool is in this argument.

This will rumble on for years. It needn’t, and you couldn’t blame Celtic one iota for acting in kind. What effect this will have on the international interest in the Derby in campaigns to come is anyone’s guess.

Read more: Bodo/Glimt goalkeeper watched Celtic batter Glasgow rivals; left in awe of Parkhead