The Parkhead away fan situation and why rival support shouldn't blame Celtic
The last time an away support visited Celtic Park it was in a 5-0 routing of St Mirren back on March 7th 2020.
Nobody could’ve foreseen at the time that the contest would be the last time a visiting supporters base would arrive at Celtic Park since now. However, that’s what the Covid pandemic has managed to do.
Now, however, we’re seeing a gradual return of away fan bases once again. Celtic were given three stands at Livingston as they made their first trip since they went to the same venue 18 months previously.
Yet at Parkhead, away fans are still locked out. Dundee, St Mirren, Hearts, and Ross County have all visited domestically with no support. The same goes for European sides Midtjylland and AZ Alkmaar.
The reason for this? Celtic fans in the Main Stand have had to be relocated to different areas of the ground. This is because Celtic are using that particular area as a Red Zone – an area of the stadium that must remain sterile due to Covid regulations.
This has angered certain visiting supporters. Hearts fans, for example, reacted furiously to being locked out of their League Cup loss to Celtic. And now, Raith Rovers will suffer the same fate tomorrow.
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Parkhead yet to open up to away fans as Celtic prioritise own supporters
Some have been left confused as to why Raith wouldn’t be allowed an allocation. After all, it’s not as if Celtic will get a full house for the visit of the Championship side.
In theory, that should mean extra space opens up for home supporters to take without having to use the away section.
But today, the Celtic SLO cleared up why that still can’t be the case:
We need a section for our visually impaired and disabled STH’s, it needs to be a dedicated area with easy access and exiting, area 120 is the only place that we can provide that whilst the JRG insist on a Red Zone, no harm to away fans but we have to look after our STH’s first— Celtic FC SLO (@CelticFCSLO) September 21, 2021
Rival clubs are directing their anger at Celtic for this. However, all the club can be accused of is of protecting its own supporters. They can’t just dismiss disabled and visually impaired season-ticket holders to accommodate another club’s fans. You can’t forget how long we ourselves have been locked out of Parkhead.
Those who have signed up for the Home Cup Ticker Scheme will be issued a ticket for all home cup matches. Meaning Celtic have to plan for a greater attendance vs Raith than may actually occur.
But if rival fans want to ask questions, why not direct them at their own clubs? After all, they’re free to complain to the SPFL about the situation at Celtic Park. If they feel hard done by, then there’s a process there to call the Hoops out.
Not one team has yet to do that. We’ve faced four different domestic sides at Parkhead this season and nobody has come out to complain about our away-fan situation.
That says a lot about what they feel about Celtic’s explanation surrounding the issue. It’s clear, regardless of whether they agree or not, that they’re satisfied enough without bringing it up with the authorities.
When the opportunity is there to bring away fans back to Parkhead, it will be taken by the club. But not at the expense of any Celtic season-ticket holder.
It’s easy enough to understand. But why bother to do so when you can just blame Celtic, eh?