Celtic's home game with Rangers will be 'effectively spectator-free' after new Scottish Covid-19 restrictions

Celtic's home game with Rangers will be 'effectively spectator-free' after new Scottish Covid-19 restrictions

CELTIC'S home Scottish Premiership clash with Rangers on January 2 will be "effectively spectator-free" due to new restrictions planned for Scotland.

It is just one of many events affected by the new rules announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today in a bid to stem the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Edinburgh derby between Hibs and Hearts at Easter Road on January 3 will similarly be affected.

The restrictions also mean the Scottish capital's world famous Hogmanay street party has been cancelled for the second year in a row.

"I know how disappointing this will be for those looking forward to these events, and for the organisers of them," said Sturgeon.

New rules

From December 26, outdoor events will only be allowed a maximum of 500 people.

Indoor standing events will be limited to 100 people, while 200 people will be permitted at seated events taking place indoors.

Attendees at all events, inside or outside, must maintain one-metre social distancing.

Private life events, such as weddings, are not affected.

The restrictions will be in place for three weeks.

Busy period

The Scottish game has a busy fixture list over the festive period ahead of a planned three-week winter break after the Edinburgh derby.

Tomorrow's fixtures, which see Celtic travel to St Mirren, are unaffected.

However the Glasgow club's trip to St Johnstone on December 26 — part of a full card of fixtures that day — will be effectively played in an empty stadium.

All first and second tier clubs are in action again on December 29, meaning Shaun Maloney's return to Celtic as Hibs manager will be a quiet affair.

The Celtic v Rangers game at Celtic Park is one of five top-flight games planned for January 2, before the Edinburgh derby 24 hours later.

'High transmissibility'

Explaining her decision, Sturgeon said the events had the potential to become "super-spreaders".

"Firstly, we know that the much higher transmissibility of Omicron means large gatherings have the potential to become very rapid super-spreader events, putting large numbers at risk of getting infected very quickly," she said.

"Limiting these events helps reduce the risk of widespread transmission.

"It also cuts down the transmission risks associated with travel to and from such events.

"Second, these large events put an additional burden on emergency services, especially the police and ambulance services.

"At a time when these services are already under severe pressure and also dealing with high staff absences, limiting large scale events will help them focus on delivering essential services to the public."