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On hold- Scottish Government draw back from full return of fans

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Celtic will find out tomorrow if they will be allowed to welcome fans back to next week’s match against Hibs. 

In the run-up to Christmas the Scottish Government announced that crowds at outdoor events would be restricted to 500 while most areas of society and mixing remained unchanged. 

Within 48 hours the SPFL Premiership winter break was brought forward but not before one round of matches was played out in virtually empty stadiums. 

Last week it was suggested that the go-ahead had been given for full stadiums to return but it seems that someone jumped the gun with that message. 

In the Daily Record, Keith Jackson explains: 

Scottish football’s plan to bring back fans has been left hanging in the balance after the Scottish Government stopped short of giving it the green light over the weekend. 

Record Sport first revealed on Wednesday that the game’s Joint Response Group had informed clubs to prepare for a return to full capacity in time for the re-start of the top flight on January 17.  

And the move was subsequently confirmed by the SPFL who insisted that scientific data proves the lives of supporters won’t be put at risk by bringing back full capacity crowds, despite the soaring Omicron infections rate. 

But we understand league chiefs gave now been informed that the First Minister is still to make a final decision on whether or not the national game should be allowed to throw the gates open. 

And now cash strapped clubs face an anxious wait over the next 48 hours before discovering if Holyrood will be prepared to rubber-stamp the return of supporters – with Nicola Sturgeon expected to provide a further update on current emergency restrictions to parliament on Tuesday. 

That’s less than one week before the Premiership campaign begins again when Celtic take on Hibs at Parkhead – with a further five games to follow 24 hours later. 

The decision could come down to finance with clubs likely to be asking for Government grants if they have to continue without fans. 

One compromise would be reduced capacities but the anomaly of having 500 fans inside Ibrox with the same amount allowed inside the 2,300 capacity Dumbarton Stadium left the government red faced and unable to provide a scientific answer. 

Whatever decision is taken will also impact on rugby with Scotland taking on England at Murrayfield on February 5.

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