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Report claims SPFL has briefed clubs to prepare for full houses from January 17

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A report in the Daily Record claims that Celtic will be back playing in front of a full house when they take on Hibs on January 17. 

From December 26 outdoor events in Scotland were only able to be staged in front of 500 spectators with no Celtic fans inside McDiarmid Park for the 3-1 win over St Johnstone. 

Shopping centres, gyms, pubs and restaurants remain open for business with little changes but despite needing to produce a vaccine passport Celtic Park was reduced to 500 capacity with two matches rescheduled. 

Eleven days before facing Hibs there is still uncertainty over selling tickets and hospitality packages  but according to Keith Jackson of the Daily Record the Joint Response Group for Scottish football (SFA and SPFL) have briefed clubs to prepare for business as usual. 

Record Sport understands the ‘prepare for full steam ahead’ message was sent out from Hampden’s sixth floor late on Wednesday afternoon following the First Minister’s latest Covid update to parliament. 

A Hampden source confirmed to Record Sport : “Based on the First Minister’s announcement today the JRG has instructed clubs in the Premiership and around the country to prepare for an imminent return to full capacity. 

“There was some confusion about when this full return might be permitted given that the date of January 17 was mentioned during today’s update. But it has subsequently been confirmed that Celtic’s match with Hibs, on the same date, can also be expected to take place in front of a full house. 

“But given the reduction in self isolation requirements and the usage of lateral flow tests we can now look forward to supporters being welcomed back from the 17th as per the FM’s announcement. 

“After so much uncertainty and financial strain this is the good news our clubs have been hoping for.” 

Jackson has had some spectacular scoops go wrong but now seems to be well connected within the SFA and SPFL. In June 2020 he scooped the last ever newspaper interview with Peter Lawwell. 

There was no specific announcement for football or outdoor events from the First Minister yesterday but with matches continuing in England it is almost impossible to retain the crowd cap in Scotland. 

With Scotland hosting England in the Six Nations Rugby on February 5 it would highlight the issue if Murrayfield was almost empty while 120 miles south Newcastle have 50,000 fans watching them play at St James’ Park. 

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