As the dust settles on the Glasgow Derby matches for this season we can reflect on where this leaves Celtic on and off the park in terms of the rivalry with our major title rivals. Celtic have collected 7 points to theRangers 4 with the first two matches being played with only home supporters present and the third and fourth being played at the two stadiums with small pockets of away fans.
The only match which had the traditional allocation was the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden which had an equal split of supporters in a match that theRangers won after extra time.
All the games have been closely fought affairs apart from the match at Celtic Park on 2 February which Celtic won 3-0, with all the goals coming in the first 45 minutes a the match that saw Celtic leapfrog the visitors to go top of the league. It’s a position that Celtic have never relinquished and as such with a six points deficit going into the last three games theRangers are pretty much looking for favours from Hearts, Dundee United and even Motherwell on the last day if they are to retain their title.
Niall J provided an excellent insight last night into the lessons for Celtic on the park and that’s well worth reading if you haven’t done so already, link is below.
What we’d also like to talk about is Celtic viewing the away ticket allocation for these Glasgow Derby matches and deciding on a way forward. There are basically four options open to Celtic and theRangers to agree on.
- Zero away fans at Glasgow Derby matches at both Celtic Park and Ibrox – this will avoid the throwing of objects that Celtic fans were subjected to at Ibrox at the start of last month from both sides and from above and also on Sunday at Celtic Park where despite the post match claims from theRangers former DUP PR man, the vast majority seemed to be heading from the away support towards the Celtic fans sitting nearby.
- The tiny away support allocation introduced due to theRangers fans being unable to tolerate any more over celebrations in the Broomloan stand at Ibrox when it was occupied exclusive by Celtic supporters. This allows 700 Celtic fans to go to Ibrox and 800 of theRangers fans to visit Celtic Park. It provides a focus for the away team to celebrate with their fans if they score but the negatives far outweigh the positives and after Sunday’s behaviour from the visiting support, coupled by the incredible statement issued to the media shortly after the final whistle, Celtic should call time on this option altogether.
- A large allocation on around 2500 visiting away fans. This was an option rumoured o be favoured by Celtic ahead of the recent game at Ibrox, recognising the difficulty in bringing back the long standing away allocation where Celtic fans would get the Broomloan Stand at Ibrox and their support would occupy a similar number of seats in the part of the Lisbon Lions stand and the away section used by other listing sides. That seemed like a sensible compromise earlier this year ahead of the two recent matches but do we really want 2500 of them at Celtic Park and will there simply be more trouble caused by their supporters?
- A return to the full away allocation of around 7500 away fans. This seems to be impracticable due to the sale of season tickets for these areas – thus Celtic’s compromise idea above – and while this idea has merit it seems unlikely that either club would be prepared to turn away the season ticket revenue or go back to the situation were supporters in the affected areas would only be able to purchase their season tickets without access to Glasgow Derby matches included.
A word on these statements that were issued on post match on Sunday with theRangers being quick out the traps. Theirs is quite astonishing given not only what their fans were doing that afternoon but also in the recent game at Ibrox where a member of Celtic staff was hit over the head by. glass bottle, broken glass was thrown onto the pitch by their supporters and objects were thrown at Celtic players trying to take corner kicks.
Rangers statement following today’s game at Celtic Park. pic.twitter.com/6ZlGA03h5m
— Chris McLaughlin (@BBCchrismclaug) May 1, 2022
Celtic statement following todays game. pic.twitter.com/96ILbOV8m6
— Chris McLaughlin (@BBCchrismclaug) May 1, 2022
So which option should Celtic opt for? Given the incredible decision taken by the Ibrox club to issue that statement when it was so far from the reality of what had actually happened, Celtic have a duty of care to prevent what is reasonable to expect in terms of future trouble being caused by their support. Note that the Celtic fans have caused no trouble at Ibrox any time we have occupied that small corner.
The Rangers board walked away from option four, under pressure from their own support to do so. Their preference for option 2 is simply not working for Celtic and option 3, although rumoured to be a Celtic suggestion, simply increases the extent of the trouble.
If the reports that one 100 seats have been broken and many thrown Celtic supporters then the only viable way forward is to remove the away allocation for next season and perhaps give them that season to consider acting like a responsible football club and doing all that they can to make sure that their fans behave. As their club not only tolerate but encourage the behaviour witnessed by the Celtic support on Sunday then we should simply not allow these animals anywhere near our Paradise.
And them briefing the Daily Record earlier today doesn’t change the facts and Celtic will have plenty of CCTV footage to show exactly what happened.
Aye right pic.twitter.com/n8dC5s86zF
— TimMaloy (@TimMaloy15) May 3, 2022