How Celtic can turn the tables on the away allocation stand-off with Ibrox club

Celtic will of course refuse the paltry allocation of 700 tickets for Ibrox for this season and despite this afternoon’s ‘exclusives’ flying around the mainstream media, this isn’t news at all and is merely the stated position from Celtic taken after initially going along with the Ibrox reduction in allocation which was then reciprocated at Celtic Park, then reconsidering after a series of violent incidents at Ibrox.

While the only incident of note at Celtic Park since the traditional allocations were cut at both stadiums – at the insistence of the latest Ibrox club – was the Janefield Street Crush as the dynamics around the stadium changed for the first smaller allocation match at Parkhead and this resulted in too many supporters trying to make their way through the North Stand underpass as the same time. This was caused by the usual access to the Lisbon Lions send for Celtic fans having been closed off to accommodate a tiny number (800) of fans of theRangers.

At Ibrox the situation has been different and a Celtic fan having his head split open in January this year was the final straw for the 700/800 away allocation plan which was of theRangers devising because their supporters reckoned that they had a better chance of winning the Glasgow Derby matches at Ibrox and then even of they lost at Celtic Park it would come down to who does best against the others sides in the league. It was debated, planned, campaigned for and ultimately implemented and it’s all there for anyone to check on their leading forum.

It was also discussed on this Daily Record podcast which is well worth listen:

This has been an ongoing issue ever since the newest Ibrox entity cut the Parkhead club’s tickets, following an Odsonne Edouard goal against them at home when Celtic had been reduced to 10-men.

It is now being widely reported in the mainstream media that the Hoops are about to reject the chance to have around 700 tickets for the away fixtures at Ibrox this coming Scottish Premiership campaign but that was exactly the position Celtic made clear earlier in the year after the latest violent incidents at their ground. It’s a move that will no doubt be welcomed by the majority of the club’s supporters in the aftermath of some terrible incidents of violence towards our players and fans.

Safety concerns had been raised by the Celtic heirarchy after a spate of violent flare-ups from theRangers crowd towards the visiting players and supportes of the Hoops. Joe Hart had to pick broken glass out of his goalmouth a couple of years back and one Celtic supporter was bottled at the New Year fixture this year.

The Rangers Board have shamelessly tried to paint this as if it is an issue between the two clubs. However, everyone knows truly who the culprit is in this scenario and whilst their supporters being unable to take being second best is a big part of it, so is the extra revenue they generate by selling season tickets to help keep the lights on – for now.

What Celtic should do is as follows:

a) Accept that the traditional allocation is NOT coming back anytime soon. Season tickets have indeed been sold and it will take time and probably money (which theRangers don’t appear to have) to resolve to where things used to be.

b) Confirm that the favoured 700/800 plan devised at Ibrox is never going to be acceptable to Celtic who have a duty of care to their own supporters and selling them tickets for a knowingly dangerous situation is reckless and unacceptable.

c) Offer a pragmatic Celtic solution based on the number of away fans that clubs receive for European matches, ie the same allocation as Liverpool received at Ibrox last season. Celtic can match this pro-rata so for 1800 Celtic fans going to Ibrox they maybe get 2000 fans coming to Celtic Park for the New Year match.

d) Engage in some effective public relations (no laughing at the back) and ‘sell’ this attractive prospect to theRangers support, which will of course if effective see an increase in the number of their fans who want a higher allocation speaking up and making themselves heard. And incidentally their plan has NEVER worked, the one season that they actually won the league was when there were no fans inside grounds due to Covid.

A Celtic positive plan to find a solution to this will get headlines and maybe even work. Just rejecting again their ticket allocation of 700 is just repeating a position that cannot change. Celtic can’t let our fans go back there in such small numbers.

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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