Bhoys Celtic have released a statement after yesterday’s 5-1 win away to St Mirren. The Scottish Champions came from behind to beat the Paisley club thanks to goals from Jota, Alistair Johnston, Liel Abada, Matt O’Riley and Oh. However, the prominent supporters issued a statement on Instagram calling out the decision by St Mirren to give just one stand to the largest support in the country.
Celtic received just 1,473 tickets for the game at the SMISA Stadium, leaving a large number of willing supporters without a ticket. Some found their way into the home end but the vast majority were forced to watch from home, pubs and clubs.
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The Bhoys took aim at the decision to cut the allocation and the subsequent failure to fill the seats.
“Again we saw the ridiculous situation of hundreds of empty seats in the home end while plenty of Celtic fans had to make do with watching the game in the house or, in the case of the many who made their way to the stadium without tickets, local pubs. Others managed to slip into the home end.
“St Mirren fans actually paid more on their season tickets to ensure their club wouldn’t give Celtic and “the other mob” a bigger away allocation. We can be corrected if wrong but the tickets that are no longer given to us are then distributed, for free, to local community groups – a seemingly noble endeavour. However, considering the amount of empty seats, it seems a lot of these community groups simply aren’t interested. The tickets literally cannot be given away and a decent proportion of those that can be, end up in the hands of Celtic supporters anyway.
“The small time, Scottish Footballification of the situation is made even worse by the fact there is, on the face of it, an active ultra group at St Mirren. Surely they would rather a seat was taken by a match going supporter than it lying empty? Or are they just there to make a bit of noise and posture?
“We’ve heard the argument that it is their club and therefore their rules. Whilst that is true, what advantage is actually being gained from it? Certainly not home advantage going by the scoreline.
“Surely a rethink is in order? The concept of home fans paying more money to prevent more away fans from seeing their team needs binned. If there is space to accommodate fans who want to watch their team then it should happen.
“Maybe those in charge of clubs like St Mirren should start thinking outside the box on how to attract and retain the support of their local town rather than blaming clubs like ours for their long term failure to do so.”
St Mirren have asked their supporters to pay £30 to make sure that the club do not see the fiscal impact upon the club’s coffers. The decision is roughly one of taking a £200k loss at every game that Celtic/Rangers visit. For a team of The Buddies’ size, it is verging upon irresponsible.
Some teams have taken a pragmatic view on away allocations in the past, namely Livingston and St Johnstone (pre-COVID). Teams are looking for ways to maximise their income and, in these challenging times, cutting off your nose to spite your face seems ill-advised.