Fears Celtic and Rangers fans could defy coronavirus rules to drink and fight
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Fears are growing that a minority of Celtic and Ranger s fans will drink and fight in secret locations in defiance of the coronavirus restrictions.
The first Old Firm derby of the season on Saturday lunchtime coincides with the closure of pubs and a ban on household visits.
There have even been calls from MPs to postpone the game amid worries supporters will congregate in private homes or travel down to Blackpool to watch the game in boozers south of the border.
Fighting and arrests in Glasgow have previously occurred around Old Firm games.
But there are some who are dreading history repeating itself despite no fans being in the ground or in the pubs.
One person tweeted: "I see some organising a bus to Carlisle to watch the Celtic vs Rangers game. Not giving a f*** about safety and other people's health. Just intent on getting drunk and causing trouble."
Another social media user warned: "If Herr Sturgeon thinks Old Firm fans won't ignore her pleas and either meet in each other's homes or flock over the border to pubs in Carlisle and Blackpool to watch the match – then she's even more deluded than I gave her credit (for)."
One Rangers fan also claimed pubs in the Scottish town of Paisley are screening the big game.
From October 9 Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon closed pubs north of the border in a bid to get on top of the rising coronavirus infection rate.
There is also a ban in place on mixing between households.
Robert Marshall, landlord of the Louden Tavern which is next to Rangers' Ibrox stadium, hopes fans will follow the rules but reckons it is inevitable some will slip through the cracks.
He told Daily Star Online: "I would hope fans would not meet in homes.
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"But there are always some exceptions who ruin it for everyone else. I hope pubs won't be going against the law and opening – we certainly won't be.
"We all need the money but the health of the city is more important."
On Friday Ms Sturgeon felt forced to remind fans not to go to their friends' houses, not to gather outside Parkhead where the game is taking place and also not to travel to watch the match at pubs in England.
She said: "Nobody likes the fact that these restrictions have to be in place, but they are vital to protecting all of us and keeping us safe.
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"And you'll be helping hasten the day when we can all watch and enjoy the things that we love doing whether that's football or the many things that we find ourselves not able to do normally.
"Watching football, no matter how essential it may feel for some, does not fall into that essential category (visiting others in their homes)."
Scottish MP Ian Murray even called for the game to be postponed amid fears fans would break the Covid-19 restrictions to see the game.
He said: "It is extraordinary that the football match, regardless of what kind of football match or any sporting event or cultural event for that matter, is a threat to public health it should be postponed.
“Rather than the First Minister saying that she’s concerned that it might spread Covid and she is concerned that and it might tempt people to breach the strict rules that are in place, particularly across the central belt with households mixing and people moving around.
"If that is the case, then surely postponement is the way to do this.”
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