CELTIC’S move for the Premiership winter break to be brought forward was ratified by the SPFL board this evening.

It means the second Glasgow derby of the season against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox side at Parkhead will be switched from noon on Sunday January 2 to a 7.45pm kick-off on Wednesday February 2.

The top-flight clubs will now begin their three weeks off after the Boxing Day round of fixtures in light of new restrictions from the Scottish Government.

The Hoops will face St Johnstone in Perth in front of 500 fans on Sunday and will then go into their 21-day rest period with the next match due against Alloa in the Scottish Cup on Saturday January 22.

The Premiership fixture against Hibs which was due a week tonight will now be played on Monday January 17 with a 7.45pm kick-off in the east end of Glasgow.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday all outdoor events in the country will be limited to 500 spectators from December 26 for “up to three weeks”.

The SPFL board made a majority decision after telling clubs to submit their preference by 5pm last night.

The three options were to pause as planned after January 3, start the break after Boxing Day fixtures or begin the hiatus before Sunday’s games.

The SPFL board had encouraged clubs not to vote for the last option as there were few slots available to reschedule the December 26 fixtures.

It is understood 10 out of the 12 Premiership clubs wanted the winter break brought forward with the Ibrox club and Ross County against the logical switch.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, speaking in a statement, said: “We have had intense and positive discussions with all cinch SPFL clubs over the past 24 hours, since the announcement by the Scottish Government of a three-week period of restrictions on fans attending matches.

“We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar.

“There are mixed views amongst cinch Premiership clubs about what to do for the best.

“However, a majority favour the postponement of fixtures to give a chance for games scheduled to be played over the festive period to be played in front of fans, once the three-week period of restrictions comes to an end.

“The SPFL board has agreed to postpone the 29 December and New Year cinch Premiership fixture cards.

“Cinch Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs voted to continue playing through the Government restrictions and we look forward to their festive fixtures over the next fortnight.

“We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sky Sports and Police Scotland for their flexibility in accommodating these changes and to all cinch SPFL clubs for their clear, positive and constructive feedback as we work together to get through the challenges posed by Covid-19.”

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