CELTIC are making arrangements to accommodate crowds of 30,000 at Parkhead by the end of August.

The anticipated reduction of the two-metre rule by the Scottish Government could see fans being allowed back into football grounds throughout the country.

The champions will kick off their bid for a history-making TENTH successive title on the scheduled date of Saturday, August 1.

However, at the start of the new campaign, the Hoops will, of course, have to play their matches behind closed doors.

With the Scottish Government confirming plans to allow live outdoor events with social distancing as early as July 23, hopes are rising that supporters could return to games in significant numbers within weeks.

SFA chief executive Neil Doncaster, speaking to the Daily Mail, said: “This is a vital step everyone in Scottish football has been waiting for. We are not taking anything for granted and are committed to adhering to all relevant medical and government guidelines, but clubs and supporters can definitely now see light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Hoops hierarchy teamed up with Scottish Rugby Union bosses to employ outside consultants to examine how getting fans back in stadiums might work and, with the lowering of the two-metre rule expected a week today, the best case scenario would see fans back in bio secure arenas within nine weeks.

In a statement welcoming yesterday’s government announcements on behalf of the Joint Response Group, SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell commented: “Today’s news is welcome by the JRG and I am sure everyone involved in Scottish football from professional to grassroots level.

“While we must proceed with caution and respect the government’s current public health advice, nonetheless the First Minister’s announcement today gives confidence that, as the virus diminishes in Scotland, we can prepare for the gradual return of fans into stadia.”

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