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CRISIS TALKS WITH CELTIC GAME UNDER THREAT

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THE Glasgow derby at Parkhead a week on Sunday is under threat.

The unacceptable law-breaking scenes that erupted following the Govan club’s title win after nine years of Celtic domination will spark crisis talks between the government and the Scottish football authorities.

There are grave concerns lockdown guidelines will be ignored again as was clearly seen outside Ibrox and George Square as unruly supporters were on the rampage during a night of destruction and mayhem.

Hampden chiefs Ian Maxwell and Neil Doncaster have been urged to hold a crucial video conference call with minister for public health, sport and wellbeing Mairi Gougeon to discuss the total disregard for Covid protocols by thousands of followers of Steven Gerrard’s club, according to a report in the Daily Record.

Images of the mass gatherings brought a stinging rebuke from a furious John Swinney, the deputy First Minister, at yesterday’s daily coronavirus briefing.

There was also a warning that clubs and football’s governing bodies will have to satisfy Holyrood that no breaches will be repeated between now and the end of the season which is due to be completed with the Scottish Cup Final on May 22.

Swinney stressed that he could “rule nothing out” as he slammed the Ibrox club for failing to demand that their supporters dispersed from outside Ibrox and the city’s George Square

His threatening remarks were followed up by Gougeon who contacted SFA chief executive Maxwell and his SPFL counterpart Doncaster to discuss what action can be taken in order to prevent more supporters risking public health by turning up in large numbers and flouting the rules.

The SFA supremo could be pressurised into making an example of the club by taking stringent disciplinary measures.

Clearly, the government, police and health officials are concerned that fans could be in the vicinity of Celtic Park on March 21 with the potential for serious public order issues.

Former Celtic and Scotland international midfielder Kris Commons aimed a verbal onslaught at the gross misbehaviour and scant concern from Govan followers, as CQN reported yesterday.

Earlier in the day, Swinney opened up the daily briefing with a blast at Gerrard’s club condemning the scenes as a “disgrace” and “shameful”.

He said: “We are going to engage once again with clubs about their obligations to support the wider messaging that’s in place to enforce what is the law in the country about staying at home and avoiding crowded places.

“So, we’ll engage with the clubs, the football authorities and also police Scotland on all of these questions to ensure that everyone plays their part in trying to avoid situations of this type.

“There are a number of different landmark events that come up in the football calendar in the next few weeks and we’ve got to be satisfied we don’t run the risk of a repeat of what we saw at the weekend

“We’ll be engaged in those discussions and if there is a need for further action to be taken the government will obviously consider that. I’m certainly not going to rule anything out today.”

Swinney also attacked the Ibrox hierarchy for failing to act when the crowds began to gather adding: “The silence from Rangers was deafening and that is a matter of profound regret.”

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