CELTIC fans are on the brink of being allowed back into Parkhead after being locked out since the 5-0 win over St Mirren on March 7 2020.
Jason Leitch, the national clinical director, has revealed capacity crowds could return to football stadiums by early August.
Hoops’ new chief executive Dominic McKay admitted a couple of days ago that he had held positive discussions with the Scottish Government on the possibility of supporters receiving the green light to get back into grounds.
Leitch confirmed in an interview this morning on the BBC Sunday Show that this may well be the case as he delivered the news all Celtic followers have been waiting for – and, of course, fans of every club throughout the country.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled plans for Scottish ‘Freedom Day’ on August 9 when all major Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted.
FLASHBACK MARCH 7 2020…Leigh Griffiths saultes the fans on his way to a hat-trick.
And, if that remains on schedule, then the weekend of August 14/15 – when the Premier Sports League Cup second round is due – could be played in front of capacity crowds.
Coincidentally, Hoops followers’ may get the opportunity to watch the Premiership encounter with St Mirren on August 21 – an action replay of their last league clash in the east end of Glasgow 17 months earlier.
Around 12,000 fans have attended three Euro 2020 fixtures – two involving Scotland – at Hampden and the same is expected for the Sweden v Ukraine last-16 tie on Tuesday.
Asked if football stadiums will be full after August 9, Leitch replied: “Yes, they can on August 10, but we’ve had to learn that new word, that indicative word, so we have given advice that with a fair wind the trajectory we are presently on with vaccinations, remember, we are vaccinating 300,000 people every 10 days, so that’s a lot of vaccine and this six weeks buys us quite a lot of vaccine time.
FLASHBACK MARCH 7 2020…Odsonne Edouard slots in a strike for goal No.28 of the curtailed campaign.
FLASHBACK MARCH 7 2020…Callum McGregor sweeps in a penalty-kick for the fifth and final strike against St Mirren – the last time a crowd witnessed a Celtic goal at Parkhead.
“If people come and that’s the important thing people can do then, yes, we hope August 9 and 10 can happen.
“On August 9, the level system disappears, unless, for instance, there were particular hotspots or the country didn’t do what we hope it will do. Maybe vaccinations slow down for some reason.
“It’s a little bit indicative, then on August 9 all physical distancing is removed and the limits on event sizes are removed.”
Asked for a second time if football would be back again at full capacity, he added: “Yes, but you are making me sweat.”
Celtic legend Davie Hay was among many observers last season who thought the team suffered more than most with the absence of crowds at Parkhead.
Back on March 6, in another CQN EXCLUSIVE, the former manager, player and current club ambassador said: “I’ve played in teams that have been struggling and the players have been on their knees, but those supporters have given us oxygen.
“When I first came into the team, Wee Bertie Auld took me aside and said: ‘Son, see those guys on the terracing – they’re our twelfth man. They’ll be behind you all the way’. As usual, Wee Bertie was spot on.”
Now the greatest fans in the game can rally to the cause again in August.