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Rangers issue statement in response to Nicola Sturgeon demand ahead of Celtic clash

Nicola Sturgeon grilled by Rennie over celebrating Rangers fans

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Rangers have urged fans to steer clear from Celtic Park this weekend over fears there could be a repeat of the scenes when some supporters flouted lockdown regulations in celebrating their title win. Rangers have brought an end to Celtic’s nine-year dominance in Scottish football this season in emphatic fashion.

Unfortunately for Steven Gerrard’s side, they’ve had to do so without their fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But when Rangers were confirmed as champions earlier this month, thousands of fans gathered to celebrate their title win.

Sturgeon condemned the scenes with a decision still to be made on whether this weekend’s Old Firm derby will be cancelled.

The game is due to go ahead at Parkhead on Sunday with a 12pm kick-off.

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Gerrard and a few of the Rangers players pleaded with fans last weekend to abide by lockdown regulations.

And Rangers have now issued a statement having met with a number of people in the hope that the game against Celtic will go ahead as planned without any issues.

It read: “Rangers can confirm that we met with supporters groups and key influencers this morning, in relation to the Old Firm game at Parkhead on Sunday.

“We are very pleased that our support is fully aligned on our messaging which has been underlined by both our manager and captain over the weekend.

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“Stay at home. Stay safe. Support the NHS. Support Rangers.”

Sturgeon has admitted that she doesn’t want to have to cancel the match, but insists such measures may be needed if lockdown restrictions are broken again.

“No final decision has been made yet. I welcome the statements made by both Rangers and Celtic,” Sturgeon said.

“Of course it was Rangers fans who were gathering a week ago.

“I hope the clubs will continue that over the next couple of days. It can’t just be one statement and then it’s done. As we know, from our experience of the last year, these communications are really important on an ongoing basis.

“I spoke to the chief constable last week about his views on what might transpire if the Old Firm match goes ahead. The Justice Secretary has been in contact with the police and we will be in further contact with the police as this week goes on.

“They will have intelligence of their own about whether it appears to them that fans in the main are following the advice of the clubs and staying at home, or whether there’s a significant risk of fans coming out to gather.

“On the basis of all of that we will have to make a judgement.”

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