Celtic may refuse tickets for Old Firm clash with Rangers
By Mark Benstead
Last Updated: 21/11/18 11:05pm
Celtic may turn down their allocation of tickets for the Glasgow derby against Rangers at Ibrox on December 29 because of safety fears for their fans.
The issue of security in and around meetings between Celtic and their Glasgow rivals Rangers was raised at the club's AGM on Wednesday, and chief executive Peter Lawwell told shareholders they will advise fans not to attend the game if they feel there are safety concerns ahead of the trip to Ibrox.
The issue was raised during the shareholders Q&A in relation to problems encountered during the first Old Firm match of the season at Celtic Park.
This was the first game to see a reduced allocation of tickets for away supporters, and as a result changes to the segregation of fans.
These changes caused hundreds of people to be caught in a two-way crush in the corridor under the stadium's North Stand.
Five people were hurt trying to get into that game and the club subsequently ordered a review into the incident.
The changes to the allocation were prompted when Rangers cut Celtic's away allocation in May, and their city rivals responded in kind by offering away fans fewer tickets for the September meeting in Glasgow's East End.
Celtic are to consult Rangers' Safety Officer and Police Scotland regarding plans for the game, and will then listen to feedback from supporters.
Lawwell also admitted that should they take the allocation for the match on December 29th, they are exploring whether Celtic fans could be bused in and out of Ibrox, from Celtic Park.
The club later issued a statement on their website that said: "The forthcoming Premiership match at Ibrox on December 29, in which the allocation of tickets for Celtic supporters has been cut to around 800, was raised, with shareholders expressing their concern for the safety of Celtic fans who would attend the game.
"The club confirmed that there are ongoing discussions with the relevant bodies, as well as supporters' groups, before making a final decision on whether to recommend that no tickets should be taken for the fixture.
"The safety of Celtic supporters is always the number one priority for the board, something which was also stressed when crowding problems at the Celtic v Rangers game at Celtic Park back in September was raised."
The issue of sectarian singing amongst the club's away support was also raised during the Q&A, with calls from one shareholder for the board to tackle, what he saw as a growing problem. The Celtic CEO agreed that the singing of the away support "had deteriorated" recently, and said that such chanting was dragging the club down.
Football matters were also discussed at the AGM with Lawwell admitted that the club's efforts in the summer transfer window were "frustrating".
Celtic were criticised by many supporters for what was perceived to be a lack of business, indeed the club's manager Brendan Rodgers also expressed his concerns over a lack of new additions during the summer.