Scottish Cup final: Hibernian and St Johnstone supporters have been told to follow coronavirus restrictions

Hibernian face St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park behind closed doors; both clubs have asked fans to follow lockdown rules; Police Scotland and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also urge supporters to enjoy game safely

Hampden Park has been permitted to welcome around 12,000 supporters per game for the European Championships
Image: Hampden Park will be empty for Saturday's Scottish Cup final

Hibernian and St Johnstone fans have been warned to obey coronavirus restrictions and not gather in large groups ahead of the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

The match will take place behind closed doors at Hampden Park after further lockdown easing was postponed in Glasgow.

Plans for a crowd of 600 were announced last week before being called off 24 hours later after the Scottish Government announced that Glasgow would remain under Level 3 restrictions, following a fresh surge of Covid-19 cases.

Image: Aberdeen offered Pittodrie as an alternative ground to hold the match with fans

    Police Scotland and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon both warned fans to avoid mass gatherings while both clubs wrote to supporters.

    Hibernian owner Ron Gordon said: "We have missed you terribly - Easter Road craves your energy, passion, hope and belief in Hibernian.

    "We are very much looking forward to seeing you again at Easter Road early next season, we will welcome you home with open arms.

    EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 20: Hibs Owner Ron Gordon during a Ladbrokes Premiership match between Hibernian and Rangers, at Easter Road, on December 20, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
    Image: Gordon says Hibs are looking forward to supporters returning when it is safe

    "I also want to ask one more time for your support and patience. Please, cheer the team on, but please do it with your friends and your family and do it within the Government restrictions that are there to protect us all.

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    "Let's not be part of anything that risks the progress made in tackling the pandemic."

    In a lengthy statement, St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown added: "We are in the Scottish Cup Final and trying to complete an extraordinary achievement of winning both domestic Cup competitions.

    "Unfortunately, due to Glasgow remaining in level 3 under the Covid-19 restrictions, our supporters are not allowed inside Hampden Park. But we know you will be cheering on Callum and the players from near and far.

    Image: Brown says the match is "one of the most important" in St Johnstone's history

    "All that we ask is that you remember to follow the Scottish Government guidelines during these unprecedented times. Please resist any urge to gather at McDiarmid Park tomorrow before, during or after the game."

    Sturgeon also acknowledged the enormity of the occasion for both clubs but added: "For supporters of the winning team in particular, and may the best team win, but for the winning team in particular, remember that no one, including fans, should be congregating anywhere in large numbers at the moment.

    "So please enjoy the game. Celebrate if your team wins, but for your own sake and the safety of others, please do so safely. And that is something that I urge on every football fan watching the game tomorrow."

    SNS - GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 02: Hampden Park is pictured on April 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group) 0:49
    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reminded Hibernian and St Johnstone fans to follow government guidelines ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup final

    Police Scotland condemned celebrations in Glasgow last weekend after Rangers were presented with the Premiership trophy and echoed the appeal for Hibs and St Johnstone fans to follow the rules.

    "The Scottish Cup Final on Saturday is an important day for everyone involved with St Johnstone and Hibernian football clubs and we will have an appropriate policing plan in place to maintain public safety," said assistant chief constable Alan Speirs.

    "It is vitally important that both sets of fans avoid gathering in large groups and stick to the regulations in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    "Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but officers will not hesitate to use enforcement powers as a last resort."

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