Critics react to the lack of away fans for Celtic and Rangers League matches

Earlier this week, The Herald revealed that there will be no overseas allocations at Ibrox or Celtic Park for the rest of the season.

After discussions between the clubs, it was decided that the matches would be fans only at home for at least the remainder of this period.

It is understood that the decision to ban fans has now been taken in order to save time to find solutions to sort out the different arrangements at both stadiums.

The decision sparked differences of opinion over the situation, with Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou saying matches were a “better spectacle” with away fans.

He told Sky Sports: “I’m not fully aware of every detail. I’m sure the club is dealing with that.”

“I’ve said in the past that I think that makes for a better scene (with extraterrestrial audiences).

“This decision has been made, I think, with all the information available.

“The nice thing about it is we got a 50-50 match at Hampden. Let’s look forward to that.”

Read more: McGregor on Celtic draws parallels with Scotland and the return of Ryan Jack

Ex-Rangers and Celtic striker Kenny Miller agrees with the assessment, calling for clubs to “overcome individual superiority” and agree to return lost allowances.

Miller insisted that crowds play a large part in the match, and stated that the match would be “dampened” by the decision over crowds and could contribute to the loss of “electricity” to the occasion.

Talking to Daily logHe said: “The Old Firm match is widely regarded as the best derby in world football. But we are now in real danger of curtailing this fixture by not having overseas fans at Ibrox or Parkhead.”

“The reason it’s the biggest derby around the world is because of the fierce rivalry. Not because Rangers and Celtic are the two biggest teams or the two best teams.

“It’s because of the history and the traditions around it – and the fact that they’re constantly competing against each other for trophies. The fans play a huge part in that and that’s why I don’t like this decision at all.

“When there is no outside support, you lose the energy and the electricity that makes it what it is. Some of the biggest moments of my career have been scoring for Rangers at Celtic Park and running to the end.”

He added, “Removing the fans creates the atmosphere in the stadium, especially when you score a goal for them, and I don’t care about the reasons behind this decision or the politics involved.

“Look at the bigger picture of what an ancient team it is and a rivalry that has been around for over a hundred years. This is a unique city, Glasgow, where football is a way of life. You are either one or the other, there is no middle ground.

“That generates everything that goes into an Old Firm derby.

“I really hope the two clubs can come together, get over this individual skill and level it. They have to get the game back to what it should be.”

Read more: Ange Postecoglou saddles Celtic and Rangers away from fan bans

For Celtic hero Kenny Dalglish, the ideal scenario would be a return to the full ticket allotment of 8,000 tickets at both stadiums.

However, the former Scotland striker understands capacity was previously reduced to around 700 to accommodate season ticket holders in seasons past.

And he accepted if the decision was based on the principles of safety for his supporters, then it must be respected.

In the Sunday Post, Dalglish wrote: “I’d rather have it back than it used to be, when Celtic had 7,000 or 8,000 at Ibrox and Rangers had the same number at Parkhead.

“It changed a few years ago when Rangers cut the crowd to 800 to make sure season ticket holders get priority.

“It was unfortunate, but I can understand where they were coming from. Then Celtic followed suit.

“We are now at a stage where there will be no visiting fans for the next two league games and that will dampen the atmosphere. It will be a great game – but a little bit has been taken away.

“But if it’s about putting fans’ safety first, then you have to respect that. All fans should feel safe, and be safe, when they go to football.”

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