Celtic has been allowed 2000 fans for the game at Parkhead, against Preston, a week tomorrow.
2000 fans isn’t a lot but it’s a phased return and this is sort of the test case.
There is a sting in the tale though, above and beyond the paltry number, and something we’ll need to keep in mind for the future.
The club says that it will split the tickets between season ticket holders and “contractual obligations.”
So it’s not known just how many of our fans will actually see the match and how many of these tickets are going to go to corporate interests as a priority.
There will also be a requirement for fans to print their tickets at home.
This is another example of how our club now caters overwhelmingly to the internet generation above all else. It’s never been made clear how fans without access to online facilities should proceed.
These questions need to be urgently asked and answered, and fans made aware of what the arrangements will be. It’s too late to matter for this one.
The number of tickets is also vanishingly small, and ridiculous when you consider that 12,000 fans were permitted to attend Hampden for fixtures in the Euros.
There are serious questions to answer over that, and especially if our allocation remains limited in this way.
Look, I’m the last person who’s going to make a case for fans being allowed a free-for-all return.
I am stunned at the utter recklessness being displayed by the UK government in scaling back isolation protocols, removing the requirement for masks and other changes which make a fourth wave almost inevitable.
Scotland seems to want to move more slowly, and it should.
But how are we expected to know what’s safe and what isn’t without larger scale events?
Celtic might see this as a preparatory event, but what lessons can be learned from having a mere 2000 people in a 60,000 seater ground?
Surely numbers more comparable to those allowed at the National Stadium would have been better, and more likely to inform future decisions?
The news that fans will be able to use Celtic Park as a vaccination centre is welcome and shows that the government continues to think sensibly about this stuff … but this is not an abundance of caution as much as self-defeating nonsense.
If 12,000 fans were able to attend the Euros and only a sixth of that are able to attend a club friendly, then that’s not dictated by science but by politics and fans – of all clubs – are entitled to ask what in the Hell that’s about and how it can be remotely justified.