The Welsh Government moved further and faster than the other Home Nations for the second time this month last night when they dropped another major bombshell in the war against Omicron.
A week after they imposed vaccine passports across every sector of hospitality, they followed it up with a declaration that all sporting events will take place behind closed doors from Boxing Day.
We all know what games that would impact; St Johnstone away and the Ibrox club at home.
If one of the Home Nations is considering this the rest aren’t far behind.
English football made a commitment to complete its fixtures yesterday; it did not commit to doing it in front of full houses. We are much closer to the kind of action we all dread than most thought.
Restrictions are imminent.
I would be astounded – absolutely astounded – if we get fans at Celtic Park for that game now with the way things are at the moment. It is a terrible situation for us to be in, a dreadful thing to have to contemplate, but the Welsh are doing it and England is not far behind. Our citizens would be entitled to ask why we, alone, were taking the risk.
It is a ghastly thing to have to contemplate, but it’s been obvious for a few weeks that something like this was in the offing.
I suppose the governing bodies could postpone the game and sign Scottish football off from Boxing Day and pick it up after the break, but when? And is there any guarantee that things will look any better next month than now?
I don’t see any value in a short circuit breaker lockdown only for the world to go back to normal in two weeks, as if that’ll stop this thing in its tracks. If we go into a new phase of restrictions, it’s not going to be a quick in and out. We could be stuck with it for months.
There is no sense in kidding ourselves on about that.
For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this, grimly aware that we were marching towards it with our eyes shut. Johnson himself, more afraid of his own backbench MP’s than he is of the deaths of thousands of people, will put it off until after Christmas but there’s no way we’ll be having anything like a “normal” New Year.
I’m resigned to losing the Celtic Park game.
It makes me sick, it pisses me off, it is frustrating beyond belief … and I think it’s as near certain as anything can be, and although not happy about where we are I accept that it’s probably for the best.
But that doesn’t make me feel even 1% better.
This is a disaster, all of it, the last thing Celtic wanted or needed, the last thing any of us wanted or needed.
The Ibrox mob must be pissing themselves laughing; they have tried to take advantage of this crisis at every turn, and I have no doubt they will have already expressed their “support” for a closed door game.
For the rest of us, this is a sickening blow.
For them it’s just another opportunity.