The Scottish Police Federation and anti-sectarianism charity Nil By Mouth have called for Old Firm games to be moved to weekdays after trouble flared in Glasgow following Sunday’s meeting between Rangers and Celtic.
After an ill-tempered 90 minutes on the pitch, there were several incidents away from the ground later in the evening – including an organised brawl which saw three men stabbed.
Despite claims that the Old Firm game was responsible for some of the worst scenes in “15-20 years” according to Hamilton, there were only six arrests at the game from a crowd of 58,773 inside Celtic Park.
Some of the scenes witnessed well after the game were deplorable however there is little the clubs or the football authorities can do to deal with the behaviour of fans well after the game has finished and, sometimes, in towns far removed from where the game was actually played.
The nature of the Old Firm – and Scotland’s relationship with alcohol – is such that regardless of whether it is played at 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon or 3 am on a Tuesday, there will always be a minority who will use it as an excuse to get blind drunk.
If they are serious about dealing with the disorder seen away from the ground on Old Firm day, then they will put more focus on the real cause of the issue – Scotland’s toxic relationship with booze – rather than trying to pin it on the time a football match kicks off.