Celtic manager Neil Lennon has pleaded with the SPFL to move the first Old Firm game of the 2020/21 season so that fans can attend – and Rangers should resist any moves to follow it through.
The Celtic boss claimed it is what “everyone would want” but it would be a huge slap in the face to the clubs who will miss out on their own home game against Rangers having supporters – and the financial boost it can bring.
With the prospect of fans being locked of games until next year at the earliest, and still no firm date of when they will get to return, it could end up with all four Old Firm games having to be pushed back until the new year.
Lennon thinks TV companies, the clubs and “everyone associated” would want the fixture moved until the gates can be opened.
“Should the first Old Firm game be pushed back? I think that’s what everyone would want,” Lennon said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“Everyone associated with the game would want it and so would the clubs. I’m sure the TV companies would want it as well.”
Having fans there undoubtedly makes for a far better spectacle but everyone is going to have suffer the consequences of games returning behind closed doors and there shouldn’t be concessions made to allow Celtic to financially benefit when many others will have lost out.
If it is formally suggested by Celtic, Rangers must do everything they can to oppose it and keep the fixtures resembling some sort of normality.
Moving the Old Firm to allow fans to enter would also surely open the floodgates for other clubs to request similar treatment when it comes to certain games.
With reports suggesting Murrayfield could be used by Hearts and/or Hibs, would either of the Edinburgh sides want to miss out on the potential payday when one of the Old Firm come to town?
Rangers took around 14,000 fans to Murrayfield last time they faced Hearts there as Tynecastle was renovated and you wouldn’t bet against fans heading across the M8 in even greater numbers if allocations allow.
Nobody will argue that the SPFL have already had an utterly shambolic summer so far but this would be a step too far even for them.