Rangers boost as two pilot matches in Scotland confirmed this weekend
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Rangers boost as two pilot matches in Scotland confirmed this weekend

The SPFL have confirmed two pilot matches are set to take place in Scotland this weekend in what is a major boost to Rangers’ hopes of getting fans back Ibrox.

The pilots will see supporters return to Scottish stadia for the first time since the Gers played Bayer Leverkusen at Ibrox in March and are a positive step to reopening grounds amid the Covid pandemic.

Rangers are eager to see fans return to Ibrox Stadium as quickly and as safely as possible. (Photo by Willie Vass/Pool via Getty Images)

Rangers were handed a boost by Aberdeen earlier in the week when the club announced they were awaiting confirmation to be allowed 300 fans into Pittodrie for the visit of Killie this weekend.

Ross County’s match against Celtic in Dingwall will also be played in front of supporters with 300 County fans set to gain access to the stadium.

An SPFL Coronavirus Response Group statement said:

“The Joint Response Group is pleased to have received approval from Scottish Ministers for two pilot matches to take place with a maximum of 300 home supporters in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday 12 September. 

“Both of the home clubs will also provide a post-match report on operational delivery to inform guidance for future pilots and the general resumption of supporters outlined in the Scottish Government Route Map out of the COVID-19 crisis.”

The decision to run the pilot matches comes after Rangers had originally hoped to see fans visit Ibrox this weekend for the match against Dundee United.

But after Glasgow was placed under stricter lockdown protocols a government official appeared to make a call on this last week.

“We are engaged with representatives from a range of sporting bodies for a small number of pilot events to examine the feasibility of having spectators in stadia and planning has been underway for a number of months to allow this to happen,” said a Scottish Government representative [Daily Mail].

Rangers’ Europa League tie with Bayer Leverkusen on 12th March was the last time a game was played in front of fans. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

“Discussions are still underway and further updates will be provided to stakeholders in due course but we are clear no proposed test events will take place within the three council areas for the duration of the restrictions.”

Rangers will now need to wait to get fans through the turnstiles at Ibrox but this is a positive step in the right direction as the club celebrate three straight years of sell-out season ticket sales.