The Scottish Government have announced that the return of Scottish football fans, and in turn Rangers supporters, will be put on the back burner until October as new Covid-19 guidelines are introduced.
Aberdeen and Ross County were originally supposed to see their ties with Motherwell and Celtic go ahead with 300 fans in attendance this weekend but that has now been rebuffed by the Government.
With that in mind, is it time Rangers fans and other supporters across Scottish football came to terms with an uncomfortable truth about 2020?
With lockdown restrictions tightening – and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon adamant Scotland will be in stage three for a while – having fans inside stadiums may be seriously difficult to achieve this year.
Factor in the change in weather and the potential for larger outbreaks and the idea that Rangers fans could be back into Ibrox before the turn of the year seems fanciful at best.
I’m no epidemiologist and like every bluenose is hoping for a fair wind with this frustrating situation but logic appears to dictate that we’ll probably go back the way from here, instead of forward.
It’s not impossible, but it’s absolutely true that getting fans back into grounds is no certainty and there are growing fears it might not happen this year.
Nicola Sturgeon warned the Scottish public that a March style lockdown is very much possible come the winter months. This isn’t going away any time soon.
What a shame it would be if Rangers fans couldn’t attend the stadium for the first half of the season after selling out the season tickets for a third year on the bounce.
Rangers remain optimistic that the club can get bums back on seats this year as they thanked fans for their commitment during this time of societal and economic uncertainty.
“I have been continually astonished by the passion and loyalty that our supporters show our club,” said managing director Stewart Robertson [Rangers].
“Time and again, our supporters surpass expectations, may that be for retail purchases, MyGers or now, season tickets.
“In the midst of the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, selling out season tickets at Ibrox is even more special.”
A club statement added:
Furthermore, Rangers can confirm that we are in regular dialogue with the Scottish Government in relation to the return of fans to Ibrox stadium when it is safe to do so.
Supporters will take solace in the fact they’re helping share the load of the coronavirus shutdown by investing in the club they love.
But there remains every chance that they won’t be able to see their heroes in the flesh until the season begins to enter its final phases next year.