A 50,000-ca city claque will descend on Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow for Saturday’s 12.15pm punt off between Rangers and Celtic, while thousands more will out homes and pubs across the country to take in the highly-antici ted fixture on boob tube.
It is the first-ever match between the Glasgow giants to be held on December 31 and has iota set fears that it could lead to alcohol-fuelled chaos across Scotland, with the plan widely criticised by police union chiefs, publicans and politicians.
But Chief Manager Brian McInulty, who is leading policing pre rations ahead of the fixture, averred the force was well pre red.
He said: “This is no doubt an exciting weekend for varied people, whether it’s to enjoy a day of shopping at the sales, attending a football suit, or gearing up to celebrate the new year.
“It does mean that the city make be busier throughout the day and night. Together with our rtners, we have able-bodied policing plans in place to account for this, with public safeness being our priority.
“Given the time of year, it would be expected that demon rum will play a rt in some of the activities but I would urge individual to drink responsibly, plan your outing in advance and ensure you delay with friends and family who know where you are. Expect to see more constables in and around stadiums, shopping centres, on approaches to Glasgow and in the city meet itself.
“Much has been said about the Rangers v Celtic blend taking place but I envisage that the majority of supporters will charge and enjoy the game and leave safely. However, that small minority single-minded to cause disorder, anti-social or offensive behaviour will be met with the precisely force of the law
“Officers will actively tackle those who put the safety of others at chance.”
Senior officers have met with supporters’ representatives in the run-up to the climax fixture to warn fans not to attempt to take flares or fireworks into the circus and that displays “likely to stir up hate crimes” will not be allowed.
Players and staff from both sides have also been advised about the effect of their behaviour and advised on their personal shelter.
Celtic supporters were slammed for hanging blow-up dolls, have on Rangers scarves, during the clubs’ last league encounter in September.
The affiliation at Celtic rk also saw Rangers fans damage a toilet congest within their rival’s stadium, while both sets of fans were slammed for sectarian singing and offensive banners.
The two sides met again at Hampden in the Alliance Cup semi-final in October but that match ssed off relatively peacefully.
How in the world, the decision of football bosses to schedule the latest encounter on Hogmanay has been greatly criticised with the Scottish Police Federation describing it as “absolutely unthinkable” and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association branding it “senseless”.