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Celtic: Manger Ange Postecoglou on fans' 'challenging' decision over attending games
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has sympathised with supporters over the “challenging” decision of whether to attend Sunday’s League Cup final.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has resisted a curb on crowds this weekend amid a surge in Covid cases, but told fans to “think very carefully” about the risks of going to games as the Omicron variant spreads.
The final between Hibernian and Celtic, and Rangers against Dundee United in the Premiership are set for attendances of around 50,000 this weekend.
“It’s tough,” said Postecoglou. “People want to live their lives and it’s very hard to dictate what to do.
“All you can do is provide the best advice to people and hopefully they take all the right precautions and make sure they’re vaccinated, make sure they test negative before going to the game and as much as possible limit their exposure there.
“But it is a challenging one. For supporters, they missed last year, and it’s a big part of their lives.
Dundee United and St Mirren are dealing with Covid outbreaks, while all Premiership clubs will conduct daily testing from Monday until the start of the winter break on 3 January.
Livingston manager David Martindale has called for that two-week hiatus to be brought forward,
However, Postecoglou believes games should go ahead while still possible, adding: “We can have a break and may find that the worst is still ahead and it puts more pressure on fixtures and clubs further down the line.
“My gut instinct is we keep playing until it is impossible to do so or we get advice that is best that we stop playing.”
Ms Sturgeon says she is limited in the public health actions she is prepared to take until the UK government provides more details and action on financial support for businesses facing shortfalls because of the latest wave of the pandemic.
“Had we the financial support mechanisms in place… I’d be more able to give straightforward advice to events,” she said when asked about football matches in particular.
“My advice to people is please limit your social interaction, whatever they would normally be. I’m asking people in the run-up to Christmas to stay at home as much as they can. [The] message is think very carefully about every interaction you are having.
“If you’re planning to go somewhere you have to make that judgement if it’s worth it to you to take the risk of not being with family on Christmas Day.”
Scotland’s chief medical officer Gregor Smith has “very strongly” urged supporters who choose to attend games to take lateral flow tests beforehand and stay at home if they have symptoms.