Argyll and Bute’s Old Firm fan plea

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Football fans from the central belt have been urged not to travel to pubs in Argyll and Bute to watch Saturday’s showpiece Celtic versus Rangers fixture.

Scottish football’s top two teams face each other at 12.30pm on Saturday with a point separating the Glasgow giants and pubs shut across five central belt areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Ayrshire and Arran.

Councillor David Kinniburgh, chairman of the licensing board for Argyll and Bute Council, has called on fans to follow the official advice and remain in their own health board area.

He said ‘descending on licensed premises’ in Argyll and Bute to watch the game, or any other sporting event, was not sensible at this time.

Councillor Kinniburgh, who represents Helensburgh and Lomond South, said: ‘I would ask anyone thinking of travelling into Argyll and Bute from the central belt for that purpose to follow the advice and not travel outwith their health board area.

‘Under the new measures customers are unable to purchase alcohol for consumption inside licensed premises and since licensed premises have re-opened televisions have had to be muted.

‘Because of the restrictions imposed on licensed premises now the bigger challenge is how you prevent individuals gathering in numbers in homes with alcohol purchased from off-sales and other retail outlets. ‘

Argyll and Bute is under the jurisdiction of NHS Highland, which is not one of the five health board areas where pubs have been asked to close.

However, licensed premises in Argyll and Bute can only serve food and non-alcoholic drinks indoors until 6pm. They can serve alcohol outdoors, if possible, until 10pm.

Coronavirus restrictions mean no supporters are allowed inside Celtic Park.

The Scottish Greens have today appealed for the game to be made available free on television, while there have also been government appeals not to travel to Blackpool to watch it, with the popular seaside town considered a high risk area.

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘I want to be very clear about this – do not travel to Blackpool this weekend to watch the Old Firm match in a pub.

‘If you do that you will be putting yourself and you will be putting other people at risk, please do not do that this weekend.’