Old Firm to have full capacity crowds from next week; Rangers to play in full Ibrox for Malmo Champions League second leg | Football News

Rangers and Celtic have both confirmed they will have full capacity crowds in attendance from next week.

Scottish champions Rangers announced they will be able to welcome 50,000 fans back to Ibrox, starting with the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Malmo on Tuesday.

The move, which is “subject to conditions prescribed by the Safety Advisory Group of Glasgow City Council”, should see a full house at Ibrox for the first time since their 3-1 Europa League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in March 2020.

Celtic also stated their delight of the news that from Monday August 9, full capacity crowds would be allowed to return to Celtic Park, adding “it has been too long since we have heard the roar of a packed Paradise”.

On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that sporting bodies and clubs would have to continue applying for permission to host major crowds despite Scotland moving beyond Level 0 of coronavirus restrictions from August 9.

MALMO, SWEDEN - AUGUST 03: The Rangers players celebrate Steven Davis' goal during a Champions League qualifier between Malmo and Rangers at the Eleda Stadion, on August 03, 2021, in Malmo, Sweden. (Photo by Christoffer Borg Mattisson / SNS Group)
The Rangers players celebrate Steven Davis’ goal

However, Sky Sports News reported on Wednesday that Glasgow City Council would be unlikely to say no to Rangers and Celtic having full capacity crowds from next Monday when remaining coronavirus restrictions ease in the country.

“Rangers can confirm there will be a full capacity at Ibrox Stadium going forward, subject to conditions prescribed by the Safety Advisory Group of Glasgow City Council,” a Rangers club statement said.

“The ticket office will be in contact with season tickets holders today to confirm the process for ticket allocation for Tuesday’s match v Malmo.”

Rangers welcomed 23,000 supporters back to Ibrox for their opening Premiership game of the season against Livingston last weekend.

Rangers' Scott Wright looks dejected as Malmo players celebrate their opening goal
Rangers’ Scott Wright looks dejected as Malmo players celebrate their opening goal

The Premiership champions travel to Tannadice to play Dundee United on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, before hosting Malmo on Tuesday evening, where they will look to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg of the third round qualifier.

A statement released from Celtic read: “We are delighted to announce that we have received confirmation from the local Safety Advisory Group that following Tuesday’s Scottish Government announcement and positive reviews of recent matches and associated protocols, full capacity crowds will now be permitted at Celtic Park from Monday, August 9 onwards.

celtic park
Celtic Park can welcome full capacity crowds back from August 9

“We have been working relentlessly behind the scenes to bring our supporters back, and we are thrilled to finally be able to make this announcement.

“Once again we would like to thank you for your assistance and co-operation in working within the established matchday protocols, something which has been crucial in delivering this attendance.”

Gerrard calls for Ibrox crowd help in second leg

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has asked for the Ibrox crowd to help lift his side when they face Malmo in their Champions League qualifier second leg next Tuesday.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says their Champions League tie against Malmo is still wide open despite their 2-1 first-leg loss

The Scottish Premiership champions were sucker-punched early in the second half with two quick goals from Soren Rieks and Veljko Birmancevic, facing a huge task next week.

However, a moment of quality with the final kick of the game saw Steven Davis hand Rangers a huge lifeline, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

In front of an Ibrox crowd, Rangers will have a good chance of overturning the first leg result and Gerrard has called for their assistance next week.

He told RangersTV: “I’m disappointed with the result and the couple of goals we’ve conceded. But there’s been a big moment at the end of that game which is has gone in our favour. It’s a big moment and sets things up for next week.

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Kenny Miller says Steven Davis’ stoppage-time goal for Rangers in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Malmo has kept the tie in the balance going into the return leg at Ibrox

“It’s not the position we wanted to be in, but it’s better than going in [to the second leg] at 2-0, and we were also on the verge of maybe going even worse as well. Injury time was very big for us, but over the 90 minutes, it hasn’t been enough.

“We’ll have to go up a level individually and collectively next week and I’m going to call on the Ibrox crowd. I’ve never done it before, but we’re going to need them for the full 90 minutes in full voice.

“With that behind us and the mentality change behind us, it could be a big moment.”

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