Raith Rovers travel to Celtic Park on Thursday night in the quarter-finals of the Premier Sports Cup – but the fact the Parkhead side have refused the Fifers’ any tickets should leave the Glasgow giants embarrassed.
Rovers informed their fans earlier this month that Celtic had refused them an allocation for Celtic Park, citing “government Covid guidelines currently in place in relation to matchday red zones” and claiming they are “committed to making tickets available to their Season Ticket Holders, in seats that away fans would normally be allocated.”
Now, on the face of it, it’s hard to argue with Celtic’s decision – or at least the logic behind it – but when Celtic aren’t actually allowing fans in on their season ticket without shelling out another £17 quid flies in the face of their claims.
What makes it worse is that when you look back at recent attendances at Celtic Park for similar cup ties against Championship opposition, they can barely reach 50% capacity (2019/20 League Cup ties with Dunfermline and Partick both attracted fewer than 28,000 fans).
Even their clash with Hearts earlier this season ‘only’ attracted just over 42,000 fans, leaving plenty of room for visiting supporters to be accommodated within the 60,000+ capacity stadium.
Celtic’s own website appears to contradict their claims as well, stating: “Season Ticket holders NOT on the [Home Cup Ticket Scheme] will be given the opportunity to purchase an alternative seat during a Priority Window.”
You can actually have a little sympathy when it comes to Premiership games and Rangers and Celtic have tens of thousands of season ticket holders to accommodate but that isn’t the case when it comes to Cup ties.
For Raith, Thursday’s trip to Glasgow represents their first national quarter-final in five years and there’s no doubt the Rovers fans would have been looking forward to making the trip to see their side take on the Hoops.
There won’t be many who will expect anything other than a win for Ange Postecoglou’s side but anything is possible in Cup football – especially with Celtic’s form as up and down as it is.
John McGlynn’s Rovers haven’t exactly set the world alight so far this season either but that wouldn’t have stopped a few thousand making the trip from Kirkcaldy and hoping for a repeat of the 1994/95 final.
If, by some miracle, Celtic do get close to a full-house on Thursday night then the Parkhead side will be vindicated in their decision to lock out the Raith fans but when they don’t (and they won’t), then there is simply no excuse for not granting an away allocation.
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.