Old Firm fans urged not to watch match in pubs

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Football fans should not be travelling to licensed premises to watch Saturday’s Celtic versus Rangers fixture, the chair of Argyll and Bute’s licensing board has said.

Councillor David Kinniburgh also pleaded with residents of the central belt to remain in their own health board area while new Scottish Government restrictions are in force.

Areas of Argyll and Bute were reportedly visited by many people from outwith the local authority area last weekend, with pubs completely closed across five central belt health board areas.

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. Licensed premises in the area may serve food and non-alcoholic drinks indoors until 6pm, and can serve alcohol outdoors if possible until 10pm.

Some licensed premises have decided to temporarily close completely despite being outwith the central belt, but others have remained open.

The Old Firm game takes place at 12.30pm on Saturday October 17, with no supporters allowed inside Celtic Park. In ordinary circumstances, the match attracts many visitors to pubs to watch.

Councillor Kinniburgh said: ‘Because of restrictions already in place and in view of the latest Scottish Government restrictions I do not think descending on licensed premises to watch the Old Firm fixture or any sporting event is an attractive proposition.

‘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.

‘Since the curfew announcement for certain areas was made by the Scottish Government I am aware from media reports that some premises outwith curfew affected areas have taken the decision to close because the restrictions imposed on them by the Scottish Government make continued trading unviable.

‘This is a matter for individual businesses to consider but I do not think that licensed premises in Argyll and Bute should be considering a blanket temporary closure across the area for the period that the Scottish Government restrictions apply.’