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Bisgrove cranks up the pressure on Michael Nicholson with tickets demand

James Bisgrove has turned the spotlight onto Michael Nicholson with four weeks to go until the first Glasgow Derby of the season.

At the last two Derby matches of last season there were no away supporters with both clubs happy to brief off the record about the reasons for the move.

Last September 700 away fans watched Celtic run riot in a 4-0 home win while 700 celebrated at Ibrox in January as Kyogo Furuhashi equalised late on after John Beaton and Willie Collum had denied Celtic a penalty when Connor Goldson saved a shot from Carl Starfelt.

Before a meeting with Nicholson the Celtic Supporters Association went public with their view that it should be the ‘European allocation’ of 2.500 or nothing for the match at Ibrox on September 3.

The offer from Ibrox is less than a third of that figure with no comment from Nicholson over whether Celtic will take up that offer.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Bisgrove said:

Our belief, as a club, and certainly mine as the chief executive coming into Rangers is that away fans add so much to football – the colour, the vibrancy – no matter the game.

Then you look at the Old Firm fixture and having away fans there is a positive in terms of the stadium atmosphere and also the spectacle worldwide.

We have had discussions to see, based on the number of season tickets we have sold, what we could make available to Celtic and that is the 700, 750 number that we have made available for the last four, five years.

I believe the respective security teams have met and there have been reassurances made by the Rangers security staff in terms of extra stewarding, extra policing. That is a conversation we need to have with Celtic in terms of what they want to do.

But we believe that away fans should be at football matches. So, yes, we would want Rangers fans to be at Parkhead in December, absolutely.

At Ibrox two areas of segregation have to be created, left and right of the Celtic support with various reports of missiles including bottles hitting hoops supporters.

Celtic didn’t make any issue over those incidents with Nicholson staying on mute when broken glass was found in Joe Hart’s goalmouth following the half-time interval at a match in April 2022.

None of the Ibrox groundstaff noticed how the glass got onto the pitch with Nicholson accepting that the CCTV on the Copland Road Stand wasn’t functioning. At the same time the Main Stand CCTV was able to identify the corporate guest that permanently disfigured Celtic physio Daniel Friel by throwing a bottle at his head.

There are no SPFL rules on the number of tickets given to away supporters but in the Scottish Cup the SFA insists on a 20% away allocation.

In 23 months in the job as CEO Nicholson has never given any sort of interview or commented beyond what is legally required in relation to club accounts.

If there are no Celtic fans at Ibrox next month attention will be switched onto the Celtic CEO for the match on December 30- does he match the allocations or cave in to Bisgrove’s pressure and supply 700 away tickets with Celtic paying for policing and losing seats to segregation.

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1 Comment

  • by Allaboutceltic
    Posted August 7, 2023 6:44 pm 0Likes

    I appreciate that I might be in the minority, but I would like to see Celtic take the higher ground and offer them the normal allocation of 7000. The derby matches are better with away fans, so if we do it one time only, and then the ball is firmly in their court. I don’t expect them to reciprocate, but at least we’ve tried and the football world will see them for the same pathetic gobshites as we know they are.


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