Glasgow & West Scotland

Police say Old Firm public safety 'is priority'

Celtic v Rangers Image copyright SNS Group Craig Williamson
Image caption Celtic and Rangers have played each other in cup ties in recent seasons but not in the league for four years

Police Scotland has said "maximising public safety" is its main focus for Saturday's Old Firm clash between Celtic and Rangers.

The Glasgow clubs will meet at Celtic Park in a league fixture for the first time in four years.

A crowd of nearly 60,000 is expected, with hundreds of thousands more watching the game in pubs and at home.

Ch Supt Brian McInulty said officers would take "all reasonable steps" to keep people safe.

Launching a national policing operation, Ch Supt McInulty said: "Officers will be in attendance in and around the stadium at Celtic Park, but also there will be a licensing plan which will operate across the country.

"We'll also have local plans in each of the national local policing divisions throughout Scotland making sure that we're taking all reasonable steps to protect people and to keep people safe.

"Part of that will be a domestic abuse action plan that will be very much delivered at a local level."

'Fantastic atmosphere'

Ch Supt McInulty said he expected "a fantastic atmosphere" at the game and appealed to supporters to contribute in a positive manner.

He said: "If anybody has any other intentions such as causing any disorder, engaging in any level of sectarianism or indeed involving themselves in any violence, then they will be dealt with by the officers in attendance.

"We will have an absolutely robust policing approach but it doesn't mean you'll be arrested at the time necessarily.

"Don't think that if you don't get arrested at the time that you're not going to be dealt with by the police. We will follow up and it may well mean that you are dealt with retrospectively."

He also urged supporters: "We are at the start of the football season. Don't make this your last game.

"Don't let yourselves down. Let's enjoy the game and respect each other and let's respect local communities."

The match kicks off at 12:00 and police have advised fans to get to the stadium early to avoid travel disruption.

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