Fans have been warned of dangers of using pyrotechnics and urged to respect Covid-19 restrictions ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.
Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs reminded football fans looking forward to the Scottish Cup final that the use of pyrotechnics is “extremely dangerous”.
His warning comes just days after a number of people were injured, some by fireworks, in Glasgow’s George Square during Rangers fans’ title celebrations.
Danger to public safety
“We have seen from events in recent weeks that the consequences can be severe, you might not just injure yourself using them [pyrotechnics], but you could also seriously injure those in your vicinity,” said Mr Spiers.
“Police Scotland is already working with both teams and our partners, including the Scottish Government, to ensure the match goes ahead safely and supporters follow the restrictions for their own safety and that of the wider public and our officers.”
St Johnstone fans’ hopes of attending the Scottish Cup final at Hampden were killed off a week ago after the Scottish Government confirmed that level three restrictions were extended in Glasgow.
Social distancing restrictions
The Assistant Chief Constable has also called on fans of both clubs to follow social distancing restrictions and to not gather in large groups in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.
With significant interest in one of the Scottish football’s most eagerly anticipated fixtures – despite the match being played behind closed doors – Mr Spiers has assured fans that preparations for policing any gatherings are well under way, with public safety being Police Scotland’s primary concern.
He added: “The Scottish Cup final is an important day for everyone involved with St Johnstone and Hibernian football clubs. We will have an appropriate policing plan in place to maintain public safety.
“It is vitally important that both sets of fans avoid gathering in large groups and stick to the regulations in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but officers will not hesitate to use enforcement powers as a last resort.”
Message from Saints chairman
The police’s message follows St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown’s plea to Saints fans to stay away from McDiarmid Park on Scottish Cup final day to ensure safety.
“All that we ask is that you remember to follow the Scottish Government guidelines during these unprecedented times,” said Mr Brown.
“Please resist any urge to gather at McDiarmid Park tomorrow before, during or after the game.
“It’s vital for the health and wellbeing of all, fans should not gather in large groups and that everyone sticks to the regulations in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The restrictions are the same for everyone and no-one should congregate anywhere in large numbers.
“Physical distancing must be maintained between members of different households if watching the game in a hospitality setting.
First Minister’s plea
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also made a plea to fans during her daily briefing on Friday.
“Tomorrow will, of course, be a big day for both St Johnstone and Hibs fans and I know that fans and indeed other people will be wanting to watch the game,” said the First Minister.
“However, please don’t gather in big groups in people’s houses, or in hospitality venues to watch the game – that is still against Public Health rules and is not safe in the current situation we face.
“For supporters of the winning team in particular, and may the best team win, but for the winning team in particular, remember that no one, including fans, should be congregating anywhere in large numbers at the moment.”