Extra tram staff for Celtic’s Murrayfield game

Celtic fans will descend on Murrayfield in their thousands. Picture: Greg Macvean

Celtic fans will descend on Murrayfield in their thousands. Picture: Greg Macvean

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Extra tram staff are being deployed to cope with thousands of football fans expected to descend on the network for tonight’s Champions League clash at Murrayfield.

The influx of 40,000 Celtic and KR Reykjavik supporters will heap pressure at both ends of the track – with many fans arriving at city centre train stations as well as Edinburgh Airport.

Edinburgh Trams is putting on an enhanced service before and after the game, which kicks off at 7.45pm, with 14 of the 27-strong fleet in action and a tram expected every six minutes.

An additional 40 staff have been enlisted to man carriages and sell tickets at busy platforms – such as Haymarket and Murrayfield – to allow the swathes of people swift access to and from the stadium.

City transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds insisted last month’s One Direction gig had proved the network could cope with large, excitable crowds.

She said: “This is the first time they’ve had a football match but I’m sure they will have appropriate contingencies in place.

“They have had the experience of moving 10,000 people from the One Direction gig and will have also taken lessons from other cities like Manchester, which has a tram stop right outside football grounds.

“I’m sure the majority of fans will want to come along, enjoy the football match and get away as quickly as possible as well so that’s what we’ll try to do. Let’s just hope it’s a good evening and they win.”

Extra buses and trains are also running, while it is anticipated that the nearby park and ride will fill up early.

Police will be carrying out extra patrols and have warned fans not to be tempted to drink outdoors.

Match commander Superintendent Bryan Rodgers said: “We will have a high-visibility presence in and around the stadium before, during and after the game, and licensing officers will also be visiting various venues.

“Road policing officers will assist colleagues from the city council with traffic management issues. Members of the public travelling to the match are reminded that a city bylaw is in place, which prohibits the consumption of alcohol outdoors.”

The second leg of the crucial clash, which Celtic lead 1-0, is being staged in the Capital because Celtic Park is hosting the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony tomorrow.

Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby’s director of c­ommercial operations, said: “We look forward to welcoming Celtic, KR Reykjavik and their supporters to BT Murrayfield and
wish them the best of luck in this important European qualifier.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com