THOUSANDS of sports fans are expected to flock into the Capital tomorrow during what is already one of the busiest weekends in the calendar.
Hearts will take on Celtic at Tynecastle in a 2pm kick-off, while Edinburgh Rugby’s game against Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield will start an hour later.
The Scottish Premiership football match is already a sell-out, while around 17,000 fans are due to attend the rugby.
The post-Christmas sales, meanwhile, are expected to bring thousands of bargain-hunters into the city centre.
Police in the Capital are urging spectators to plan their journeys in advance and leave plenty of time to get to the stadium they are travelling to.
“Considerable” resources are being called in to try to stamp out the chance of flares being taken into either stadium.
And ScotRail is putting queuing systems in place to manage the influx of visitors to the city, with Haymarket expected to be a particular pinch point.
Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses will be offering the usual Sunday services.
Significant traffic congestion is expected in the west of the city before and after the matches and police will be in attendance around both stadiums to help manage traffic.
Officers will also join forces with stewarding staff to search every person entering Tynecastle and Murrayfield. Specialist resources including sniffer dogs will be used to trace flares and other flammable materials.
Anyone found in possession of such items will be denied entry and may face further police action.
Chief Inspector Bob Paris, silver commander for Sunday’s events, said: “There’s always an added buzz to sporting matches during the festive season and we will have considerable resources in place to ensure these games are memorable for all the right reasons.
“I would urge football and rugby fans alike to get to their respective stadium at an appropriate time and ensure they do not leave their vehicles parked anywhere that presents an obstruction or danger to other motorists.
“Many of you may be consuming alcohol over the coming days. However, if you intend to drive to one of the games then please ensure you are legally allowed to do so.
“Road policing officers will be monitoring the road network in and around Edinburgh and those caught driving under the influence will be arrested and face a criminal conviction and the loss of their licence. Please, don’t risk it.
“As part of our commitment to keeping people safe we will be undertaking searches of spectators and items such as flares, glass bottles and alcohol are not allowed in stadiums.
“Please enjoy supporting your club this weekend, but please make sure your actions do not put yourselves or others at risk.”
A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: “We will have queuing systems in place at key stations on Sunday to help our customers travel to and from sporting events in Edinburgh. Fans should be prepared for busier than normal trains, leave plenty of time for travel, and purchase tickets in advance as this will make their journey as smooth as possible.”