Hibs owner Ron Gordon urges fans ‘everywhere’ to cheer on team safely in Scottish Cup final without breaking Covid-19 rules
Hibs owner Ron Gordon has urged fans to cheer on their team during Saturday’s Scottish Cup final against St Johnstone - but to do so in line with the government’s Covid-19 rules to avoid risking the good progress made in tackling the pandemic.
It follows advice given earlier this week from Assistant Chief Constable Alan Spiers who said it was “vitally important” both sets of supporters stick to the regulations in place, warning that police will not hesitate to use enforcement powers as a last resort.
Scenes of violence and disorder broke out last weekend in Glasgow city centre among a minority of Rangers fans which left a number of people injured, including police officers, as fan celebrations of their team’s title success and unbeaten season spiralled out of control.
Ahead of Saturday’s match at Hampden, the Scottish government said their message is clear in that no-one should congregate anywhere in large numbers, and that given the fragility of the current state of the pandemic, they would “strongly advise against” meeting in groups greater than advised in current guidance.
Edinburgh’s lord provost Frank Ross also urged Hibs fans to enjoy the occasion safely and that, should they win, a fitting celebration will be planned when it is safe and permitted to do so.
On Friday, in a heartfelt letter of thanks to “Hibs supporters everywhere,” club chairman Ron Gordon highlighted the club’s third place league finish this season - their highest position in nearly two decades - and said their recent success could not have come without the fans.
He said: “Football is simply not the same without you. We have missed you terribly - Easter Road craves your energy, passion, hope and belief in Hibernian. We are very much looking forward to seeing you again at Easter Road early next season…we will welcome you home with open arms, with some important improvements, and with European football to add to the excitement.
“As of today, our season ticket sales are pacing well ahead of previous years - I am hopeful that we will set a new record, so thank you for believing and for supporting your club.”
The US businessman described the season as “terrific” and thanked manager Jack Ross and coaching staff, the football squad and everyone at the training centre and Easter Road for their commitment and effort in the club’s success.
He added: “They have been magnificent.
“I also want to ask one more time for your support and patience. Please, cheer the team on, but please do it with your friends and your family and do it within the government restrictions that are there to protect us all. Let’s not be part of anything that risks the progress made in tackling the pandemic.
“We have one more job to finish tomorrow - I know our team will wear the green and white with joy and pride; that they will give us their very best effort; and I believe as I’m sure you do, that the Sun will Shine on Leith this Scottish Cup Saturday. Together there is nothing we can’t accomplish.
“We are Hibs! GGTTH.”
‘Best of luck’
Edinburgh’s lord provost, Frank Ross, said: “Wishing the very best of luck to Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday. Of course, I’d much rather be at the match in person but I’ll be joining the many thousands watching safely from home.
“If you do plan on watching the game and (hopefully) celebrating I urge you to please continue to follow the ongoing guidance.
“Edinburgh remains in level two which means no more than eight people from eight different households should meet up outdoors and mass gatherings are not permitted. We don’t want to curb anyone’s fun but with things still so precarious it’s vital that we continue to stick to the nationwide regulations – for all our safety.
“Whatever the result on Saturday, I’m sure Hibs will do Edinburgh proud. They waited so long to lift the Cup in 2016 and to do so again so soon would truly be a remarkable achievement. I can promise that if they do win the cup we’ll make sure they receive a fitting celebration when it’s safe and permitted to do so.”
Earlier in the week, it emerged that some residents in Edinburgh have raised Covid transmission concerns to Craigentinny and Duddingston councillor John McLellan in the event of large gatherings in the Easter Road area due to the cup final.
Mr McLellan called for “absolute clarity” this weekend for both clubs involved about what is and is now allowed and what facilities and measures will be in place to make sure that safety is managed so that any public concerns are alleviated in advance.
The guidance for level two areas, in which most of Scotland is in, states no more than eight people - aged 12 and over - from eight different households should meet up outdoors and that mass gatherings are banned. Eased indoor restrictions this week also means alcohol can be served in pubs up to 10.30pm. People from up to six people from three different households can now meet in a pub or a home.
A Scottish government spokesperson said: “The restrictions are the same for everyone and our message is clear: no-one should congregate anywhere in large numbers. When large numbers of people gather in close proximity, there is an increased risk of person to person transmission. There is evidence of this happening in this type of situation to date.
“Given the fragility of the current state of the pandemic, we would strongly advise against meeting in groups greater than advised in current guidance.
“We are working with both clubs and Police Scotland ahead of this weekend’s match.”