Hibs v Hearts and Edinburgh v Glasgow in doubt: Sport braced for First Minister announcement on potential Covid circuit breaker

Scottish sport is on alert and braced for the impact of potential new restrictions in a bid to combat and control the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 11:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 11:55 am
Hearts and Hibs in action during the Edinburgh derby earlier this season.
Hearts and Hibs in action during the Edinburgh derby earlier this season.

It follows a move from the Welsh Government which will see key sporting fixtures played behind closed doors after Christmas.

The Scottish government is understood to be considering whether to cancel large events.

A decision will made at a cabinet meeting this morning, before being announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at about 2:20pm.

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That puts the Edinburgh derby between Hibs and Hearts on January 3 and the 1872 Cup clashes between Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow at risk.

Hibs are due to host Aberdeen at Easter Road tomorrow, travel to Dundee United on Boxing Day and then Celtic on December 29.

Hearts are scheduled to host Ross County on Boxing Day and St Johnstone on December 29.

All the other festive fixtures in the SPFL, Lowland League and East of Scotland League are also potentially at risk, including the Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers.

Edinburgh Rugby travel to Glasgow on December 27 and are due to host their inter-city rival on January 2.

One option could be to follow Wales, which has announced plans for sporting events to be held without crowds from Boxing Day.

Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said: "Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year. Unfortunately, the new Omicron variant is a significant development in the pandemic and could cause a large number of infections.

"We need to do everything we can to protect people's health and control the spread of this awful virus.”

Tthe Scottish FA provided an update from the Joint Response Group confirming the “enhanced protocols” announced for the Premiership on Friday will be extended throughout the SPFL.

A statement read: "The new testing regime will be effective from tomorrow, Tuesday, 21 December, with all clubs in the cinch Scottish Championship, League 1 and 2 now required to undertake daily testing until the winter break on 3 January.

"Further meetings are scheduled with the Scottish Women’s Premier League and Scottish Highland and Lowland Football Leagues on Wednesday, and a further announcement will be made thereafter."

The latest figures published by Public Health Scotland on Monday reported that 6,734 new Covid-19 cases had been recorded in Scotland overall in the previous 24 hour period.