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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ben Banks

What the Rangers and Celtic pundits say about fan lockout as 'petty and pathetic' dilemma given compromise solution

It' was always going to spark talking points and there hasn't been a reluctance to dive head-first into a fiery Rangers and Celtic debate in some quarters.

It has been confirmed the pair will not house any away fans at either Parkhead or Ibrox in the remaining Premiership fixtures between the two. It means it'll either be a cauldron of noise in the wake of home victory or the sound of silence will be apparent if visitors manage to enter hostile territory and emerge with three precious points.

It is a country mile away from the days where around 7,000 away fans attended derby fixtures and some pundits believe those days will remain in the past. But there's a theory of a potential compromise as everyone throws in their two cents worth into the debate. Here's what the pundits have said on the thorny Rangers and Celtic fan issues dominating the headlines.

Andy Walker

Speaking on Go Radio, the Sky Sports commentator and former forward held no punches: "I think it's pathetic and petty. I think it diminishes Scottish football. We're trying to sell this great rivalry all around the world and we're just watering it down.

"I'm not surprised because we've seen some poor decision making in Scottish football. I remember going to the game with my dad and my brothers and it was just 'wow, what is this.

"To actually go some years later and play in it, it's the best atmosphere I ever played in and I can't belive we've got to the stage where you're getting absolutely no supporters in the away end. I think if you ask any away player they would much rather have a substantial away support, I get that they'll take the party line and not say that but every player loves the edge that you get from a sizeable away support."

Barry Ferguson

The Record Sport columnist and former Rangers captain is along the same line of thinking as Walker. He believes some heads need banged together in order to reach a positive conclusion.

Ferguson said on Go Radio: "It's an absolute joke what's going on and as Andy said, if you ask any Old Firm player past and present that's been involved with 8,000 away fans, every one of them would say what me and Andy have just said there.

"I think it's really sad that they can't bang their heads together and come up with a solution to get back to how it was."

Jim Duffy

The Clyde boss took to Superscoreboard to air his theory on how Rangers and Celtic could settle this debate. A compromise of sorts on 2000 tickets could be achieved, with punters offered the option of season ticket briefs at a reduced price without those matches.

He explained: "What you can do at the start of this season is let's just say 2000. You then when your application for your season ticket comes in you have 200 seats which are at a reduced price, which will be missing out the two Rangers and Celtic games, and Celtic and Rangers games.

"Therefore it comes a a reduced price and it is your choice then. It might be you are not that bothered about going as there's a lot of people who don't like that match. 2000 people would be doable but it has to be done at the start or well before the season tickets. It would need done way in advance."

Tam McManus

It's a crying shame that it has come to this according to the Record Sport columnist. He can recall his playing days of Hibs meeting Rangers in front of huge crowds and admits that element is missing.

He said on PLZ: "I don't see the 7,000 or whatever it was away fans coming back anytime soon. I think you might see the 700 or 800 back but it is really disappointing to see this, when I was a player Hibs took 7,000 to Ibrox and we beat Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

"You want to see that colour and atmosphere. So for them to get around the table and say no away fans I think is terrible and I think it is really damning on our game here.

"It's a 50-50 split in the semi-final and it is a great atmosphere, unfortunately we will not get that in the league games. Both sets of fans make the fixture for me and we are going to get that at Hampden.

"It is really disappointing if you are a neutral, you are trying to attract sponsors and big Sky deals and you come to a game like that where there's no away fans. People will ask why is that and it is no good for us."

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