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Rangers fans handed extra 6,000 tickets for Premiership opener

Rangers fans handed extra 6,000 tickets for Premiership opener
© Reuters
There will be 23,000 seats available for season ticket holders for the Ibrox fixture.

Rangers fans have been handed an extra 6,000 tickets for Saturday's cinch Premiership opener.

The club announced there would be 23,000 seats available for season ticket holders for Saturday's Ibrox clash against Livingston, which is an increase on the original figure.

The move comes after a steady increase in crowds allowed for three pre-season friendlies at Ibrox, which peaked with 12,500 for Rangers' victory over Real Madrid on Sunday.

Celtic will have 24,500 supporters inside their ground for their opening home match against Dundee on August 7 but there will be no Hoops fans inside Tynecastle for their season kick-off.

Standard crowd limits for outdoor events under the Scottish Government's Level 0 coronavirus restrictions are 2,000 but organisers can apply to their local authority for the right to host bigger attendances.

The different approaches from councils are leading to disappointments for some clubs, notably Hearts.

The Jambos will only have 4,535 season ticket holders inside Tynecastle for their return to the top flight against Celtic following a decision by Edinburgh City Council.

Elsewhere, Motherwell are set to have 4,500 home fans at Fir Park on Sunday and have allocated 2,000 tickets to Hibernian fans.

Ross County have been able to offer all of their season ticket holders entry to the visit of St Johnstone, who have sold out their Dingwall allocation and given their season ticket holders guaranteed entry for the visit of Motherwell on August 7.

Aberdeen will host a crowd of 6,305 for Sunday's visit of Dundee United – a slight increase on their recent European qualifier capacity – and Dundee remain in discussions with their city council ahead of the visit of St Mirren on Saturday.

Celtic fans
Celtic fans watch their team against West Ham (Jane Barlow/PA)

Celtic had 18,000 supporters inside their stadium for Saturday's friendly against West Ham and thanked their fans for helping them secure a bigger capacity.

Chief executive Dom McKay said: "I would like to thank our fans for all the fantastic support they have given us in reaching these levels.

"I would also like to thank all our staff for their efforts and hard work in allowing us to reach this stage, as well as the Safety Advisory Group for all their co-operation.

"We will be doing all we can to work closely with the relevant authorities and welcome our fans back in even greater numbers in the coming weeks."

The Scottish football authorities expect full crowds to be permitted when coronavirus restrictions ease further.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared herself "optimistic" that Scotland remained on course to do so on August 9 after daily case numbers continued to fall – to 1,044 – and the weekly figure of patients in hospital with Covid fell to 421 from 577 the previous week.

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