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Nicola Sturgeon urges St Johnstone, Hibs fans to follow guidelines

Nicola Sturgeon urges St Johnstone, Hibs fans to follow guidelines
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Hampden will be empty for Saturday's game after plans for a 600-strong crowd were shelved.

St Johnstone and Hibernian fans have been urged to follow public health guidelines on Scottish Cup final weekend.

Hampden will be empty for Saturday's game after plans for a 600-strong crowd were shelved when Glasgow suffered a setback in its route out of lockdown.

Perth and Edinburgh also remain under restrictions which limit large gatherings.

The final comes seven days after an estimated 15,000 Rangers fans gathered in Glasgow to celebrate their team's title success.

Violent scenes developed which resulted in five police officers being injured, at least 28 arrests, and police in riot gear dispersing crowds from George Square.

Speaking at a media briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Tomorrow will of course be a big day for both St Johnstone and Hibs fans and I know that fans and indeed others will be wanting to watch the game.

"However, please don't gather in big groups in people's houses or in hospitality venues to watch the game.

"That is still against public health rules and is not safe under the current situation we face.

"And for supporters of the winning team in particular, remember that no-one including fans should be congregating anywhere in large numbers at the moment.

"Please enjoy the game, celebrate if your team wins, but for your own sake and for the safety of others, please do so safely, and that is something that I urge on every football fan watching the game."

St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown urged supporters not to gather at McDiarmid Park.

A police officer and steward suffered minor injuries when Saints fans gathered to welcome their team back after their Betfred Cup final success in February.

Brown told fans: "We know you will be gathering in and around Perth for the game and we want you all to enjoy yourselves and, hopefully, see the team winning the Scottish Cup.

"All that we ask is that you remember to follow the Scottish Government guidelines during these unprecedented times.

"Please resist any urge to gather at McDiarmid Park before, during or after the game.

"It's vital for the health and wellbeing of all, that fans should not gather in large groups and that everyone sticks to the regulations in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus – the restrictions are the same for everyone and no-one should congregate anywhere in large numbers.

"Physical distancing must be maintained between members of different households if watching the game in a hospitality setting.

"Also, if watching the game at home with friends, you must do so in accordance with the regulations (six people from three households indoors).

"When the time is right and the guidelines permit, we will celebrate together – players, management and supporters – in an organised manner to remember our extraordinary season."

Hibernian chairman Ron Gordon asked fans for their "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," he wrote.

"Let's not be part of anything that risks the progress made in tackling the pandemic."

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