THE Celtic v Rangers second derby of the season will be played in front of a mere 500 fans at Parkhead on January 2.
A full house of around 60,000 was anticipated, but the Scottish government this afternoon announced new restrictions in a bid to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said all outdoor events in the country will be hit with limited attendances of 500 spectators from Boxing Day for three weeks.
The Holyrood leader revealed the dramatic new measures and also called for one-metre physical distancing to be in place during that time.
That means that the Premiership fixture schedule on Boxing Day and December 29 will be affected, while the Old Firm clash at Celtic Park on January 2 and the Edinburgh derby between Hibs and Hearts at Easter Road 24 hours later will be played in ghost grounds.
In a statement, Sturgeon said: “This will, of course, make sports matches, including football, effectively spectator-free over this three-week period.
“And it will also mean that large-scale Hogmanay celebrations, including that planned here in our capital city, will not proceed.
“I know how disappointing this will be for those looking forward to these events, and for the organisers of them.”
Before the measures come into place, three midweek football games are set to go ahead in the Premiership in front of potential capacity crowds tomorrow night with Ange Postecoglou taking his Premier Sports League Cup winners to Paisley to face St Mirren, St Johnstone versus Ross County in Perth and Aberdeen’s visit to Hibs.
It is not clear how many fans will be allowed into grounds when football restarts on the weekend of January 22/23 when the Scottish Cup is played after the three-week winter break.