IT’LL be an Old Firm game, but not as we know it . . .

Rangers have cut Celtic’s allocation at Ibrox from 8000 to around 1000 – their travelling supporters will be wedged into a corner like naughty children – which means this self-styled greatest derby in world football has changed forever but not for the better.

Celtic quickly retaliated. Of course they did. The club had no choice and even less inclination not to reciprocate in kind.

Read more: Celtic and Rangers ticket allocations for Old Firm matches to be cut next season

The next derby at Celtic Park will likely see those dressed in blue squeezed into the restricted view area of the stadium.

Forget the rights and wrongs of this decision; what can’t be argued is an atmosphere, which for its many, many faults was unforgettably unique, will be immeasurably altered. Some will be happy about it. Far more will pretend to be.

It perhaps should not have come as a great surprise when Rangers announced yesterday evening that all, that’s all, away supporters would be stuck between two stands because their season ticket renewals have gone so well. Over 40,000 and counting is quite remarkable.

This is the club’s prerogative. They want to get as many of their own inside Ibrox, that was the overriding theme of the club’s statement.
Celtic’s reaction essentially said they would also do all they could to accommodate a swell of punters clamouring to watch their club.

Read more: SFA to review Gary Hughes' position after Rangers chairman Dave King calls for his suspension

This has been coming. For some Rangers fans, there have been far too many wins for Celtic at Ibrox, too many Broomloan Road Stand parties, too much gloating, singing, dancing and lording it up while defeated locals look on in abject misery.

The men in power at Ibrox, and those on the fringes, have had their ears battered in recent times by brassed off bluenoses furious at how Scott Brown has been allowed to wear shades and Leigh Griffiths can run around their pitch with a scarf.

Some Rangers supporters have been pressing for the club to increase their own allocation, and it’s fair to say chairman Dave King will have been keen to ride the new wave of optimism which has swept in after the appointment of Steven Gerrard as Ibrox manager.

Celtic’s domestic dominance has been well documented and the prospect of the club reaching the fabled ten in a row is becoming a prominent possibility.

Gerrard insists he is ready and willing to take on what is a formidable challenge to redress the imbalance between the famous rivals, and will undoubtedly welcome the prospect of a more partisan crowd when Celtic come to Ibrox.

Read more: Celtic and Rangers ticket allocations for Old Firm matches to be cut next season

Having said that, it is still no guarantee. After all, Rangers lost seven games at Ibrox last season, five to teams outwith Celtic whose supporters were housed in the corner, soon to be occupied on Old Firm day.

The games between Glasgow’s big two are known around the world, not solely for the football, but more often than not, the atmosphere. 

As derby games go, the Old Firm is perhaps the most passionate of them all with every staging generating myriad talking points and a cauldron of noise and rivalry that will surely be diminished as a result of developments yesterday.

El Classico has a higher standard of player –arguably – but hardly any away fans go. And now that is going to be the same in the Old Firm.
Of course this will only really impact on both sides of the Glasgow divide. It’s fair to say no other away support will be as affected.

Rangers and Celtic, of course, are well within their rights to allocate tickets as they see fit and there will be large swathes of both sets of supporters who will welcome the move.

It all just seems a tad petty and a pity. It also feels like the end of something. Only time will tell if that’s a good thing.

It probably won’t be.