CALLS have been made for this weekend’s Old Firm game to be screened on free TV in a bid to halt fans crossing the border to watch it in English pubs.

All pubs in the Central Belt are closed under 16-day restrictions put in place by the Scottish Government to stem the spread of Covid-19 in hospitality settings.

The first league game of the season between Celtic and Rangers will take place on Saturday and will be shown on Sky Sports - with no fans allowed to be in the stadium.

Earlier, Nicola Sturgeon warned Celtic and Rangers fans not to travel to the north of England to watch the game – pointing specifically to Blackpool after hundreds of Scots have contracted Covid-19 after visiting the Lancashire resort.

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She said: “If you were thinking about going to Blackpool and haven’t booked yet then please do not go this year.

“Even more specifically, because we know this is an issue and I want to be very clear about this, do not travel to Blackpool this weekend to watch the Old Firm match in a pub.

“If you do that, you will be putting yourselves and you will be putting other people at risk.”

The Scottish Greens have now called for the match to be put on free to air television.

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The party has called on the Scottish Government to engage in urgent discussions with the football authorities and Sky Sports to explore a solution that would allow everyone to watch the match on free to air tv.

Scottish Greens health spokesperson, Alison Johnstone, said: “Football is so important to so many people and I understand just how frustrating it is for fans at the moment who just want to watch their team play.

“Essential public health restrictions have meant that grounds have had to remain closed, and now that pubs in the Central Belt are closed only those who have Sky Sports at home will be able to watch this weekend’s game.

“The First Minister has raised concerns that people may go to one another’s homes or even travel to pubs in England to watch the game. This would risk increasing transmission of the virus just at the time when we’ve brought in additional measures to bring it under control.”

She added: “That’s why I’m calling on the Scottish Government to urgently engage with the football authorities, and Sky Sports, to establish whether it might be possible to broadcast Saturday’s Celtic vs Rangers game on free to air tv.

“I’m confident the overwhelming majority of people will continue to follow the rules as they have throughout this crisis, but broadcasting the game free to air would allow everyone to watch at home, reducing the risk of people heading out to watch the game and spreading the virus.”

Labour leader Richard Leonard has added his voice to the campaign, inisiting "the solution to this is simple" adding "make the match free to watch on television".