THE SFA and SPFL joint response group have urged supporters to take lateral flow tests before travelling to games.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today confirmed that restrictions on crowds at outdoor sporting events in Scotland will be lifted from next Monday.

The news means football and rugby supporters can return to stadia on 17 January – the day Celtic host Hibernian – after being effectively closed out since Boxing Day, when a limit of 500 was imposed in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

To gain entry to grounds, supporters will be required to be fully vaccinated, including their booster, and they must have appropriate evidence of this.

Supporters can also show a record of a negative Covid-19 result from a test taken within 24 hours of the match.

If fans are not using the Covid vaccine app then they must produce printouts or a PDF to show proof of vaccination.

As well as this, the SFA and SPFL have advised that all fans take a lateral flow test before travelling to a match, regardless of their vaccination status.

A statement read: "The national game has again played its part in helping the Scottish Government’s effort to overcome COVID-19, by facilitating pop-up vaccination centres at several stadia to accelerate the booster programme and by complying with the restrictions outlined prior to the festive period.

"Scottish football will continue to support that collective effort and, indeed, we urge fans to comply with public health guidance and make the live match experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

"Our clubs are well-versed in ensuring the safe access and egress of fans within the stadium footprint and we will continue to update the established protocols to reflect the Scottish Government guidance."

Rod Petrie, Scottish FA President said: “Today’s announcement is welcome news for football fans across Scotland. The First Minister described the new guidance as the country ‘turning a corner’ in the fight to overcome COVID-19 and in particular the Omicron wave that necessitated the latest restrictions.

“In that regard, I would like to thank clubs for playing their part during the most recent restrictions and I am certain as a sport we will continue to demonstrate best practice in ensuring the safety of players, staff, spectators, match officials and everyone involved in the matchday experience.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive added: “Today’s announcement is a sensible decision that will be welcomed by clubs and hundreds of thousands of fans across the country.

“Football is not the same without supporters, and I know how much it will mean to them to be back in stadiums watching matches again.

“This news will also be a real financial boost for our 42 member clubs, who have faced an incredibly challenging set of circumstances since the pandemic began.

“Clubs will continue to play their part to keep fans and players safe and I would like to thank them for their efforts in following the most recent restrictions at such short notice.

“Everyone in Scottish football can now look forward to some cracking matches and a really competitive second half to the season.”