The Celtic and Scotland legend played in days when as many as 80,000, including tens of thousands of away supporters, would cram into Parkhead and Ibrox to watch these clashes. But with so many season ticket holders to accommodate Rangers have found a reason to shut out away fans and now Celtic have responded in kind while citing safety concerns around the current arrangement, with a vastly reduced allocation of 700 becoming standard. The move has been condemned in some quarters for reducing Scottish football’s appeal even further. Dalglish believes it makes business sense if it means keeping season ticket holders happy.
“You can understand why they have chosen (to do) it,” said Dalglish. “They have two Old Firm games each at home every year. They’ve got season tickets they can sell for all the games. The allocation at both Rangers and Celtic for the away games had to impinge on season ticket holders. If Rangers and Celtic can sell season tickets for the whole of the season you can understand why they have done it. (But) You can never undermine an Old Firm game. It doesn’t matter if there’s nobody there, it’s still an Old Firm game. It doesn’t take away from it. It probably makes it even more enjoyable if you go and get a win, to do it without any of your fans there is a great achievement.”
Dalglish recalled days when a couple of steps of terracing separated tens of thousands fans on both sides of the Glasgow divide. “The best games I’ve seen for atmosphere when it is 50-50 and you could go straight down the middle, one side blue, one side green, with a couple of steps in between,” he said. “They just turned up! There were no tickets. It is a massive game to watch and even better to be involved in, especially when you are winning. But they have to be sensible.”