CELTIC supporters will outnumber Berwick Rangers fans by nearly three to one when they visit Shielfield for next month’s Scottish Cup clash after being handed 3,000 tickets.
Following meetings with police and council safety officers, the ground’s capacity for the plum fourth-round tie on Sunday January 9 has been set at 4,139.
Celtic will be given three quarters of the tickets to sell, with their supporters allocated most of the terracing right round the ground. That includes the Ducket, meaning habitual home fans who watch their team on a weekly basis from the famous, old covered enclosure will have to take up a seat in the main stand for the big match. Only a small amount of standing accommodation will be available for home supporters at the Shielfield End.
Berwick fans face a scramble to secure one of just over 1100 tickets available for the home end, but chairman Brian Porteous said safety and segregation considerations were the driving forces behind the decision to restrict the number of tickets available. Berwick’s average home attendance this season is around 470.
“We could have sold more for the Berwick end, but because of segregation and discussions with the police we’ve given 3,000 to Celtic,” explained Porteous. “Our fans will be seated in the main stand with the Celtic fans standing on the terracing. Tickets are £20 for all areas.”
Season ticket holders as well as members of the Supporters Trust and Supporters Club have been invited to purchase one ticket each by sending a cheque to the club secretary at Shielfield Park before the cut-off date of Wednesday, December 15. It is understood that remaining tickets will then be released for public sale. The sale of Celtic tickets will be handled directly by the Glasgow club, and Berwick officials have warned that the club reserves the right to eject supporters who are not in the appropriate section and that no refunds will be given.
Berwick are advertising a separate £50 hospitality package, which includes a pre-match meal and match ticket, while the club is also aiming to cash in on potential mascots for the game. They are hoping to attract 11 young people to be the Berwick mascots on the day, each paying £100 for the privilege as part of a package that would include three tickets and souvenir t-shirt.
A portion of the £82,500 to be received by the club from Sky for live TV rights will be deducted by the broadcasting company for additional crane-mounted lights to bolster the Shielfield Park floodlights for a match that will kick-off at 3.30pm.
Berwick have improved their floodlights to comply with Uefa licensing regulations, although they are still not adequate for Sky’s purposes.