Carlisle pub to close ahead of possible influx of Old Firm fans

Credit: ITV News / PA

Some pubs in Carlisle will be closed on Saturday as the city braces itself for a possible influx of Scottish football fans wanting to watch the Celtic-Rangers derby.

Police have issued a warning - telling supporters not to travel over the border. But some bars have decided to shut or not show the game, over concerns about how to enforce COVID rules.

Gallaghers, on Botchergate, will close their doors all day on Saturday. Owner, Seamus, says he has to prioritise his regulars over visiting fans. He told ITV Border: "Since the pubs closed in Glasgow, we've been inundated with phone calls. We've had hundreds.

"I want to protect the staff and, of course, my regular customers and the National Health Service. That's the reason why I decided to close the doors, just for the one day."

Just down the road, the owner of the Lint has decided to stay open but keep the TV off - even if it means a dent in his profits. Owner, David Gartside, said: "I just felt like it was going to be inappropriate with everything going on, with the new Covid rules.

"I've been so well supported by my locals, they've done everything to abide by what I've done. It would seem inappropriate to put them at risk by bringing people in from other areas and causing extra problems."

Covid-19 restrictions means fans can't watch the first Celtic v Rangers game of the season at the ground, and depending where in Scotland they live, they can't watch it in the pub or with alcohol.

Police have urged footie fans not to cross the border and reminded them that local restrictions apply. Superintendent Matt Kennerley, from Cumbria Police, said: " Our officers will be out in town centres and busy areas to enforce breaches of the regulations.”

The Scottish Government has also asked people not to travel outside their health board area unless necessary something the First Minister reiterated during her briefing today.

Sturgeon said: "Nobody likes the fact that these restrictions have to be in place, but they are vital to protecting all of us and keeping us safe.

"So please comply with restrictions, by doing that you will be playing your part in helping us get the virus under control.

"And you'll be helping hasten the day when we can all watch and enjoy the things that we love doing whether that's football or the many things that we find ourselves not able to do normally."

Sturgeon reminded football fans to remain in their health board area. Credit: PA

She continued: "Watching football, no matter how essential it may feel for some, does not fall into that essential category (visiting others in their homes).

"Don't be deeply irresponsible by trying to flout the rules.

"I believe the vast majority of football supporters will behave responsibly. They care about their own health, and the health of their loved ones.

"They don't want people to unnecessarily die."

British Transport Police officers will be patrolling the network and told us the new Scottish Government measures for those in the Central Belt area gives clear advice. Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work, where it cannot be done from home.