Aberdeen v Kilmarnock & Ross County v Celtic to be test events

'Celtic will be intimidated by a couple of hundred of fans...'

Two of Saturday's Scottish Premiership matches will be played in front of fans after the Scottish government approved their applications to be test events.

Aberdeen's game with Kilmarnock and Ross County's meeting with Celtic will both have up to 300 spectators.

Both home clubs must ensure supporters are from their local areas and must provide a post-match report.

No fans have been in football stadiums since March, with the opening few weeks of the term played behind closed doors.

One test event has been held so far in Scotland - the Pro14 meeting of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

Aberdeen have also confirmed the 300 places will be allocated after a ballot of the first 7,500 fans who bought season tickets. The club will also aim to "ensure a spread of different size groups and ages".

They are also hopeful of being allowed to welcome 750 people into their game against Motherwell at Pittodrie next week, though the club's commercial director Rob Wicks says that will be contingent on the success of Saturday's pilot.

Asked about the prospect of having crowds of up to 9,000 in before the end of the year, Wicks added: "The message that we're getting is that it's going to be a slower build up than perhaps we've seen elsewhere.

"As frustrating as that might be, we'll continue to learn from the experiences. If it all goes to plan then hopefully we can scale quicker than is currently in the planning."

County will also run a ballot of season-ticket holders who are Staggies Army members.

Sports minister Joe FitzPatrick said "nothing should be taken for granted" and that the pilot matches would be "under close review".

Rangers had previously been told they would be unable to host test events until local Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in Glasgow, and St Mirren are now in a similar position after measures were applied in Renfrewshire.

Speaking before the news was confirmed, Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell said it would be a significant marker in the return to some kind of normality in football.

"I know fans are desperate to get back in," he said. "I know a lot of folk will still miss out but I think that small step would be massive for the game.

"They are very, very loyal and even to get a small percentage of them in will be a huge boost to the players and to myself."

A further Scottish government update on when fans might return to stadiums more widely is expected from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 10 September.

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