By Keith Hackett

30th Aug, 2021 | 4:55pm

Ex-Premier League ref demands vital Rangers action after 'sad' Celtic development

Keith Hackett has admitted it was “sad” to see no Celtic fans in Ibrox for the first Old Firm clash of the season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee insisted away fans need to be allowed in Celtic v Rangers games of the future.

The Hoops were without fans after Rangers withdrew the 700 away tickets they had issued a week before the game.

Sky Sports reported on 21 August the Gers made the U-turn as Celtic were unable to guarantee a similar arrangement could be made for the game at Parkhead in January.

Sunday’s game was the first clash between the two sides played in front of fans since December 2019 and Rangers ran out narrow 1-0 winners.

“It was pulsating,” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

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“There isn’t a second when a player is not being challenged. It’s played at such a pace.

“I thought the referee was terrific, I’ve praised Scottish referees all season.

“The referee got a feel for the game, an understanding of the challenges. He gave a lot of respect to the players, the players gave him a lot of respect. There was a lot of positives for the referee in that situation.

“I was surprised by the fact there was no away supporters. That was sad.

“You have to ask why? Within the Premier League, there is an agreement before the start of the season about the number of away supporters at the ground. That can be influenced by security involvement, police expressing concerns.

“One thinks that might be the case in Rangers v Celtic. The police may have come in and explained because of security reasons. They may have a limited number of staff.

“These are the two big clubs in Scotland and we’ve got to get to a point where away fans are allowed in because it adds to the already terrific atmosphere.”

In other news, Celtic are close to multiple new signings after a medical reveal.