By Noel Whelan

12th Jan, 2022 | 4:00pm

Rangers and Celtic set to benefit financially after 'huge' news confirmed - pundit

Rangers and Celtic have been handed a “huge boost” after Scotland gave the green light to the return of fans, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed keeping restrictions in place would have “really hurt” clubs and business.

On Tuesday (11 January), Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the restrictions on large outdoor events will be lifted from next Monday.

Crowds had been restricted to just 500, prompting the SPFL to bring forward the winter break.

That news means Celtic will be able to welcome a capacity crowd to Parkhead for the Old Firm derby against Rangers on 2 February.

Whelan claimed the Glasgow rivalry is “one of the best spectacles” in world football.

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He told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “Financially, it would have really hurt the clubs to keep those rules in place.

“It’s not just Celtic and Rangers, the smaller clubs will need fans through the door in order to stay afloat.

“Safety and health comes first, but at the same time it will be a huge boost to Scottish football. Those rules will have really hurt clubs and businesses.

“We want to see fans in stadiums. The Old Firm is one of the best spectacles to see and be present at in the world of football.”

Celtic will return from their winter break with a meeting against Hibernian on Monday.

Meanwhile, Rangers resume action against Aberdeen next Tuesday.

The Gers lead their Old Firm rivals by six points atop the Scottish Premiership.

In other news, Kieran Maguire issues verdict on Rangers boardroom “power shift” after document “becomes public”.