Alan Hutton claims that the first Rangers clash against Celtic was “definitely” pushed back by the SPFL in a bid to allow fans to be in attendance. 

The former Gers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits that the atmosphere at an Old Firm match is “mind-blowing” and that it is no coincidence the game has been scheduled as late as possible.

The Scottish Premiership fixture list was revealed on Monday morning, with supporters made to wait until October until the two Glasgow giants face off at Parkhead.

The season is set to kick off without fans in attendance as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but there may be a chance supporters could return before the end of the year.

Hutton admits it would be a shame to see the stands empty if necessary but insists that players should be able to adapt regardless.

Asked if he thought the date of the first derby clash had been rigged, Hutton told Football Insider: “It definitely has been. Randomly brought out in the first round of fixtures? It’s some coincidence that.

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“It made me laugh that between that and Aberdeen away as the first game of the season, one of the toughest ones that you can get, it’s kind of unbelievable.

“It is what it is, you have to play all the teams, it doesn’t matter when it comes. I do understand what they’re trying to do, the Old Firm games are built round the atmosphere, everybody loves it, the noise in the stadium is mind-blowing so I do get why they’re trying to hold it off.

“Me personally, as a player who’s played in it, it doesn’t really bother me if the crowd were there or not. Yes, I spoke about the atmosphere but the players will know exactly what has to be done on the pitch and how big it is to everyone involved.”

Rangers beat Celtic in the last derby day, with goals from Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic securing a 2-1 win in December.

However, the Bhoys beat the Gers in both the first meeting of the season as well as in the Scottish League Cup final.

In other Rangers news, there have been major new developments over the future of Alfredo Morelos at Ibrox.

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