Nicola Sturgeon has denied claims her Government took a lenient approach to Scotland fans ahead of the Tartan Army’s trip to Wembley earlier this month.
She said the demands on the Tartan Army and Rangers supporters who celebrated their team’s Scottish Premiership title win in May were exactly the same.
But despite admitting the fans that travelled to London for Euro 2020 have likely contributed to an uptick in Covid cases on their return, The First Minister insisted the difference lies in the actions of both sets of supporters.
Asked at her daily briefing if the Scottish Government could have put more pressure on the SFA to tell fans not to travel, she replied: “We haven’t taken a ‘softly, softly’ approach.
“We were very explicit in saying to fans who didn’t have a ticket for Wembley not to travel.
“We can’t physically stop every person travelling and significant numbers of people did travel.”
Rangers fans celebrate their title win
Ms Sturgeon continued: “I think there is an association between that and some of the cases we’ve seen in recent days — Public Health Scotland is doing of an analysis of this and may publish more detail on that in the coming days.
“So we asked people not to travel and that was the case in terms of asking people not to gather in groups when it was Rangers winning the league a few weeks ago.
“Much of the criticism of Rangers after those events were about the damage and the anti-Catholic abuse that was being hurled around that as well and I think it’s important we don’t forget that aspect of it.”
She added: “I have, almost literally every day, for 16 months now asked people to do really difficult things and forgo things they desperately want to do.”
“People have, by and large, responded magnificently and we need to ask people to continue to do that for a little while longer.