The man in charge of policing in the Tayside area today passed on Police Scotland’s very best wishes to the two local teams that will contest this year’s Scottish Cup Final on Saturday (May 17).
Chief Superintendent Eddie Smith, himself no stranger to Scottish football’s high drama having been a top flight referee for more than a decade, hopes both Dundee United and St Johnstone serve up an entertaining contest at Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon and provide a fitting finale to the 2013-14 season.
He said: ‘‘It’s great to see two local teams in the cup final showdown and I hope they serve up a game to remember for the tens of thousands of fans who will be heading to Glasgow from Tayside. It’s a terrific occasion for those supporters and, whoever wins, I hope they will all return with good memories of their Cup Final day.
‘‘From a policing point of view, my officers will be on hand to see them off and to welcome them back on their return. We will also have police officers out in force in Dundee and Perth to ensure everyone is enjoying the day in the right manner.
‘‘Our colleagues in Glasgow will also be working hard to ensure everyone can enjoy the carnival atmosphere of the Scottish Cup Final and will be keeping people safe throughout the day.’’
Around 50,000 fans anticipated to migrate from Tayside to Strathclyde to be at the stadium in time for the 3pm kick off.
A significant number of pubs across Tayside will be opening their doors as early as 9am to allow supporters to gather at their local for a drink before boarding the buses to Glasgow.
Police Scotland has been working closely with the local licensed trade in this regard and will maintain a highly visible presence in and around pubs and clubs throughout the day and night to ensure no one abuses the extra drinking time.
Tayside Division officer numbers will be complemented by colleagues from elsewhere in Scotland to try to ensure that supporters can celebrate the occasion in the right way and that other people can go about there day and night without threat or fear.
Clearly the Tayside exodus will result in a heavy flow of traffic – buses, coaches and cars en route to the final and returning later. Please allow plenty of time for your journey to ensure you reach Celtic Park in plenty time.
No alcohol is allowed on buses and coaches and Police Scotland will be stopping vehicles to ensure this legislation is complied with.
Extra trains will be running the route on the day and again, Police Scotland along with British Transport Police urges supporters to be good natured and considerate of all passengers.
Once the destination of the cup has been settled, Police Scotland officers will be out in force to assist with the local parade and celebrations – be they in Dundee or Perth.
Good luck to both sides!