OLD Firm games should be held on weekdays to prevent booze-fuelled violence from erupting, campaigners say.

Scotland’s leading anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth believes the move could help take the “sting” out of louts who cause trouble after heated matches.

Last night football fan Francis McCann, nicknamed Francy, was fighting for his life in hospital after being stabbed during celebrations in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

It came hours after Celtic won 2-1 at Celtic Park during the Old Firm match on Sunday - and triggered the worst football violence in two decades.

Nil By Mouth chief David Scott has called for the games to be moved forward to weekday evenings, in a bid to prevent boozed-up yobs from starting trouble.

The charity director said: “We’ve had a very 48 hours after the game – one of the most extremely serious incidents that we’ve had in a long time.

"It used to be that the games were changed to earlier on a Sunday because people would be getting tanked up before the games – but now they are getting tanked up after the games instead.

“If they had a 7.45pm kick-off on a Monday or a Tuesday, that way people have to go to their work before it and their work afterwards.

Read more: Public services are 'an afterthought' in Old Firm plans, claims police union boss

“It’s a tricky one. What went on the other evening happened outside the club so we can’t punish a football club for something that went on outside their grounds.

“What we have to do is take a step back from the events of this weekend, give it a week or so to see what’s happened, let’s hope that the man involved pulls through.

“There should be a fixture split in a week’s time and it’s not unusual for fixtures to be changed to suit television schedules and the sponsorship there.

“We need to make sure they fit public safety.

“My sense is that if a game was on a Monday or Tuesday night at 7.45pm, then that would be a lot tighter for people who are working.

“There wouldn’t be the scope to take alcohol before - or to face the consequences the next day of work with a hangover."

Read more: Witness describes Merchant City ‘stabbing’ after Celtic v Rangers

Nil By Mouth was established by Cara Henderson in 1996 after her friend, Mark Scott, was murdered on his way home from a football match.

The organisation campaigns against sectarianism and provides training and advice workshops for all age groups.

Scottish Police Federation vice-chairman David Hamilton backed their calls for football games to be rescheduled.

And he warned that this weekend's carnage could force lifelong football supporters to walk away from the game once and for all.

He said: "From a police officer's perspective, policing any event, particularly a high-energy football match like an Old Firm match, we would prefer people to sober rather than under the influence.

"So anything that makes it easier to the police and safer to the police, has got to be a good thing.

"If that means moving it back to a Monday or Tuesday then we would welcome that.

"This is the latest in a sequence of football disorder, and it's not just the Old Firm, it's across the country.

"Football needs to get its act together because this is becoming a big, big problem and people and young families in particular are going to walk away from this game because of what they're seeing, what they're hearing and because of how the fans are behaving.

"It's not a pleasant environment and it's not something to be proud of.

"We have to look at this with fresh eyes and with fresh powers to deal with it.

"Some fans think they can behave like criminals and that it's okay to behave like that."

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He added: "It's not acceptable in 2019."

MSP James Dornan - who has repeatedly asked to renew calls for strict liability in Scottish football - welcomed the idea.

The SNP politician also hit out at football bosses and urged them to do more to tackle the issue.

He said: "Anything that is going to lesson alcohol-fuelled violence has got to be a good thing but I'm not convinced that on it's own is going to go anywhere near resolving the issue.

"It's something that the clubs, as I've continually said, have to take responsibility for and the football authorities have to take more responsibility for.

"If they won't do it then the Scottish Parliament and the Government need to introduce some method that ensures fans know the impact is having.

"If this continues then both those clubs should be looking at not having fans."

We told yesterday how an eyewitness working in Merchant City said stab victim Francis, of Drumchapel, was "decorated in blood" after the horrific street brawl at 5pm.

It's believed a fight broke out in one of the pubs on Albion Street before sprawling into the street.

A pal of 47-year-old victim Francis. who was injured on Sunday, said on Facebook: "Hearing Francy is still with us - keep fighting mate."

Cops are treating the attack as attempted murder.

Two other men, aged 29 and 30, were also taken to the nearby Royal Infirmary Hospital with serious injuries.

Nil By Mouth campaigner Mr Scott also urged sports television broadcasters to meet with football clubs and pub bosses to discuss change to when Old Firm events are held.

He continued: “Football events can change for television so I think there’s a role for us to sit down with television companies and show them that it really seems to have bubbled over this time.

“We have to try and sit down perhaps with the licensing department, the pubs and clubs in Glasgow and the council.

“The Scottish Government should also arrange a meeting with football clubs, Sky Sports and Premier Sports who televise the match.

“We need to work out if there is a better way to do this, should we be looking at Monday or Tuesday nights for the next game to try and take the sting out of this.”