GLASGOW is counting the cost after Scottish football was placed into lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Scottish FA board announced on Friday morning that all domestic, professional and grassroots football is to be suspended after a meeting of the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group.

This includes Sunday's hotly anticipated Old Firm clash between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox, which will now be rearranged for a later date.

The famous fixture has previously been estimated to be worth more than £120 million to the economy each year and 1.4m people tuned in to watch the sides' Celtic Park battle in December; an SPFL record.

It is also repeatedly a money-spinner for pubs and bars across the city with thousands descending on watering holes each match day.

Many will open as normal on Sunday and, while backing the decision, say there is likely to be a loss of cash through the tills.

A spokesperson from the Viceroy Bar, in Paisley Road West, told The Glasgow Times: "It is better they have cancelled it and we need to put the safety of fans first.

"We do have a very strict policy with admission on Old Firm day and only allow in our regulars but it does still generate a lot of money for us on that day.

"It is not just for the safety of the people who go to the game but it is also how it might then affect their families and others around them."

It is the first time an Old Firm clash has been postponed since the tragic passing of Motherwell player Phil O'Donnell.

O'Donnell, who played for the Hoops from 1994 until 1999, collapsed on the pitch during the North Lanarkshire side's December 2017 game with Dundee United and later died in Wishaw General Hospital.

The Old Firm fixture was also put on hold in 1997 following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Football bosses say this week's decision has been made in the interests of the ‘health and safety of players, match officials, staff, supporters and the general public’.

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “Since the guidance outlined by governments last night we have been engaged in extensive dialogue to clarify the position and implications of that guidance for Scottish football.

“Today’s announcement is made in the interests of public health but, equally, the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game. This is of paramount importance as the country enters the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is also why the Scottish FA is compelled to ensure that the suspension is cascaded through the non-professional and grassroots games until further notice.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: “As everyone knows, this is a fast-moving and unprecedented situation for the entire country.

“We have been in intensive and detailed discussions since last night and have also been taking on board the experience of our counterparts in England and across Europe. As a result, the board of the SPFL has agreed this morning that all league fixtures this weekend and next midweek will be postponed until further notice.

“The health and safety of fans, players and officials is absolutely paramount. We have not yet had any confirmed cases of Coronavirus amongst players in Scotland, but, given the nature of this outbreak, it seems only a matter of time.

“We realise that many people will be bitterly disappointed, and we would obviously prefer to be in a position where we can continue as normal, but that’s neither realistic nor possible.”

A Rangers spokesperson said: "The safety of fans and the general public must come before anything else and we must all try to minimise the spread and effects of coronavirus."

A Celtic spokesperson added: "The health and well-being of supporters, players and staff will always be of paramount importance." 

Meanwhile, former Rangers player Mikel Arteta is recovering after the Arsenal manager tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week.

The London club confirmed on Thursday evening their Spanish head coach had contracted the virus and had placed the entire first-team, including former Celtic star Kieran Tierney, into self-isolation.