PUBS in Elgin are set to stay open as usual for the forthcoming football visit of Ibrox giants Rangers.
Moray Council have denied rumours that public houses and clubs would be forced to close until after the big Division 3 match at Borough Briggs on Sunday, November 25.
Instead, it has been confirmed that a number of bars in Elgin have applied for an earlier opening time of 11am on the day of the game - 1 hour before the action starts.
A capacity crowd of around 4,400 is expected for the game, which kicks off at noon and is being televised live on the ESPN sports channel.
Speculation had risen that the council, as licensing authority, would order all licensed premises to remain closed until an hour after the final whistle to minimise the risk of drunkenness and disorder.
However, the rumours have been scotched by councillor Ron Shepherd, who chairs the Moray Licensing Board.
"We have every confidence in our local licensees and in the way they run their businesses and we have no intention of interfering with opening hours on that particular day," said councillor Shepherd.
"In fact, far from having their opening hours curtailed, a number of premises have applied to us for an occasional licence to allow them to open an hour earlier on November 24. These applications will be considered on their individual merits."
It is the second time in a matter of weeks that Rangers will be playing a major football game in Moray.
Forres Mechanics played host to a Scottish Cup tie against the Glasgow outfit – managed by former Scotland striker Ally McCoist – at their Mosset Park ground on September 29.
The match attracted an all-ticket capacity crowd of 2,700, and supporters were praised by Grampian Police after just five arrests were made at the ground.