Axed till August Fear, a Solution – 14 team, 39 games league, no split and Glasgow Cup Final

THIS morning we are looking at what’s next for Scottish football after yesterday’s unprecedented decision was taken to suspend the game indefinitely as the country struggles to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Niall J started us of by outlining how the season could be concluded if play resumes over the next few months…Read Thoughts on a way to conclude the Premiership and Scottish Cup here…

Then we looked at what plans the English Premier League clubs are putting in place in the event of the season having to end early. Two teams will be promoted but there will be no relegation and five sides will get relegated at the end of the following season. Oh, and all the clubs are in agreement that runaway league leaders Liverpool should be crowned Champions. …Liverpool ‘set to be handed the Premier League title’ if season is ended.

This morning in his newspaper column Chris Sutton argues that Celtic – as league leaders with a huge thirteen point advantage, should be Champions if the league has to be ended early North of the Border. And he also argues that Hearts, currently 4 points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership, should be relegated.

What is clear is that Scottish football will resume at roughly the same time as the English leagues resume playing – there is no logic in anything else happening and next week the Scottish bosses Ian Maxwell from the SFA and Neil Doncaster from the SPFl are set to meet with their English counterparts to discuss all the options, amid reports this morning that there will be no football until August.

How then can Scottish football deal with this? The plan outlined in our earlier article on Liverpool being named as Champions is a good one and should be looked at. Last week The Celtic Star carried several articles on possible reconstruction within the league formats and it was fair to say that the current format is not loved or even liked by the fans.

Clubs are going to be short of money if there are to be no games until August so the next season probably needs to try to address that and allow the clubs the opportunity to play more games to bring in the funds to make up for the lost revenue they will now have to endure.

And to relegate Hearts and add to that with the financial losses they’d incur due to the coronavirus crisis is just plain daft.

So what should Scottish football do in the event that the league is ended early and there will be no football until August 2020?

* Declare Celtic as Scottish Premiership winners and Champions . The 13 point lead renders any counter argument of a title race still being on as ridiculous. If need be get the Pools Panel (if they still exist) to predict all remaining games, just declare all remaining games as 1-1 draws, or better still just end the league at 30 games with only the Rangers v St Johnstone game being outstanding to get all teams up to that mark. Declare that as a 1-1 draw and close it down.

* Scrap relegation. Hearts would still have a valid chance of avoiding the drop and Hamilton certainly did not feel safe from the drop and were in the play-off spot before the game was suspended. Both Ross County and St Mirren are only two points ahead of Hamilton so could easily have ended up in the play-offs.

* Declare Dundee Utd as Champions in the Championship and promote them along with Inverness Caley Thistle, who sit four points ahead of Dundee. This means that the Scottish Premiership will have 14 teams next season.

* If there is a desire to revert to 12 team league with the split then announce that three teams will be relegated in season 20/21 and a fourth will be involved in a play-off with the runners up in the Championship, with only the Championship winners gaining automatic promotion. Or just keep the 14 team structure with one down and second bottom going into a play-off.

* Play the Scottish Cup semi-finals and Finals on the midweek as a season opener in early August with the final a few days later on the Saturday. Maybe give the four teams involved a bye from the first round of League Cup.

*Ensure that Broadcasters continue to pay the clubs even when there is no football taking place. These broadcasters will after all continue to take the subscriptions from the supporters.

* League format – let 14 teams play each other 3 times, 39 games. No split. The only real loss to the deal with the broadcasters is the fourth Glasgow Derby. Handle that by having a Glasgow Cup Trophy match played between Celtic and the Rangers at the ground of the club who only has one home game (these things happen with the split anyway). Remember all the clubs benefit from the Sky money so this works for them financially. Play that Glasgow Cup Final match at the end of December to give it a unique space in the calendar. In terms of wiping out the spit unfairness this works, for instance if Celtic play twice at Pittodrie one season and only once agains Aberdeen at Celtic Park then the next season the opposite happens


As always we welcome your ideas, opinions and suggestions. I’ll open a thread on this on Celtic Noise where you are welcome to join in, and please email me at and we’ll share your views with the Celtic Support.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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