The ‘split’ system was introduced to Scottish football in 2000/01. After each team has played against each other three times, the league splits into two following matchday 33, with the top six playing against each other for a fourth time, whilst the bottom six do likewise. For the most part, it has been possible to keep a fairly balanced fixture arrangement, with the number of home and away fixtures that each team play being as close to 19 apiece as possible. Sometimes, this just isn’t workable and a small alteration is made such as playing 20 home games and 18 away.
However, the current league table is set to put the SPFL in a difficult position. As it stands, Celtic, ‘Rangers’, Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston and Hibs comprise the top six. Should things stay this way, then, after the fixtures on 4 April, these teams will form the ‘championship group’. This poses a problem for the league because Celtic will have already played all of the top six sides, away from home, on two occasions. Therefore, the Hoops would expect a run in with five consecutive home matches.
This scenario has never occurred since the system was implemented 20 years ago! And if there is no change to the top six then it will be interesting to see how the league manage to solve the fixture issue, without unfairly hindering the title race.
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