The Scottish Premiership split through the looking glass

The Scottish Premiership reached the split last weekend and the top six sides are now battling it out for the title or a perhaps a European spot or maybe even just their highest ever finishing spot in the top division in its current format.

Josh Sims of Ross County celebrates with team mates Jack Baldwin and Simon Murray of Ross County after scoring to give Ross County a 3-1 lead. Photo Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

And in the bottom six things are perhaps just as interesting as with Ross County’s recent win over dragging St Johnstone, Motherwell and Aberdeen – who played so well at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Celtic – into the fight to avoid that perilous play-off spot.

Poor old Livingston look doomed as strong favourites for relegation into the Scottish Championship as they are rock bottom and there’s still nine points between them and Ross County and only 12 available to play for after their 2-0 win over County at the weekend. However Ross County’s stunning success against theRangers a few weeks back in Dingwall effective sealed David Martindale’s side’s fate, but they will be looking at winning all their games and pull off an unlikely survival stunt.

David Martindale’s Livingston are heading for relegation from the Scottish Premiership

Livingston had just 18 points on the board going into the Scottish Premiership split, the win against Ross County takes them up to 21, so let’s assume that they are going down. The play-off battle looks like being fought out by two sides and after checking the odds at Canada sports betting it looks like being a close call between Ross County (currently on 30 points) and St Johnstone on 31 points. Maybe Motherwell on 37 points  or Aberdeen on 38 points could also get dragged into the dogfight if they don’t get their act together in their remaining four games?

There is great unhappiness amongst the Aberdeen support, and that is shown by the extremely low numbers that were willing to travel to Hampden to take on Scottish Cup holders Celtic in the semi-finals. Hearts had a much bigger support when they played theRangers the next day at the national stadium.

When the draw was announced Aberdeen demanded a 50% ticket share of the 50,000 semi-final tickets but the Scottish FA refused, deciding instead to operate a staged release of sections for Dons fans running from the South stand corner of the West stand around to near enough the centre of the North stand.

As it turns out Aberdeen fans only occupied half of the West stand with Celtic supporters snapping up the rest on FIVE stages of ticket sales as the Scottish FA sent the tickets for the unsold sections to Celtic Park to be snapped up.

St Johnstone and Ross County both have survived play-off dramas in recent seasons against Inverness Caley Thistle and Partick Thistle and will be desperate to avoid that experience again. It’s going to be some battle.

At the top of the table Celtic, who won 2-1 against Dundee on Sunday, now have three home matches –  against second placed theRangers and Hearts and St Mirren. Brendan Rodgers’ side just have one remaining away game at Rugby Park against Kilmarnock.

Meanwhile theRangers went into the split spilling five points from their two games in hand and handing the title initiative back to Celtic. They steadied the ship somewhat will a 2-1 win at St Mirren on Sunday and have two home matches against St Mirren and Dundee and two away games at Celtic Park and Tynecastle against Celtic and Hearts to negotiate. They trail Celtic by three points and have a worse goal difference of five at this moment. For their trip to Celtic Park they will not have any supporters in attendance, as a result of their own actions in cutting allocations and all that followed.

Dundee v Motherwell, Dens Park – 06 April 2024 Photo Russell Cheyne/Shutterstock

Celtic are out in front with 81 points with Philippe Clement’s side now four points behind on 78 points, so they really need to win at Celtic Park if they have any realistic chance of winning the league.

It’s all to play for with Celtic looking at winning the double, theRangers eyeing a treble (having already won the League Cup) and after the Scottish Premiership is decided the top two will meet again on 25 May at Hampden to determine who lifts the Scottish Cup, Callum McGregor or James Tavernier.

For a short while theRangers were the bookies favourites to win the Scottish Premiership but that has changed after theRangers lost in Dingwall and dropped two points at Dens Park. Normal service has been resumed with Celtic leading the market as the Hoops look to secure a 12th title in 13 seasons – the only one one that Celtic failed to win was the behind closed doors season due to Covid which kept the Celtic supporters away.

Our predictions?  After an impressive performance against St Mirren in the 3-0 win, Brendan Rodgers said this time of the season is when Celtic come alive. The Champions look set to retain their title and with two home games coming up against Hearts and then theRangers the Celtic supporters will be doing all that they can to support the team to get the six points that would the title 99% certain (if theRangers beat Kilmarnock at Ibrox this Sunday).

The Scottish Cup is anyone’s guess as is the play-off fight but Ross County might have enough to leapfrog St Johnstone who will have to worry about beating the second best team in the Championship to remain in the top flight of Scottish football next season.

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