Celtic crowned champions and Hearts relegated as SPFL end season


Celtic have been crowned Scottish Premiership champions for the ninth consecutive campaign after the SPFL chose to curtail the current campaign.

What this means is that Hearts have been relegated to the Championship for the second time since 2014.

The SPFL held a meeting on Monday where they decided to bring the campaign to an end, meaning a 51st league title for Celtic.

As with the Championship, League One and League Two, final campaign placings in the Premiership have been determined by points per game in league games played to March 13 by each team.

Neil Lennon’s team held a 13-point lead over Rangers when the campaign was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, having played one more match.

However, Hearts drop out of the top flight, with the Edinburgh side considering legal action against what they see as an “unjust outcome”.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to officially congratulate Celtic on their achievement of winning the Ladbrokes Premiership this season, and also to sincerely commiserate with Hearts on their relegation.

“We would all have rather seen the league season played out on pitches, in stadiums and in front of supporters. This is not the way anybody involved with Scottish football would have wanted to conclude the league season but, given the grave and unprecedented circumstances that we are facing, the board has agreed that it is the only practical way forward.

“Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on sporting competitions around the world and the repercussions will be felt for a long time. Scottish Government restrictions and deep concerns for both player and spectator safety left the SPFL with no realistic option but to call the Ladbrokes Premiership now and we thank the Premiership clubs for their support on this decision.”

In April, the 42 SPFL teams voted – after some controversy – to end the campaign in the Championship, League One and League Two amid the ongoing virus.

However, the Scottish campaign has not been completely cancelled. The SFA remains committed to finishing the Scottish Cup, with the cup at the semi-final stage.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “On Friday, Ladbrokes Premiership clubs expressed their clear and unanimous view that there was no realistic prospect of completing the outstanding fixtures from season 2019/20.

“The SPFL board met on Monday morning and in line with the express agreement of member clubs in April, the board determined that league season 2019/20 and the Ladbrokes Premiership be brought to an end.

“This decision now enables us to pay out around £7m in fees to help clubs stay afloat during this incredibly difficult time. We will begin processing these payments immediately.

“The focus of all those involved in the game will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible.”

He added: “Nobody should be under any illusion as to how complicated and difficult a challenge it will be to return Scottish football to normality.

“We will be liaising with government on the best way forward and working to ensure that all of our 42 clubs are playing football again as soon as humanly possible.”


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