Scottish Premier League
The Scottish Premier League (SPL) is won by Rangers or Celtic, but not before a lot of miserable games on freezing cold afternoons.
The Scottish title has always been and always will be won by Celtic or Rangers (the Old Firm), who generally alternate. One half of Glasgow lifts the trophy and the other moans about biased refereeing.
The 2005-06 campaign was the only season in history when the Glasgow giants didn’t finish first and second, Hearts didn’t seem to have read the script and were runners-up. Rangers boss Alex McLeish (the Big Eck) had declared in pre-season that he ‘wanted to see what would happen’ if they finished third – the experiment wasn’t well received by their fans.
The Scottish Football Association has outlined the following possible solutions for Old Firm dominance of the SPL:
- Move Rangers and Celtic to English league
- Force Rangers and Celtic to play with 10 men
- Scotland to invade England
Scotland has two representatives in the Champions League. These places go to Rangers and Celtic. One team are eliminated in the qualification stages and try their hand at the UEFA Cup, the other club go out in the group stages of the competition proper.
Two sides are handed places in the UEFA Cup and are mopped up by the likes of Metalist Kharkiv and FC Dnipro Dniproprtrovsk.
The bottom team in the SPL are relegated to the Scottish First Division – it’s usually Falkirk or St Johnstone or something.
These days the SPL is played in a “split league format”.
After 33 games when everyone is pretty sure who the best team is, the league splits in two and clubs play five more matches against sides in their half of the division.
This system cunningly allows the magic of the Old Firm battles to be devalued by playing the fixtures every other week. It also means that teams in the bottom half have a stagnant end to the season with nothing to look forward to on the fixture list.
Dundee United boss Craig Levein has called the format ‘nonsense,’ while Kilmarnock tactician Jim Jefferies stated, ‘with all due respect, who the fuck wants to play St Mirren four times?’
The latest suggestion is to split the league in a 2-10 split. This has the advantage of meaning Setanta only needs to show one game, instead of both the Rangers and the Celtic games each week.
There used to be a winter break in Scotland. The logic behind this was that it is too cold to do anything meaningful in Scotland in the winter, both in football or just generally.
However, the SPL scrapped the break in 2000-01 declaring that ‘it’s always fucking freezing in Scotland so we may as well get it done,’ and adding ‘you’ll warm up when you get running around.’
Many SPL games, as well as almost all lower league and Cup games, are postponed each winter. Under new legislation teams are encouraged to play the fixture as an ice hockey or curling match.