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SPFL go onto mute as they keep fixtures top secret

The SPFL has fallen strangely quiet on the issue of the post-split Premiership fixtures.

Imagine in any other environment a business with close to 150,000 regular customers, the majority of whom have paid up months in advance being left in the dark about who their team will be playing in less than a fortnight?

Yesterday Celtic played their 16th home match of the campaign in the SPFL, Season Ticket holders are entitled to attend three more matches but have no idea when they will be.

Five dates have been set aside between April 27 and May 19 which narrows it down slightly but the SPFL are giving nothing away, yesterday on their website the only update was as dull and boring as a night out with Neil Doncaster and his cronies.

Yesterday the SPFL announced:


Celtic beat St Mirren 3-0 to move four points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership, with title rivals Rangers away to Ross County on Sunday. Third-placed Hearts saw off bottom club Livingston 4-2 at Tynecastle while Kilmarnock strenghtened ( WOOPS spelling, should be strengthened, no second t, can’t get the staff) their grip on fourth spot by beating St Johnstone 2-0 at McDiarmid Park. Dundee secured their top-six place with a 0-0 draw at Aberdeen as Motherwell and Hibernian missed out after a 1-1 draw at Fir Park.

Airdrieonians took a big step towards securing a play-off in the cinch Championship after beating Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 at the Excelsior Stadium. Second-placed Raith Rovers are six points behind leaders Dundee United following a 0-0 draw with Partick Thistle at Stark’s Park. Inverness CT claimed a crucial 1-0 win over Queen’s Park at Hampden to move out of the relegation zone while Ayr United thrashed Arbroath 5-0 at Somerset Park to confirm the Red Lichties’ relegation.

Champions Falkirk remain unbeaten in cinch League 1 after beating Hamilton Accies 2-0 at New Douglas Park. It was 0-0 between third-placed Alloa Athletic and fourth-placed Montrose at the Indodrill Stadium. Annan Athletic moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a 4-2 win over Cove Rangers at Galabank while Stirling Albion slipped to ninth following their 1-0 loss at Kelty Hearts. Queen of the South beat relegated Edinburgh City 2-0 at Palmerston.

Bonnyrigg Rose moved four points clear of bottom place in cinch League 2 with a 4-1 victory away to East Fife. Stranraer climbed off the foot of the table with a 0-0 draw at Spartans while Clyde lost 1-0 away to Dumbarton. Champions Stenhousemuir drew 1-1 with Elgin City at Ochilview while second-placed Peterhead beat Forfar Athletic 2-1 at Balmoor.

A competent organisation would have spent the last fortnight preparing to publish the post split fixtures.

Had Dundee beat Motherwell last week instead of losing 3-2 the top six would have been known. Dundee’s place causes a minor problem but nothing that hasn’t been dealt with before. There were two scenarios going into yesterday’s match, one with Dundee and other involving Hibs or Motherwell. Fairly straightforward surely.

The split was introduced in season 2000/01 to accommodate the 12 team top flight. When the SPL broke away from the Scottish Football League part of the agreement was to extend the top division from 10 clubs to 12.

Forty four matches was too much to cope with, back then clubs happily handed over half or more of their stadium to away fans from Glasgow with four visits a season providing a solid source of income.

The split was the compromise, every club in the top flight got three visits from Celtic and Rangers (IL) with those joining them in the top six guaranteed four big pay days at the turnstiles and also on the hospitality front.

The SPL and now the SPFL has more than twenty years experience of the split, the top six has been unaltered over the last couple of weeks, even with one match outstanding the split in the Premiership is known.

Fans have worked it out, there is a 99% chance that Celtic will host a Glasgow Derby, Hearts and Dundee over the five remaining matches with trips to Kilmarnock and St Mirren.

Many fans have got travel arrangements to make, a midweek match at home will result in juggling work patterns for many, away from home the attendance will be 7,000 at St Mirren or double that if it is at Kilmarnock.

So far the SPFL has left supporters in the dark, not even a holding statement setting out a timeline for the publication of the fixtures that the fans are aware of.

Earlier this season Cinch ditched their sponsorship with the SPFL after Doncaster failed to deliver, with the former Norwich chief in place and communications abysmal it is no surprise that next season will start without a sponsor as the SPFL go cap in hand for a new deal.

What credible firm would want any association with the serial failure that is Neil Doncaster and the organisation that continues to employ him?

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