STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Celtic start Premiership title defence against Hamilton

The SPFL have announced the fixture list for the coming season.

The Scottish Premiership fixture list for the 2020/21 season has been released.

Champions Celtic begin their title defence with a home match against Hamilton Accies on August 2 with Neil Lennon’s side aiming to win what would be a record tenth consecutive title.

Rangers begin their campaign with an away match against Aberdeen on August 1 while newly-promoted Dundee United start against St Johnstone at Tannadice.

Motherwell travel to Ross County on Monday, August 3, while St Mirren host Livingston on opening day. Hibs start their season against Kilmarnock at Easter Road.

The first Old Firm derby of the season is to take place at Celtic Park on October 17. Rangers and Celtic will then meet again at Ibrox on January 2, the 50th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster.

The SPFL has announced the full top flight plan expecting a busy schedule, with international, European and Scottish Cup games still to be played from last season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The league has warned that there will be strain on the fixture list as there is just one spare week to play any outstanding postponed fixtures before the split. There will be no winter break for top-flight clubs this season.

Ongoing restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 mean that the opening fixtures are currently slated to be played behind closed doors, with no date set for when supporters will be allowed to return to grounds.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “The pre-season fixture announcement is always a key event in every football supporter’s calendar, but it feels particularly important this year, given the challenges caused by Covid-19.

“Football plays a unique role in the social, cultural and economic life of Scotland, and I’m sure the millions of passionate fans who follow our game will welcome this significant step towards the resumption of matches.

“The unveiling of the 2020-21 Premiership fixtures will allow clubs and fans to start planning their schedules, but it must be stressed that they remain subject to approval from the Scottish government for the restart of football in Scotland.

“That said, the timetable for a return to competitive action is now far clearer and clubs, players and supporters can begin to look forward to the opening day’s fixtures.”