STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Derbies postponed as Premiership winter break to start after Boxing Day

The decision comes after the Scottish Government’s decision to limit crowds to 500 fans from Boxing Day to help curb the spread of Omicron. 

Derbies postponed as Premiership winter break to start after Boxing Day SNS Group
Old Firm: Derby postponed over Covid restrictions.

The SPFL has confirmed that the winter break has been moved forward. 

Scottish football’s New Year fixtures, including the Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee derbies, will now be played in February. 

Celtic will now play Rangers at 7.45pm on Wednesday February 2 with the rest of the derby fixtures played the night before.

The decision comes after the Scottish Government’s decision to limit crowds to 500 fans from Boxing Day to help curb the spread of Omicron. 

Clubs throughout the Premiership expressed concern at the government restrictions and there were immediate calls to move the two-week winter break, which was scheduled to start after January 3. 

The break will now begin after Boxing Day and the league will restart on January 17.

All lower leagues from the Championship to League Two will continue to play.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive, said: “We have had intense and positive discussions with all cinch SPFL clubs over the past 24 hours, since the announcement by the Scottish Government of a three-week period of restrictions on fans attending matches.

“We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar.

“There are mixed views amongst cinch Premiership clubs about what to do for the best. However, a majority favour the postponement of fixtures to give a chance for games scheduled to be played over the festive period to be played in front of fans, once the three-week period of restrictions comes to an end. The SPFL Board has agreed to postpone the 29 December and New Year Premiership fixture cards.

“Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs voted to continue playing through the Government restrictions and we look forward to their festive fixtures over the next fortnight.”

“We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sky Sports and Police Scotland for their flexibility in accommodating these changes and to all cinch SPFL clubs for their clear, positive and constructive feedback as we work together to get through the challenges posed by Covid-19.”

The Premiership fixtures scheduled for December 29, January 2 and January 3 will be played on the following dates:

Monday 17 January
7.45pm Celtic v Hibernian
Tuesday 18 January
7.45pm Aberdeen v Rangers
7.45pm Dundee United v St Mirren
7.45pm Heart of Midlothian v St Johnstone
7.45pm Livingston v Dundee
7.45pm Ross County v Motherwell


Tuesday 1 February

7.45pm Dundee v Dundee United
7.45pm Hibernian v Heart of Midlothian
7.45pm Livingston v St Johnstone
7.45pm Ross County v Aberdeen
7.45pm St Mirren v Motherwell
Wednesday 2 February
7.45pm Celtic v Rangers

Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs, Livingston, Celtic, Motherwell, Dundee, Dundee United and St Johnstone all publicly declared a preference to bring the winter break forward. 

The SPFL met with top-flight clubs for a lengthy discussion on Tuesday and spoke to members from across the four divisions on Wednesday before settling on a course of action. 

Boxing Day’s fixtures will go ahead with reduced crowds but the midweek card of games set for December 29 and the New Year games will be postponed as the break takes effect early.  

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the government’s limit on crowds at large-scale events is initially in place for “up to three weeks”.

The league believed it would be more manageable to rearrange two rounds of fixtures than three, which is why the games on December 26 will go ahead as planned.