Post-split fixtures announcement delayed until after Dundee play Rangers

Clubs and fans will need to wait to find out who they play in the Premiership run-in.

SPFL post-split fixtures announcement delayed until after Dundee play Rangers SNS Group

Premiership clubs and their fans could be waiting until next week to learn their post-split fixtures, with the SPFL holding off until all matches have been completed before publishing the schedule.

Saturday’s results established who will be playing in the top and bottom six after Dundee’s draw at Aberdeen confirmed that they will be in the top half of the league, while Motherwell’s draw with Hibernian ended both sides’ hopes of leapfrogging the Dark Blues.

Dundee still have one game to play though, with their twice-postponed match against Rangers to be played on Wednesday. The SPFL say they won’t finalise the post-split schedule until after that game has finished and the pre-split schedule has been completed.

The scheduling of post-split games is often far from straightforward, with clubs needing to be guaranteed an even number of home and away games over the 38-game season.

That can mean “fixture-swapping” being done after the split, where a team may have to travel to play another team three times instead of the usual two away and two home games format.

The scheduling of the matches can also affect when the Premiership can be won, with the authorities keen to avoid a head-to-head match where the title is settled. Rangers’ defeat to Ross County on Sunday leaves the Ibrox side trailing Celtic by four points with Wednesday’s game in hand and both teams having five to play – including the derby at Celtic Park – after the split.

Were Rangers to lose to Dundee in the midweek game, then a derby against their city rivals would have to be on the first post-match fixture to avoid any mathematical chance of it being a title decider.

This means fixtures won’t be published until Thursday at the earliest but possibly not until the start of next week at the latest.

This weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-finals mean no league action until Saturday, April 27, but clubs will want to begin arrangements and sell tickets as soon as possible.

Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Kilmarnock, St Mirren and Dundee have been confirmed as the top six teams, while Hibs, Motherwell, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Ross County and Livingston.

After the condition of the pitch led to Dundee’s game against Rangers being postponed twice, the SPFL has already said that a pitch inspection is to be held on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s game.

The SPFL is to publish contingency plans in the next 24 hours, which are expected to name an alternative venue to host the game if conditions at Dens Park mean the pitch remains unplayable.

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