Where will Rangers play their early Premiership games?

On Thursday morning, the SPFL announce the top flight fixtures for the 2024/25 season.

SPFL to publish Premiership fixtures amid doubt over venue for Rangers games SNS Group

Just 40 days after Celtic lifted the Premiership trophy at the end of the last league campaign, attention turns to the new season on Thursday morning as the SPFL announce the top flight fixtures for the 2024/25 season.

Along with the schedule for the Championship and Leagues One and Two, the publication will allow supporters to make their plans, and the dates for the all-important local derbies will be revealed.

This year, the planners have had to contend with a busier European schedule, as well as scheduling around the international calendar and domestic cups. And there’s added interest to at least one club’s fixtures after doubts were raised by Rangers over whether Ibrox would be ready for the games at the start of the season.

When are the fixtures announced and what are the key dates?

The SPFL will publish the full set of fixtures for all four divisions at 9am on Thursday, June 27. At that point, each of the clubs will publicise their own list on their websites and social media channels.

The league kicks off on the weekend of August 3/4, with the final Premiership matches played on May 13/14. The Championship and League One and Two finish on May 2, with the promotion and relegation play-offs running through until May 25.

No winter break for Premiership clubs

The expansion of the Champions League and Europa League group stages from six to eight group games, means that Scottish sides are guaranteed to be involved in continental competition until at least the end of January.

Those extra matches have put a squeeze on the available dates for league games and SPFL chief operating officer Calum Beattie said earlier this year that one consequence would be the end of the traditional winter break that allowed teams a rest from league fixtures in January.

“It is fair to say that the additional slots required for the UEFA club competitions next season have made scheduling more challenging than usual,” he said.

“In particular, there is very limited flexibility within the Premiership fixture calendar, and we are therefore unable to accommodate a scheduled winter break.”

Where will Rangers play their early games?

Rangers have said that matches at Ibrox will be impacted by a delay to construction work. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)SNS Group

While the new fixture list will tell fans when the matches will be played (subject to change for television broadcast) there’s no detail on where.

Rangers revealed recently that a delay in renovation work on the Copland Road stand at the club’s stadium meant that “there will be an impact on matches at Ibrox at the beginning of the 2024/25 competitive season”.

It’s not entirely unheard of for clubs to have issues with their stadium being unavailable early in the season – Hearts were unable to host their home games at the start of the 2017/18 campaign after forgetting to order seats for the new main stand – but the issue does throw up question about how Rangers will get around fixture problems.

Normally, a club would have three options to consider: postponements, a reversal or ‘flipping’ of fixtures or a change of venue for the affected games.

Rangers haven’t said how they will address the problem but, with the team aiming to compete in domestic competitions and assured of group stage European football until early 2025, requesting a postponement of games from the SPFL would seem unlikely given the fixture congestion it would cause.

Flipping fixtures, where games that are down to be played at Ibrox early in the season switch to the opposition’s ground, with the reverse fixture later in the season being moved to Ibrox, would be an option but would likely need the agreement of other clubs and would also deprive Philippe Clement’s Rangers side of home backing until Ibrox was ready. That approach would also fail to provide a solution for their Champions League qualifier in early August.

Finding an alternative ground to play at would be the most obvious approach and it’s been reported that Rangers could rent Murrayfield or Hampden for games.

Both stadia have been used for summer concerts, with Murrayfield hosting Taylor Swift and Hampden putting on gigs by Foo Fighters and P!nk but it’s expected that either would be ready to provide a temporary home for Rangers.

The Ibrox side is already scheduled to face Manchester United in a friendly at Murrayfield on July 20. Rangers say they are already “engaged with the SPFL and UEFA” to discuss arrangements, and will update supporters in due course.

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