Ups downs and Europe: What can happen this weekend in Scottish football

The Premiership title, European jostling and the pyramid play-off are all up for grabs.

Ups downs and the race for Europe: Scottish football reaches thrilling climax to season SNS Group

Scotland’s football season is hurtling towards the finish line after nine months of drama, controversy and memorable moments.

A winter World Cup forcing a four-week break alongside the introduction of VAR has already made for an intriguing campaign, with five Premiership games, promotion play-offs and a Scottish Cup final still to come.

The Championship provided a stunning final day on Friday, setting a benchmark for the top flight to try and match.

So what can be decided this weekend?

Scottish Premiership – The top six

Celtic will be crowned champions if they beat Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday regardless of second-place Rangers result at home to Aberdeen.

Celtic will be champions if they beat Hearts on Sunday. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

It will mark a second straight title for Ange Postecoglu’s side and keep them on course for a fifth treble in six years with the Scottish Cup final to come at the start of June.

Rangers are virtually guaranteed to finish second unless Celtic lose all of their remaining five league games and the Ibrox side win all of theirs.

It will mark a first trophyless season for the club since the 2019/20 season.

Aberdeen are in pole position to finish third, which could come with the prospect of guaranteed European football until Christmas should Celtic beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup final.

In that scenario, the team finishing third would go into the Europa League play-off, with victory sending them into the competition proper and defeat dropping them into the Conference League.

The fourth-placed side, currently Hearts, would be bumped up into the Conference League’s third qualifying round, while the team in fifth, currently Hibernian, would go into the second qualifying round.

Hibs face St Mirren, who complete the top six, at Easter Road on Saturday with both sides locked on 44 points.

The Easter Road outfit are only ahead on goal difference.

If Inverness were to pull off the upset of all upsets and win the Cup, they would go into the Europa League play-off round – the first Scottish second tier side to qualify for Europe since Hibs in 2016.

Scottish Premiership – The bottom six

Livingston can end all slim chances of being dragged into a relegation play-off spot with victory against bottom of the table Ross County in Dingwall on Saturday afternoon.

St Johnstone were comfortable winners against Dundee United in October, but the two sides have experienced drastically different runs of form since then. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)SNS Group

The Lions, who are seventh, missed out on a top six place on the final round of fixtures before the split.

Motherwell can also virtually seal their safety if they beat Kilmarnock, who currently occupy the play-off position.

Dundee United are only in tenth on goal difference, but an upsurge in form means they will take a bumper crowd to St Johnstone on Saturday.

Managerless Saints are just two points ahead of 11th having beaten Inverness in the relegation play-off last season.

Nothing can be finalised in the bottom half of the Premiership this weekend.


Dundee dramatically claimed the second tier title at Ochilview with a thrilling 5-3 win over Queen’s Park on Friday evening.

Dundee lifted the Championship trophy in dramatic fashion on Friday evening. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)SNS Group

The sides, who occupied the top two places going into the game, were locked at 3-3 at half time before the Dark Blues scored twice in the second period to seal an immediate return to the top flight under Gary Bowyer.

It got even worse for Queen’s as results elsewhere dropped them into third, meaning they face an extra play-off game if they want to return to the top tier for the first time in over 65 years.

Ayr United leapfrogged them into second by virtue of their win at Inverness, who miss out on the play-offs altogether.

Queen’s will now face Partick Thistle in the first play-off match, with the winners taking on the Honest Men.

The winners of that will face the side that finishes second bottom of the Premiership.

Cove Rangers were relegated to the third tier after their first Championship season having finished bottom on goal difference.

League One

Dunfermline were runaway winners of the third tier having secured an immediate return to the Championship on April 15.

Dunfermline wrapped up the League One title in April. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

They will finish a minimum of 11 points ahead of second-placed Falkirk, who are guaranteed to be runners-up.

Airdrieonians and Alloa Athletic are both on 57 points in third and fourth place respectively, but both are guaranteed a play-off place.

The winner of that play-off race will face Hamilton Accies for a place in the second tier.

At the bottom, Peterhead’s relegation was confirmed last week.

League Two

Stirling Albion were confirmed as champions of the third tier on April 22.

Stirling Albion won the League Two trophy after winning at Forfar. (Photo by Sammy Turner / SNS Group)

Dumbarton are guaranteed to finish second, while Annan Athletic in third lead fourth-placed East Fife by a point, though both will finish in the top four regardless of results elsewhere.

The winners of that play-off race will face Clyde for a place in the third tier next season.

Albion Rovers are likely to finish bottom. They are on 36 points, three behind ninth-place Bonnyrigg Rose, and would require an 11-goal swing to catch the Midlothian side.

Highland/Lowland League play-off

Lowland League champions Spartans scored a late winner in the first leg of the pyramid play-off against Brechin City to take a 1-0 advantage to Glebe Park on Saturday.

The Glebe Park hedge could make its return to League Two. (Photo by Simon Wootton / SNS Group)

The Edinburgh side have never played higher than the fifth tier, but face a tough test against Andy Kirk’s side.

The winner of that meeting will face the bottom-placed team in League Two, likely Albion Rovers, for a place in the league next season.

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