Celtic have been confirmed as champions for the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership season, in a decision that also sees Heart of Midlothian relegated.
The decision was taken after the top flight clubs took a unanimous decision that the season could not be concluded.
The Scottish Professional Football League met with all clubs on Friday May 15, and confirmed on the following Monday that the Hoops would win their ninth successive Scottish title.
SPFL title decided on points-per-game tally
Places in the league have been determined on a points-per-game average. When action was suspended on March 13, Celtic were 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers, having played one game more.
The SPFL chairman, Murdoch MacLennan, said in a statement: “Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to officially congratulate Celtic on their achievement of winning the Ladbrokes Premiership this season, and also to sincerely commiserate with Hearts on their relegation.”
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster confirmed that the decision allows his organisation to pay out around £7 million in fees that will help clubs to stay afloat while they have to deal with the consequences of the Covid 19 outbreak.
Celtic coach Neil Lennon was in bullish mood when he spoke in celebration of his team’s title on the Hoops’ official website.
“Together we have shown that we are a powerful force and once again the best team in the country,” said Lennon.
“While many will seek to challenge us, the title is ours and we deserve it. We are indeed champions for a reason.”
Celtic also urged their supporters to continue to follow government advice regarding social distancing, and celebrate the title win at home.
The Celts won 26 games out of 30, scoring 89 goals and conceding just 19 in their run to the crown.
Broken Hearts to take action
Heart of Midlothian, however, are not happy at all that they have been relegated.
The Edinburgh club is instead submitting a members’ resolution to all clubs in the league in the hope that it can keep them in the top flight.
“Hearts will shortly submit a member’s resolution that we believe is a pragmatic solution to the issues the game currently faces and a way forward that the clubs can unite behind,” read a statement on club’s official website.
“It is our belief that this resolution, if supported, will provide an opportunity to avoid disproportionately disadvantaging – financially and otherwise – any club.
“As previously intimated the club has been taking legal advice throughout this process and are continuing to do so.
“We hope that the resolution being prepared will avoid the need to go down this route. Legal action would be both time consuming and expensive.
“However the cost to the club of relegation would outweigh these considerations.”
Doncaster also confirmed that the focus now was on getting all the clubs playing competitive football again as soon as possible.
The Betfred Cup is set to start in mid-July, with the 2020/21 season pencilled in to begin on August 1 in all four divisions of the SPFL.