Celtic declared champions… Hearts relegated after SPFL ends season

Celtic has been confirmed as Scottish Premiership champions for the ninth season in a row – and Hearts relegated – after the SPFL ended the season.

The decision was taken at a board meeting yesterday after the 12 clubs agreed at the end of last week that completing the campaign was unfeasible.

Average points per game played have been used to determine final placings.

The only change to the table from when football was halted on March 13 is that St Johnstone go sixth, above Hibernian.

Celtic were 13 points ahead of nearest challengers Rangers – having played a game more – when the season was put into abeyance. Like most teams in the division, Neil Lennon’s side still had eight games to play.

Hearts were four adrift of Hamilton Academical at the bottom with a possible 24 points available.

However, the Tynecastle club does hold slim hopes of a reprieve after chair Ann Budge was given approval to work on a proposal for temporary league reconstruction, which would involve expanding the top flight.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan congratulated Celtic and commiserated with Hearts and said the league was left with “no realistic option but to call” the season.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added the “clear and unanimous view” of the club was that the games could not be played and that the league can now pay out around £7m of prize money immediately.

“The focus will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible,” he said. “Nobody should be under any illusion as to how complicated and difficult a challenge it will be to return Scottish football to normality.”

Doncaster reiterated that the League Cup is scheduled to begin in mid-July, with the new league season due to begin on August 1. –BBC

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