Scottish Premiership should be extended - McNamara

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DUNDEE United manager Jackie McNamara has called for the Scottish Premiership to be extended.

McNamara feels the clubs at the top of the Championship would enhance the top flight and pointed to the fact that Hibernian and Falkirk are in the last four of the William Hill Scottish Cup as evidence.

The Dundee United boss believes the standard of second tier teams is strong enough to justify such a move. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The Dundee United boss believes the standard of second tier teams is strong enough to justify such a move. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

A bold plan to shake up the leagues – for the top four in the second tier to join the bottom four of the top flight during the season – was defeated just over two years ago, with the compromise deal being the new top-flight play-offs.

A larger league has been dismissed for financial reasons but McNamara believes it could freshen up the Scottish game. McNamara told BBC Scotland: “We have enough good teams in the Championship to extend the league and make it more exciting.

“Some countries only play 30 games a season and we’ve played Celtic seven times this season.

“It’s shown in even the cup games – there are Championship teams in the semi-final. You look at the league this year and Aberdeen haven’t managed to beat Celtic, but they’ve managed to hang in there by beating everybody else.

“Regardless of what’s happened in the last few years with all the clubs, it’s a chance to extend the leagues. The players are out there, the teams are out there, given the chance I think it would be better for everyone.”

United face Aberdeen at Pittodrie today looking to build on last weekend’s victory over Hamilton, their first win in 10 matches.

McNamara said: “In training this week, the mood has been good because results can settle things down and the lads have been in positive form.

“That’s what you would expect after getting a result like we did against Hamilton. It helps but you have to build on it.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean is not worried about Celtic clinching the Scottish Premiership crown at Pittodrie – because he thinks the Dons will spoil their party.

The post-split fixtures announced this week see Celtic travel to the Granite City on Sunday, 10 May, two games before the end of the campaign.

If both Derek McInnes’ men and Ronny Deila’s team win their three games before then, Celtic will be able to celebrate their fourth successive title at the home of their nearest challengers with another victory.

But McLean believes Celtic will have to put the champagne on ice.

He told RedTV: “[Celtic winning the title here] could happen, that’s the way it has worked out. But if Celtic come to Pittodrie, we are fully expected to take three points.

“If that stops them winning the title, then that will make it even better.

“We have six games to go, starting with Saturday.

“The Celtic game is a few weeks down the line and we will look at it when it comes. Right now all we are doing is focusing on Saturday.”

Dundee United ended Aberdeen’s hopes of retaining the Scottish League Cup back in January when they defeated the Dons 2-1 in the Hampden semi-final.

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