When is the earliest Celtic can win their eighth Scottish Premiership title?

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Celtic have an eighth consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership title in their sights as they seek a third treble on the bounce - but what’s the earliest date the Hoops could have the league wrapped up?

The Bhoys are ten points ahead of Old Firm rivals Rangers in second, and host the Light Blues at Parkhead on Sunday March 31.

Celtic celebrate winning the 2017/18 league title. Picture: SNS Group

Celtic celebrate winning the 2017/18 league title. Picture: SNS Group

A win for Neil Lennon’s side would give the Hoops a 13-point advantage over the Gers with seven games remaining. But could Celtic win the title before the league split?

The division breaks into two after game week 33, with the top six and bottom six sides playing each other once in the remaining five fixtures.

If Celtic win on Sunday, they will have 73 points to Rangers’ 60. The two teams are in action next midweek, with Celtic travelling to St Mirren and Rangers hosting Hearts.

A win for the Hoops combined with Hearts beating Rangers would widen the gap to 16 points (76 points to 60 points) and put Celtic within one win of securing the league flag.

In the final match before the split, Celtic play Livingston and this is the earliest date the champions could retain their title.

If Celtic beat Rangers and St Mirren, and Rangers lose to Hearts, victory over Livingston at Parkhead would hand them the title - regardless of Rangers’ result against Motherwell the following day.

The Ibrox side would be 19 points behind with just 18 points to play for.

Should this scenario play out, Celtic-Livingston is not on television - but Motherwell-Rangers is.

If Celtic draw with Livingston and open up a 17-point lead over Rangers, the Gers would need to win at Fir Park to delay the league being wrapped up before the split.

If Celtic beat Rangers and St Mirren, but Rangers defeat Hearts on April 3, Celtic could still win the title before the split provided they see off Livingston.

That set of results would put Celtic 16 points ahead of Rangers - but a Motherwell victory over Rangers would see Steven Gerrard’s side 16 points adrift with 15 points to play for, handing the league title to Celtic pre-split.

Permutations

Of course, football is a funny old game and rarely plays out in the way we expect, so how else could Celtic win the title before the split?

If Rangers lose to Celtic and draw with Hearts and Motherwell, they would have a total of 62 points after 33 games. Wins for Celtic in the Old Firm clash and against St Mirren and Livingston would give them 79 points.

That scenario would see the Hoops sitting 17 points clear with 15 points to play for, securing them the title before the split.

If Rangers held Celtic to a draw but then lost to Hearts and Motherwell, and Celtic beat St Mirren and Livingston then the Hoops would be 16 points clear with five games left to play, which would be enough to wrap up the title before the league separates.

Remaining pre-split fixtures

Sunday March 31: Celtic v Rangers

Wednesday April 3: St Mirren v Celtic / Rangers v Hearts

Saturday April 6: Celtic v Livingston

Sunday April 7: Motherwell v Rangers