SPFL Premiership fixtures: key games

The new Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership fixtures have been released ahead of the big kick-off on August 1.

Aberdeen will be looking to challenge Celtic again this season. Picture: TSPL

Here are the highlights on offer over the course of the new season:

AUGUST - Ronny Deila’s Celtic will kick-off the defence of their crown when they host Ross County at Parkhead on August 1.

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SEPTEMBER - For a brief few months last season, it seemed we might have a title race on our hands before Celtic eventually pulled away from Aberdeen. Their first meeting on September 12 at Pittodrie will tell us a lot about what sort of battle we are in for this time.

OCTOBER - Hearts strolled to the Scottish Championship crown last season, winning the league by a massive 21 points. But their trip to face Dundee United at Tannadice on October 17 will test their top-flight credentials to the max.

NOVEMBER - St Johnstone are often overlooked when it comes to the Tayside rivalries but their battles with Dundee are always fierce. The Dark Blues will head to McDiarmid on November 28 and may just find themselves up against a Saints side beginning to flag after their early-season Europa League qualifiers.

DECEMBER - The Boxing Day clash between Hearts and Celtic is the kind of Christmas fixture we were denied by the Jambos’ relegation 12 months ago. Thankfully they are back to host what will hopefully be a memorable festive clash.

JANUARY - The traditional New Year’s Day fixtures have been moved back 24 hours to January 2 but there is plenty reason to think 2016 will start with a bang with Dundee, Highland and Lanarkshire derbies all scheduled for the first weekend of the year.

FEBRUARY - Motherwell and Kilmarnock both found themselves dining at the wrong end of the table last season. Both will hope their date at Fir Park on February 13 does not leave their fans heartbroken on Valentines Day.

MARCH - Dundee United have long held the sway in the City of Discovery, losing just two of their last 12 meetings. But the Dark Blues will hope to end their 12-year wait for a win at their neighbours home when they cross Tannadice Street on March 19.

APRIL - Motherwell famously killed of Celtic’s 2005 title bid with Scott McDonad’s late double. The Hoops will hope they do not suffer any more Fir Park slip-ups in their final fixture before the league splits on April 9.