Ally McCoist: Relegating clubs without completing the season is a greater injustice than awarding titles

‘There will be an asterisk’ against the names of Celtic and Liverpool if they are declared champions

Ally McCoist believes it would be an injustice if teams are relegated without the season being completed.

Ally McCoist believes relegating clubs without completing the 2019-20 season on the pitch will be a greater injustice than awarding titles.

The former Rangers striker and manager insists “there will be an asterisk” against the names of Celtic and Liverpool if they are declared champions in Scotland and England in the event their respective campaigns cannot be resumed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

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But McCoist feels a bigger threat to the integrity of both the SPFL and English Premier League lies in the prospect of teams such as Hearts, Partick Thistle and Aston Villa being relegated despite all being in positions where their fate was far from being sealed.

“For me - and I genuinely mean it - the far bigger issue is that awarding somebody (a title) for something that hasn’t happened is one thing, but in my opinion there is no way on this earth that you can punish somebody for something that hasn't happened,” said McCoist.

“How can you possibly relegate Aston Villa? How can you possibly relegate Partick Thistle, who have got a game in hand to take them out of the relegation zone?

“I think up here in Scotland we're kind of flirting our way through it, we'll try and appease everybody by saying: ‘right, we'll have a (league) reconstruction’.

“Ann Budge is on the committee (working on reconstruction) - what's Ann going to vote for? Of course she's going to vote for Hearts' best interests. Absolutely going to do it, she'd be crazy not to.”

Sympathy for Celtic

McCoist, speaking to the Keys & Gray show on Bein Sports, admits he sympathises with the situation Celtic and Liverpool find themselves in.

The Scottish champions were 13 points clear at the top of the Premiership when football was suspended on 13 March with closest challengers Rangers having a game in hand and 27 points still to play for.

In the English Premier League, Liverpool were in an even more commanding position with a 25 point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who had a game in hand, with nine games of the campaign remaining for the Anfield club.

The SPFL board has already called time on the Championship, League 1 and League 2, awarding titles to Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, and has the authority to decide the Premiership with the same points-per-game formula applied to the table as it stands.

“I think no matter what happens, there's going to be a lot of people upset,” said McCoist. “There are going to be splits.

“Now, you've got to say straight away - and I include Liverpool in the same scenario as Celtic - they deserve the opportunity to win the title outright for themselves.

“If you asked Liverpool, Celtic, Dundee United or whoever it might be that might get presented with a championship, they would want the right and the responsibility to go and do it themselves.

There will always be an asterisk

“Hopefully that will still be the case (with Celtic and Liverpool). But I think the relegation issue is a bigger problem. Because if Liverpool are given the title, and Celtic are given the title, and Dundee United are given the title no matter what happens, through no fault of their own, there will be an asterisk against it.

“So there'll be a question mark against it. That's not Liverpool's fault, it's not Celtic's fault, it's not Dundee United's fault. They want the opportunity to try and win it. If it's not going to happen and it's given to them, there will be an asterisk against it.

“We can argue, of course we can argue, about should Liverpool get the title, should Celtic get the title, should Dundee United get the title.

“We can sit here and say: ‘Liverpool were going to win the league, Celtic were going to win the league’. But the fact of the matter is that in the rules it clearly states the title will be awarded after all the games have been played and the team that wins the league wins the league. And that makes sense.”

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