Scottish Premiership 2020/21 fixtures: Celtic and Rangers face October wait for Old Firm showdown
Celtic and Rangers face a wait until October for the first Old Firm showdown of the 2020/21 season at Parkhead.
It is a defining moment in the football calendar, even more so after a troubling few months for Scottish football following the shutdown of the 2019/20 season in March and subsequent fallout.
The standout fixture from the opening weekend is Rangers’ trip to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen which is live on Sky Sports at 5.30pm on Saturday, 1 August, while Celtic host Hamilton as they kick off their season aiming to reach 10 in a row.
There are Boxing Day fixtures and the a fixture card on 2 January, which will see the second Old Firm match played, this time at Ibrox.
The final round of games before the split will take place on the first weekend in April.
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL said: “The pre-season fixture announcement is always a key event in every football supporter’s calendar, but it feels particularly important this year, given the challenges caused by Covid-19.
“Football plays a unique role in the social, cultural and economic life of Scotland, and I’m sure the millions of passionate fans who follow our game will welcome this significant step towards the resumption of matches.
“The unveiling of the 2020/21 Premiership fixtures will allow clubs and fans to start planning their schedules, but it must be stressed that they remain subject to approval from the Scottish Government for the restart of football in Scotland.
“That said, the timetable for a return to competitive action is now far clearer and clubs, players and supporters can begin to look forward to the opening day’s fixtures.
“As well as the opening day fixtures, we are also looking forward to the start of our new, exclusive broadcast deal with Sky Sports. Sky has been an extremely supportive partner throughout this process, not least in allowing our top-flight clubs to offer their season ticket holders a ‘virtual season ticket’ while matches have to be played behind closed doors and we are all excited about embarking on this new partnership.”
The SPFL’s resolution to terminate the season on a points-per-game basis has resulted in legal action against the league body from Partick Thistle and Hearts, who are seeking to overturn their relegations, preventing the promotion of Cove Rangers, Raith Rovers and Dudnee United.
Those clubs are not set to play again until October when the Betfred Cup, Championship and Leagues One and Two are due to begin.
However, former Hearts chairman Leslie Deans reckons the SPFL should have published two fixture lists, one with Hearts included and one with Dundee United, due to the ongoing legal challenge which threatens to disrupt the start of the Premiership season.
The fixture list for the first weekend:
Aberdeen v Rangers
Dundee Utd v St Johnstone
Hibs v Kilmarnock
St Mirren v Livingston
Celtic v Hamilton
Ross County v Motherwell