Someone better check fuse on SPFL super-computer after fixture foul-ups - no Boxing Day card and Rangers being sent to Dingwall on Christmas Eve just crackers

You have to wonder about the nick of the infamous SPFL super-computer – and its programming – following the release of the cinch Premiership 2022-23 fixture list.

Some of the unfair, plain stupid and even commercially-deficient match-ups and dates it has thrown up leaves you wondering about the data-fed beast. More specifically, whether it is like one of those old grey whole wall-covering, all squeaks, honks and flashing lights numbers with ginormous reel-to-reels, that were staples of 1960s sci-fi B movies. The sort that would seem to be processing its numbers fine and dandy before smoke started to billow out, the sounds became deafening and the lights blinding, just ahead of the reels swirling off their fixings and the whole damn thing blowing up.

So it is with the top flight fixtures, actually produced – for the seventh year running – by GotSoccer in the United States. Shooty-in with the irony in that moniker … initially, they appear pretty spot on. Juicy opening weekend at the end of July, with Aberdeen travelling to champions Celtic, Rangers handed the always intriguing test on Livingston’s plastic pitch, and promoted Kilmarnock at home to Dundee United standing out. Cracking, too, that the first corking derby rolls around the second week, with the Edinburgh adversaries meeting at Easter Road. Meanwhile, the staging of the first confrontation of Scotland’s big two and title rivals – let’s not pretend otherwise – at Celtic Park on September 3 makes sense.

However, everything – and we mean everything – goes completely awry when it comes to the festive period. Anyone who knows anything about the operations of football clubs will be well aware that there is one absolutely despised day for hosting/playing football games. And that is Christmas Eve. So, what you do you know, GotSoccer – it is blooming football we play over here, y’all – in conjunction with the SPFL, it must be assumed, haven’t just produced a full card for a day notorious for being a dead zone for folk wanting to part with their cash, and take a huge chunk out of their hectic schedules, to go to football. But that isn’t even the half of it. In utterly brainless fashion, Rangers fans will have to make the 360-mile round trip to Dingwall to face Ross County. No bigger away support will be accommodated at the Highland ground, meaning the largest number of paying customers that could be so horribly inconvenienced will be. And let us not overlook the 310-mile round trip Aberdeen’s support have been crazily given on the same, avoid-at-all-costs day away at St mIRREN.

Rangers fans at Dingwall in January - it is nonsensical they are to be sent there on Boxing Day in the forthcoming season. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

As a result of a Christmas Eve card, there are no Boxing Day games. You know, Boxing Day, traditionally recognised as an afternoon when you can get the punters rolling in, as a joyous escape from the in-laws. Instead, we have a midweek, evening round of matches on Wednesday, December 28. Fair enough, as is the desire to have the full bhuna derby day on January 2. Yet, it didn’t have to be this way to facilitate the latter. What on earth would have been the issues with a Boxing Day card, and Thursday, December 29 evening round and then the January 2 jamboree? Let’s punch that in … oops, there are plumes, bits falling off, flashes, warning noises. Doesn’t seem to compute, for some reason.

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