SPFL fixture release: Full Christmas Eve card scheduled but no traditional Boxing Day fixtures as clubs prepare to learn matches

A full top flight round of matches is due to take place on Christmas Eve for only the second time in 44 years as the Scottish Professional Football League prepares to release its fixtures for the 2022-23 season on Friday.

The new Scottish Premiership campaign will include a five-week hiatus in November and December while the World Cup finals, hosted in Qatar, are played in winter for the first time.

The break for the top flight clubs will come after the 16th round of fixtures on the weekend of November 12 and 13. The Premiership will then resume on Saturday, December 17 (the day before the World Cup final).

No fixtures are planned for the following midweek, meaning the next round of fixtures will be on Saturday, December 24. There will be a midweek card on December 28 with the traditional New Year matches slated for Monday, January 2.

Fixtures for the 2022-23 Scottish Professional Football League season will be released at 9am on Friday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The last time a complete set of top flight games went ahead on Christmas Eve was in 2011 – prior to that, the scenario previously occurred back in 1977 when criticism of the scheduling prompted the then Scottish Football League to avoid the date in subsequent years.

The most recent Premiership action on Christmas Eve came in 2016 when Rangers defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-0 at Ibrox and Celtic won 3-0 at Hamilton Accies. But the rest of the top flight clubs chose to bring their games forward to December 23 that year.

The absence of Boxing Day fixtures in the new season will come as a surprise and disappointment to some supporters, although there remains the prospect of some games being moved either for TV coverage or at the request of individual clubs.

The campaign will start on the weekend of July 30/31 with reigning Premiership champions Celtic kicking off with a home game as they unfurl the title flag.

A Hibernian supporter embracing the festive spirit during a match against Raith Rovers at Easter Road on December 24, 2016 - the last time league fixtures were scheduled on Christmas Eve. (Photo by Bill Murray/SNS Group).

Because of the lay-off for the World Cup finals, the Premiership season will not conclude until the weekend of May 27/28 next year. The Premiership play-off final matches will take place on June 1 and 4, while the 2023 Scottish Cup final at Hampden is scheduled for June 3.

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