The SPFL have been accused of showing ‘disrespect’ to Hibs after league leaders Celtic were handed the chance to clinch a seventh consecutive title at Easter Road.
The league’s governing body eventually released the post-split fixtures for the Ladbrokes Premiership on Wednesday afternoon.
It is believed the preferred date for the last Celtic-Rangers clash of the season was the first weekend after the split as authorities were keen to avoid a potential title-decider between the heated rivals.
However, those plans were thrown out when Hearts’ defeat over Aberdeen, coupled with a win at Hamilton, meant Celtic could clinch the title with a win next weekend.
Instead, the champions-elect will now travel to Easter Road to take on Neil Lennon’s side before hosting Rangers the following week.
Former Hibs star Ivan Sproule believes the league have underestimated his old club by assuming Brendan Rodgers’ men will have everything wrapped up before meeting their rivals.
He told the Daily Record: “Hibs won’t need much more motivation going into this game now. That has nothing to do with Celtic or Rangers going for a title win.
“It is all about the disrespect that has been shown by the SPFL to say we think Celtic could easily roll up to Easter Road and win the league. They have clearly thought there is more chance of Celtic clinching the championship against Hibs.
“I was over at Ibrox this season and from what I have seen Hibs will give Celtic every bit as good a game as Rangers would. That’s no disrespect to Rangers.
“Hibs could win the game and then the nightmare scenario could well unfold. It is not as clear-cut as everybody thinks and Hibs could go and beat Celtic.
“There will be a few twists and turns yet. It would actually serve the SPFL right if that did happen and their decision came back to bite them.”