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Scottish Premier League
Clydesdale premier league.PNG
Countries  Scotland
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1998
Number of teams 12
Relegation to Scottish First Division
Levels on pyramid 1
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Cup, League Cup
International cup(s) Champions League, Europa League
Current champions Rangers (2008–09)
Most championships Celtic (6)
TV partners Sky Sports, ESPN, BBC Scotland
Website http://www.scotprem.com/
Scottish Premier League 2009–10

The Scottish Premier League (SPL, currently known as the Clydesdale Bank Premier League for sponsorship reasons) is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top level of the Scottish football league system, above the Scottish Football League.

Per capita, more people in Scotland watch their domestic top level league than any other nation in Europe.[1] As of March 2010 the Scottish Premier League is ranked 16th in the UEFA rankings of European leagues, which are based on the performances of member clubs in European competitions.[2] A total of 18 clubs have competed in the SPL since its inauguration in 1998–99, but only two have won the title: Celtic (six) and Rangers (five).

Contents

Predecessors

Previously, the Scottish Football League had a two divisional structure (Divisions One and Two) between which clubs were promoted and relegated at the end of each season. However, by the mid 1970s, this organisation was perceived to be stagnant, and it was decided to split into a three divisional structure: Premier Division (formerly Division One), First Division (formerly Division Two) and a newly added Second Division. This system came into force for the 1975–76 season.

This setup continued until the 1994–95 season, when a four divisional structure was introduced, along with a new Third Division, with all divisions comprising ten clubs.

Formation of the SPL

On 8 September 1997, the football clubs in the Premier Division decided to split from the Scottish Football League and form the Scottish Premier League, following an earlier example in England, which came into force during the 1992–93 season. This decision was fuelled by a desire by the top clubs in Scotland to retain more of the revenue generated by the game. Originally, league sponsorship money was divided proportionally between clubs in all four divisions; after the SPL was formed, this was no longer the case.

Originally the SPL contained 10 clubs, but it subsequently enlarged to 12 for the 2000–01 season onwards. The increase from 10 clubs to 12 was part of the deal offered to obtain approval from SFL member clubs. Since then, the SPL has operated a "split league format" to prevent the need for a 44-game schedule, which was once used in the Scottish Premier Division, but is now considered to be too high a number of games in a league season. Under this system, after 33 games (i.e., when every club has played every other club three times, either twice away and once at home, or vice-versa), the division is split into two halves, and clubs play a further five matches, against the teams in their half of the division, taking their total to 38 games.

This can (and often does) result in the team placed seventh having a higher points total than the team placed sixth, because their final five games are considerably easier. In the 2005–06 season, the seventh placed club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, gained more points than the fourth placed club Hibernian.

Promotion and relegation

Providing they meet certain criteria regarding their stadium, the top club from the Scottish First Division is promoted to the SPL, with the 12th-placed SPL club relegated.

In 2003, the league's promotion criteria caused controversy as the chairmen of the member clubs voted against Falkirk's proposed ground share with Airdrie United and stopped the club from having the 10,000 fan stadium capacity it required, thus saving Motherwell from relegation.[3]

The same situation nearly materialised in 2004, but after several votes and discussion, including threats of court cases from Partick Thistle, the team then threatened with prospect of relegation, Inverness Caledonian Thistle were finally allowed promotion provided that they groundshared with north rivals Aberdeen at Pittodrie,[4] a ground over 100 miles (160 km) away. In 2005, the stadium size criterion for entry to the SPL was reduced to 6,000,[5] thereby allowing Inverness Caledonian Thistle to return to their home stadium during the 2005–06 season.[5]

Sponsorship

The Bank of Scotland, who had sponsored the league since March 1999 (The League was unsponsored for most of the inaugural season), did not renew their sponsorship at the end of the 2006–07 season. Talks began with Clydesdale Bank,[6] and a deal was confirmed shortly afterwards. A four-year deal for £8m came into effect from July 2007.[7]

Competition format

Competition

Hearts take on Hibernian in an Edinburgh Derby played at Tynecastle in December 2006

There are currently twelve clubs in the Scottish Premier League. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner.

During the course of a season, which runs from August until May, each club plays the others at least three times, either once at home and twice away or vice-versa. After this first phase of matches, by which time all clubs will have played 33 games, the league splits into a 'top six' and a 'bottom six'. Each club then plays a further five matches against the other five teams in their own section. Points achieved during the first phase of 33 matches are carried forward to the second phase, but the teams will compete only within their own sections during the second phase. After the first phase has been completed, clubs cannot move outwith their own section in the league, even if they achieve more or fewer points than a higher or lower ranked team, respectively.

At the beginning of each season, the Scottish Premier League 'predicts' the likely positions of each club in order to produce a fixture schedule that will ensure the best possible chance of all clubs playing each other twice at home and twice away. These are known as the league seedings and are based on clubs' performance in previous years.[8] However, should a club predicted to finish in the top six finish in the bottom six, it faces the possibility of playing more games away from home than at home or vice-versa.[8] This, in turn, has a knock-on effect on the top-six with an imbalance of fixtures resulting; for example, one club may play one team three times at home and once away.[8]

The bottom placed SPL club at the end of the season is relegated, and swaps places with the winner of the Scottish First Division, provided that the winner satisfies the league's entry criteria.

There has been criticism of the league's format, mostly focused on the controversial 'split'. In April 2007, Craig Levein labelled the format as "rubbish" and a "nonsense", claiming that it resulted in lost revenue for clubs and put more pressure on managers.[9] While Rangers manager Walter Smith branded the format as "unfair" and called for an 18-team league to be considered.[10] The SPL has defended the split format, however, and dismissed the possibility of expanding the league due to a lack of strong enough clubs within the Scottish Football League.[8] In March 2008 Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies was the latest to call for a league revamp, claiming that the potential for four matches per season against the same opponent is too many.[11]

Old Firm dominance

Both sets of fans at an Old Firm match at Celtic Park

One of the main criticisms of the SPL is the dominance of the two Old Firm clubs, Celtic and Rangers. No team outside the Old Firm has won the SPL since it was formed in 1998 and there has only been one season (2005–06) where both clubs failed to occupy first and second positions, with Hearts finishing second behind Celtic. Whilst this is similar to other European leagues, this problem dates back to the beginning of Scottish league football, with a few exceptional periods. The average home attendances of boths clubs are significantly higher than the other 10 clubs, resulting in the Old Firm having far greater revenues and therefore more money to spend on players. Both clubs also receive significant revenue from their regular participations in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.

However, despite having more resources than other Scottish clubs, the Old Firm still experience difficulty in competing with big clubs from other leagues in terms of transfer fees and player wages due to the SPL's relatively low television revenue. A recurring theme in recent years has been the prospect of the two clubs leaving the Scottish football set-up to join either the English set-up, or an Atlantic League with clubs from countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.[12] While some feel that the departure of the Old Firm from the Scottish football setup would be detrimental to Scottish football as a whole,[13][14] others, such as Craig Levein, believe it would benefit Scottish football due to increased competition among the remaining clubs for the SPL title.[15] World football's governing body FIFA, however, has ruled out the prospect of any move to the English set-up.[16]

Winter break

A further issue of controversy was the SPL's decision to scrap the 'winter break' after the 2000–01 season, thereby forcing clubs to play throughout January and often resulting in postponement of matches and significant damage to clubs' pitches due to adverse weather conditions, as well as player fatigue. Former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill,[17] former Dundee manager Jim Duffy[17] and current Rangers manager Walter Smith are among those who have called for the winter break to be reinstated.[18] Former Rangers manager Alex McLeish accused the SPL of taking Scottish football "back to the Dark Ages" after its decision to scrap the mid-season hiatus. [17]

European qualification

Rangers playing FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the 2007–08 Champions League

The Scottish Premier League is currently thirteenth in UEFA's co-efficient ranking, meaning that for the 2010–11 season, two SPL clubs will qualify for the UEFA Champions League (the SPL champions, who enter the third qualifying round for champions (unless the defending champions have already qualified to the group stages, in which case the SPL champions will enter the group stages directly), and the runner-up, who enter the third qualifying round for non-champions) as well as two qualifying for the UEFA Europa League (the third and fourth placed clubs). The winners of the Scottish Cup also qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

If the Scottish Cup winners have qualified for the UEFA Champions League, the final UEFA Europa League place is given to the runner-up. Clubs also had the opportunity to apply for qualification to the UEFA Intertoto Cup before it was folded into the Europa League; qualification for that event was given to the highest placed applicant, although only two clubs chose to play in the tournament since the SPL's inception in 1998–99 (Dundee in 2001 and Hibernian in 2004, 2006 and 2008). Clubs may also qualify for Europe via the UEFA Fair Play ranking.

Since the SPL's inception, Scotland's UEFA co-efficient has improved significantly, having been ranked 26th in 1998–99.[19] In 2003 Celtic became the first Scottish club since Dundee United in 1987 to reach a European final, eventually losing 3–2 to FC Porto after extra-time in the UEFA Cup final.[20] In 2003–04, two Scottish clubs (Celtic and Rangers) qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In 2005–06, Rangers became the first Scottish club to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League,[21] a feat which was repeated by Celtic the following two seasons.[22][23] In the 2007–08 season, three Scottish clubs were competing in Europe after Christmas for the first time since 1970,[24] while in the same season Rangers reached their first European final since their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1972, which they lost 2–0 to Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Cup Final.[25] During the season Scotland's European representatives collected the most co-efficient points since the 1982–83 season.[19]

Players

Scottish Premier League clubs have almost complete freedom to sign whatever number and category of players they wish. There is no team or individual salary cap, no squad size limit, no age restrictions other than those applied by general employment law, no restrictions on the overall number of foreign players, and few restrictions on individual foreign players — all players with EU nationality, including those able to claim an EU passport through a parent or grandparent, are eligible to play, and top players from outside the EU are able to obtain UK work permits.

The only restriction on selection is the "Under-21 rule". This rule states that each club must include three players under the age of 21 in their matchday squad. Opinions on this rule appear to be divided among SPL managers. Walter Smith, Gus MacPherson and Jim Jefferies have expressed their disapproval of the policy.[26] John Collins, meanwhile, expressed approval of the ruling, claiming that it is healthy for Scottish football and encouraged the development of young players.[26]

Recent decline in television revenue has resulted in relatively little spending among SPL clubs in recent seasons, with major transfer spending mostly limited to the Old Firm clubs. As a result, many clubs are now more reliant on developing their own young players and selling them on for profit. This has also resulted in a large proportion of SPL clubs' squads being made up of Scottish players (73% in 2004–05[27]).

Finances

Financial crisis

Since the SPL began, four of its member clubs have entered administration. Serious financial difficulties first arose in 2002 when broadcaster Sky Sports withdrew their interest in the League’s television rights when the SPL rejected their offer of £45m, hoping that a better deal would arise from another broadcaster.[28] A better deal failed to arise, however, adding to the clubs’ already delicate financial position.[28] By season 2001/02, combined debt among SPL clubs was estimated to be around £132m, having been barely into double figures two years previously.[28] Motherwell became the first SPL club to enter administration in April 2002, with debts of £11m and a wage bill totaling 97% of their annual turnover.[28] Dundee were next to follow, when in November 2003 they sacked 25 staff after debts of £20m.[28] The severity of the SPL's financial problems were revealed in September 2003 when combined losses for SPL clubs during 2001/02 was estimated to have been £60m.[29]

Livingston became the third SPL club to enter administration in February 2004, with debts of £3.5m.[30] Dunfermline Athletic's financial position also looked bleak, with several players asked to take wage-cuts,[31] while Rangers Chairman David Murray announced in September 2004 a plan to raise £57m via a rights issue in an attempt to wipe-out a large proportion of the club's debts.[32] A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2003 described five SPL clubs — Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Hearts, Hibernian and Livingston — as "technically insolvent".

Financial recovery

After widespread cost-cutting measures, SPL clubs' finances began to show signs of improvement. Both Motherwell and Dundee came out of administration in April[33] and August 2004,[34] respectively, while Livingston ended their fifteen month spell in administration in May 2005.[35] PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2006 report on SPL finances revealed operating profits of £2.8m among SPL clubs — the first collective operating profit made by Scotland's top-flight clubs in over a decade.[36] Seven of the SPL's 12 clubs had a wage turnover ratio of less than 60%.[36]

PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2007 report revealed a collective loss of £9m for 2005–06, however six clubs — Falkirk, Hibernian, Inverness CT, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Rangers — all made a profit.[37] The report highlighted the increasingly precarious financial position of Hearts, describing their current finances as "unsustainable" with debt rising by £7m to £28m and a wage bill which represents 97% of their turnover.[37] The figures for 2006–07 showed a collective profit of £3m, with eight clubs making a profit.[38]

Despite recent improvements in the financial position of SPL clubs, Gretna became the fourth SPL club to enter administration in March 2008 after their main benefactor Brooks Mileson was forced to withdraw his financial support due to failing health.[39]

Financial crises 2007–09

With the financial crises and the UK economic recession, SPL clubs are expected to be badly affected.[40] A reduction in revenue from ticket sales for SPL games and club merchandise will impact negatively on club expenditure. Players may be expected to take wage cuts and team squads will be reduced.[41] Indeed some clubs may reduce the number of non-playing staff.[42],[43] During 2009 and 2010, the financial constraints at Rangers have been widely reported, with the club's debt rising to £30 million.[44]

Media coverage

Television

A cameraman pitchside at Tynecastle Stadium

Between season 1998–99 and season 2001–02, exclusive television rights for live Scottish Premier League matches were held by Sky Sports, with a highlights package held by STV's Scotsport. After Sky Sports withdrew their interest in the SPL when their offer for £45m to continue ownership of the live TV rights were declined by the SPL on the grounds of not being substantial enough, discussions began in 2002 for a new pay-per-view satellite television channel, dubbed "SPL TV".[45] Discussions broke down in April 2002, however, when the Old Firm clubs, Rangers and Celtic, utilised the 11–1 voting system to veto the proposals.[46] This caused discontent among the remaining 10 SPL clubs who subsequently announced their intention to resign from the league.[47]

Despite a two-year television deal being agreed with BBC Scotland in July 2002 (for a significant amount less than the money previously offered by Sky Sports),[48] the 10 non-Old Firm clubs confirmed their resignation from the SPL in August 2002, citing discontent with the league's 11–1 voting procedure which effectively gave the Old Firm clubs a veto over attempts to change SPL rules.[49] The ten clubs withdrew their resignations in January 2003 after an agreement was reached to change the voting procedures and to change the distribution of TV revenue.[50]

With BBC Scotland's television contract due to expire after the 2003–04 season, the SPL agreed a new television deal with Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports in February 2004 in a four-year deal worth £54m.[51] In June 2008, it was announced that a further four-year deal would commence for the 2010/11 season, with the deal worth £125m.[52]

BBC Scotland's Sportscene currently own the rights to broadcast highlights of each game first on terrestrial TV. The BBC also hold the rights to show on-line internet highlights to UK users for one week after each game.

BBC Alba, launched in September 2008, show one full SPL game every Saturday evening for two seasons. The games are broadcast three hours after the game has ended. The game shown is a selected one not covered by live either by Setanta Sports or BT Vision, in Season 2008–09 or ESPN/BSkyB in Season 2009–10. In Australia the Scottish Premier League is broadcast by Setanta Sports. In the USA the SPL is currently available on Setanta Sports North America.[53]

On 23 June 2009 Setanta lost the rights to show live SPL games in the United Kingdom as they were unable to pay the £3 million they owed to the SPL. Setanta went into administration and ceased broadcasting in the UK.

The SPL replaced Setanta with ESPN and BSkyB in a deal thought to be around £13 million per season to the clubs. This is comparable to the deal which Setanta had in place although around half of the amount that Setanta would have been paying from 2010. The Old Firm collect £4.5 million each year, the rest is split evenly betwean the other teams.

Radio

Radio broadcasting rights are currently held by BBC Radio Scotland, who have held the rights since the SPL's inception in 1998.[54] BBC Radio Scotland also provide internet webcasts to all Scottish Premier League matches, having became the first broadcaster to introduce such a service in June 2000.[55] However Old Firm games are broadcast when available on BBC Radio 5 Live and also on 102.5 Clyde 1.

SPL clubs

SPL members for 2009–10

Aberdeen
Celtic
Dundee United
Falkirk
Hamilton
Hearts
Hibernian
Kilmarnock
Motherwell
Rangers
St. Johnstone
St. Mirren

Locations of the current SPL teams in Scotland [  ]

The following twelve clubs compete in the Scottish Premier League during the 2009–10 season:

Club Manager Position in 2008–09 First season in top division First season of current spell in top division Last title
Aberdeen[56][57] Mark McGhee 4th 1905–06 1905–06 1984–85
Celtic[56][57] Tony Mowbray 2nd 1890–91 1890–91 2007–08
Dundee United[56][57] Peter Houston 5th 1925–26 1996–97 1982–83
Falkirk Steven Pressley 10th 1905–06 2005–06 N/A
Hamilton Academical Billy Reid 9th 1906–07 2008–09
Heart of Midlothian[56][57] Jim Jefferies 3rd 1890–91 1983–84 1959–60
Hibernian John Hughes 6th 1895–96 1999–2000 1951–52
Kilmarnock[56][57] Jimmy Calderwood 8th 1899–1900 1992–93 1964–65
Motherwell[56][57] Craig Brown 7th 1903–04 1985–86 1931–32
Rangers[56][57] Walter Smith 1st (Champions) 1890–91 1890–91 2008–09
St. Johnstone[56] Derek McInnes 1st (First Division) 1924–25 2009–10 N/A
St. Mirren Gus MacPherson 11th 1890–91 2006–07 N/A

Former SPL members

These are previous members of the SPL in reverse order of them losing membership.

Club
Position
in 2008–09
First season
in top division
Last season in
top division
Last title
Inverness CT 12th, SPL 2004–05 2008–09
Gretna N/A[58] 2007–08 2007–08
Dunfermline Athletic[56] 3rd, First Division 1926–27 2006–07
Livingston 7th, First Division 2001–02 2005–06
Dundee[56] 4th, First Division 1893–94 2004–05 1961–62
Partick Thistle 2nd, First Division 1897–98 2003–04

St. Mirren are the only club to have been promoted into the SPL twice. Dunfermline Athletic are the only club to have been relegated from the SPL twice.

Stadia

Celtic Park, the SPL's biggest stadium by capacity
Stadium Capacity Club Notes
Celtic Park 60,832 Celtic The biggest club stadium in Scotland by seating capacity.[59]
Ibrox Stadium 51,082 Rangers Ibrox holds UEFA Elite stadium status.[60]
Pittodrie Stadium 22,199 Aberdeen The first all-seater stadium in the United Kingdom[61]
Rugby Park 18,128 Kilmarnock
Tynecastle Stadium 17,420 Heart of Midlothian
Easter Road 14,326 Hibernian Reduced capacity due to demolition of East Terrace, to rise to 20,250 next season with the completion of the replacement stand.[62]
Tannadice Park 14,209 Dundee United
Fir Park 13,742 Motherwell
McDiarmid Park 10,673 St. Johnstone First purpose built all seater stadium in the country[63]
Falkirk Stadium 9,706 Falkirk
St. Mirren Park 8,016 St. Mirren St. Mirren left their previous stadium Love Street on 3 January 2009[64]
New Douglas Park 6,000 Hamilton Academical

Statistics

Championships

Season Winner Runner-up Relegated Top Scorer Players' Player of the Year Writers' Player of the Year
1998–99 Rangers Celtic Dunfermline Athletic Henrik Larsson 29 (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic)
1999–2000 Rangers Celtic No Relegation Mark Viduka 25 (Celtic) Mark Viduka (Celtic) Barry Ferguson (Rangers)
2000–01 Celtic Rangers St. Mirren Henrik Larsson 35 (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic)
2001–02 Celtic Rangers St. Johnstone Henrik Larsson 29 (Celtic) Lorenzo Amoruso (Rangers) Paul Lambert (Celtic)
2002–03 Rangers Celtic No Relegation Henrik Larsson 28 (Celtic) Barry Ferguson (Rangers) Barry Ferguson (Rangers)
2003–04 Celtic Rangers Partick Thistle Henrik Larsson 30 (Celtic) Chris Sutton (Celtic) Jackie McNamara (Celtic)
2004–05 Rangers Celtic Dundee John Hartson 25 (Celtic) John Hartson (Celtic) /
Fernando Ricksen (Rangers)
John Hartson (Celtic)
2005–06 Celtic Heart of Midlothian Livingston Kris Boyd 32 (15 – Kilmarnock, 17 – Rangers) Shaun Maloney (Celtic) Craig Gordon (Hearts)
2006–07 Celtic Rangers Dunfermline Athletic Kris Boyd 20 (Rangers) Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic) Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic)
2007–08 Celtic Rangers Gretna Scott McDonald 25 (Celtic) Aiden McGeady (Celtic) Carlos Cuéllar (Rangers)
2008–09 Rangers Celtic Inverness CT Kris Boyd 27 ( Rangers) Scott Brown (Celtic) Gary Caldwell (Celtic)

All-time SPL table

The All-Time SPL Table is a cumulative record of all SPL matches played since the inception of the SPL, in 1998. The table is accurate from the 1998–99 season to the end of the 2008–09 season, inclusive.[65]

P
Club
Ssn
Pld
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
PPG
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
1 Celtic 11 414 304 61 49 968 336 +632 973 2.35 6 5
2 Rangers 11 414 282 76 56 876 333 +553 922 2.22 5 5 1
3 Hearts 11 414 172 103 139 560 487 +73 619 1.49 1 4 1
4 Aberdeen 11 414 147 98 169 499 587 −88 539 1.30 1 4
5 Kilmarnock 11 414 146 100 168 507 591 −84 538 1.29 3
6 Hibernian 10 378 137 97 144 526 526 0 508 1.34 2 1
7 Motherwell 11 414 133 94 187 500 630 −130 493 1.19 1 1
8 Dundee United 11 414 112 115 187 451 636 −185 451 1.08
9 Dunfermline 8 302 78 79 145 295 483 −188 313 1.04 1
10 Dundee 7 262 80 61 121 308 412 −104 301 1.14
11 Inverness CT 5 190 60 48 82 222 253 −31 228 1.20
12 Livingston 5 190 48 46 97 205 306 −101 190 1.0 1
13 Falkirk 4 152 45 35 72 166 220 −54 170 1.12
14 St. Johnstone 4 148 39 43 66 139 200 −61 160 1.08 1
15 St. Mirren 4 152 35 39 78 122 229 −107 144 0.95
16 Partick Thistle 2 76 14 19 43 76 125 −49 61 0.80
17 Hamilton Academical 1 38 12 5 21 30 53 −23 41 1.08
18 Gretna 1 38 5 8 25 32 83 −51 13[66] 0.34

P = Position; Ssn = Number of seasons; Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points; Ppg = Points per game

Top scorers

Kris Boyd, the SPL's top all-time goalscorer

Rangers player Kris Boyd has scored the most goals in the SPL, with 162 goals so far.[67] He broke the previous record of 158, set by Henrik Larsson, by scoring five goals for Rangers in a 7–1 win against Dundee United on 30 December 2009. Boyd and Larsson are the only players to have scored more than 100 goals in the SPL, which started in the inaugural 1998–99 season. There are players who have scored far more goals in the predecessor Scottish Football League competition, with Jimmy McGrory and Bob McPhail each scoring more than 300 goals in the top flight of Scottish football.[68]

Top 10 SPL scorers

As of 20:55, 6 March 2010 (UTC).
Rank Player Club(s)[69] Goals
1 Kris Boyd[70] Kilmarnock (1999–2006)
Rangers (2006–present)
162
2 Henrik Larsson Celtic (1998–2004) 158
3 Scott McDonald Motherwell (2004–2007)
Celtic (2007–2010)
93
4 John Hartson Celtic (2001–2006) 88
5 Derek Riordan[70] Hibernian (2001–2006)
Celtic (2006–2008)
Hibernian (2008–present)
80
6 Nacho Novo[70] Dundee (2002–2004)
Rangers (2004–present)
72
7 Stevie Crawford Hibernian (1998–2000)
Dunfermline Athletic (1999–2004)
Dundee United (2005)
Aberdeen (2005–2006)
Dunfermline Athletic (2006–2008)
65
Billy Dodds Aberdeen (1994–1998)
Dundee United (1998–1999)
Rangers (1999–2003)
Dundee United (2003–2006)
Chris Sutton Celtic (2000–2006)
10 Steve Lovell Dundee (2002–2005)
Aberdeen (2005–2008)
Falkirk (2008–2009)
56

Records and awards

As of 12:03, 28 January 2010 (UTC).
Most goals in a season
Celtic, 105 goals, 2003–04[71]
Fewest goals in a season
St. Johnstone, 24 goals, 2001–02[71]
Most points in one season
Celtic, 103 points, 2001–02[71]
Fewest points in a season
Gretna, 13 points, 2007–08[71][72]
Fewest goals conceded in one season
Celtic, 18 goals, 2001–02[71]
Most goals conceded in a season
Aberdeen, 83 goals, 1999–00 & Gretna, 83 goals, 2007–08[71]
Biggest goal difference in a season
Celtic, 80, 2003–04[71]
Biggest home win
Celtic 7–0 Aberdeen (1999–00 and 2002–03); Hibernian 7–0 Livingston (2005–06); Celtic 7–0 St Mirren (2008–09);[71]
Biggest away win
St. Johnstone 0–7 Rangers (1998–99); Dunfermline Athletic 1–8 Celtic (2005–06)[71]
Highest scoring match
Motherwell 5–6 Aberdeen (1999–2000)[71]
Most away wins in a season
Celtic, 13, 2000–01[71]
Fewest away wins in a season
Dunfermline, 0, 1998–99[71]
Most away defeats in a season
Livingston, 16, 2005–06[71]
Fewest home defeats in a season
Celtic, 0, 2001–02, 2002–03,[71]
Top goalscorer
Kris Boyd, 160 goals
Top goalscorer in a single season
Henrik Larsson, 35 goals, 2000–01 Celtic[71]
Player with most hat-tricks
Henrik Larsson, 12, 1998–2004[71]
Top goalscorer in any one game
Kenny Miller, 5, 4 November 2000, Rangers v St. Mirren; Kris Boyd, 5, 25 September 2004, Kilmarnock v Dundee United; Kris Boyd, 5, 30 December 2009, Rangers v Dundee United[71]
Oldest player
Andy Millen, for St. Mirren vs Hearts, 42 years 279 days, 15 March 2008[71]
Youngest player
Scott Robinson, for Hearts vs Inverness CT, &0000000000000016.00000016 years, &0000000000000045.00000045 days[73]
Youngest goalscorer
Fraser Fyvie, for Aberdeen vs Heart of Midlothian, &0000000000000016.00000016 years, &0000000000000306.000000306 days[71][74]
Fastest goalscorer
Anthony Stokes, for Hibernian v Rangers, 12.4 seconds[75]
Most consecutive clean-sheets
Robert Douglas, Celtic, 7 games, 16 December 2000 – 21 February 2001[71]
Most SPL appearances
Steven Pressley, 306 (correct to the end of the 2008–09 season)[71]
Highest attendance
60,440, Celtic v St. Mirren, 7 April 2001[76]
Lowest attendance
431, Gretna v Inverness CT, 5 April 2008[76]
Highest average attendance
59,369, Celtic, 2000–01[76]
Lowest average attendance
2,283, Gretna, 2007–08[76]
Craig Gordon, from Heart of Midlothian to Sunderland, £9m, 8 August 2007[78]
Alan Hutton, from Rangers to Tottenham Hotspur, £9m, 30 January 2008[79]
  • Highest transfer fee between two SPL clubs: Scott Brown, from Hibernian to Celtic, £4.4m, 1 June 2007[80]

The following clubs have won Programme of the Year:[81]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Clydesdale is SPL's new sponsor". BBC Sport. 19 October 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/6066692.stm. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  2. ^ "UEFA Country Ranking 2010". UEFA European Cup Football Results and Qualification. Bert Kassies. 17 March 2010. http://www.xs4all.nl/~kassiesa/bert/uefa/data/method3/crank2008.html. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
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  19. ^ a b "SPL praises Euro performances". BBC Sport. 22 March 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/7259596.stm. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  20. ^ "Porto end Celtic's Uefa dream". BBC Sport. 21 May 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/3043029.stm. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  21. ^ "Rangers 1–1 Inter Milan". BBC Sport. 6 December 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/4494912.stm. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  22. ^ "Celtic 1–0 Man Utd". BBC Sport. 21 November 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/6160910.stm. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  23. ^ "AC Milan 1–0 Celtic". BBC Sport. 4 December 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/7123562.stm. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  24. ^ "Calderwood aims to end 37 years of Scottish hurt in Europe". The Guardian. 20 December 2007. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2007/dec/20/newsstory.aberdeen. Retrieved 9 May 2008. 
  25. ^ "Uefa Cup final — Zenit 2–0 Rangers". BBC Sport. 14 May 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/7393752.stm. Retrieved 16 May 2008. 
  26. ^ a b "SPL face fresh criticism over under-21 rule". Telegraph. 17 August 2007. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/08/17/sfnsco117.xml. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  27. ^ "FAQs". SPL official website. http://www.scotprem.premiumtv.co.uk/page/SPLFAQs/0,,10002,00.html. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  28. ^ a b c d e "Dark days ahead for debt-ridden Scottish clubs". Telegraph. 13 February 2004. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/scottish/dark-days-ahead-for-debtridden-scottish-clubs-569858.html. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  29. ^ "SPL posts record losses". BBC Sport. 23 September 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3133218.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  30. ^ "Livi in administration". BBC Sport. 3 February 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/livingston/3449367.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  31. ^ "Pars players face wage cuts". BBC Sport. 2 February 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/d/dunfermline_athletic/3255524.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  32. ^ "Rangers to raise £57m". BBC Sport. 1 September 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/r/rangers/3617590.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  33. ^ "'Well end administration". BBC Sport. 20 April 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/motherwell/3601421.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  34. ^ "Dundee to enter new era". BBC Sport. 5 August 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/d/dundee/3540060.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  35. ^ "Livingston out of administration". BBC Sport. 13 May 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/livingston/4413753.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  36. ^ a b "SPL continues economic recovery". BBC Sport. 3 October 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/5400428.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  37. ^ a b "Hearts buck debt reduction trend". BBC Sport. 15 August 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/6947466.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  38. ^ "Profits on the up for SPL clubs". BBC Sport. 27 August 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/7584257.stm. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
  39. ^ "Gretna edging closer to closure". BBC Sport. 13 March 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/g/gretna/7291519.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  40. ^ "Clubs expect more financial woes". BBC News. 17 March 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7947870.stm. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  41. ^ Hannah, Roger (2009-02-28). "Slash and burn". Thescottishsun.co.uk. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/article2280715.ece. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  42. ^ "Penny pinching Rangers". Daily Mail. 7 March 2009. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1160172/Penny-pinching-Rangers-blame-credit-crunch-bid-axe-staff.html?ITO=1490. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  43. ^ Rangers offer redundancy packages BBC News, 7 March 2009
  44. ^ "Crisis Could Put Gers in Celtic's shadow for 10 years". News of The World. 15 March 2009. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/scottish/scottish_news/218758/Rangers-pound20m-debt-squeeze-David-Murray.html. Retrieved 15 March 2009. 
  45. ^ "FANS GET A TELLYFUL; SPL set to launch its own TV station as Sky switch off". Daily Record. 16 January 2002. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-81816116.html. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  46. ^ "Old Firm scupper SPL TV". BBC Sport. 8 April 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/1916133.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  47. ^ "Scottish league faces collapse". BBC Sport. 16 April 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/scotland/1931985.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  48. ^ "SPL signs BBC deal". BBC Sport. 31 July 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/2159152.stm. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  49. ^ "Scottish clubs quit SPL". BBC Sport. 1 August 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/2166576.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  50. ^ "SPL ends internal strife". BBC Sport. 22 January 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/2683577.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  51. ^ "Setanta wins SPL TV deal". BBC Sport. 26 February 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/3489216.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  52. ^ "Record-breaking TV deal for SPL". Scottish Premier League. 30 June 2008. http://www.scotprem.com/content/default.asp?page=s2&newsid=6274&back=home. Retrieved 30 June 2008. 
  53. ^ "Scottish Premier League". Scotprem.com. http://www.scotprem.com/content/default.asp?page=s2&newsid=6289&back=home. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  54. ^ "BBC welcomes radio deal". BBC Sport. 26 February 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/3490936.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  55. ^ "BBC scores Scottish winner". BBC Sport. 14 June 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sport/football/scottish_premier/790777.stm. Retrieved 23 March 2008. 
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Founding member of the Scottish Premier League
  57. ^ a b c d e f g Played in every Scottish Premier League season
  58. ^ Gretna F.C. went out of business following the 2007–08 season. A new club called Gretna 2008 was set up in its place and entered the East of Scotland Football League.
  59. ^ The planned venues, BBC Sport, 9 December 2002.
  60. ^ "Follow In The Footsteps Of Legends". Rangers.premiumtv.co.uk. http://www.rangers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/tours/0,,5,00.html. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  61. ^ Complex demands, When Saturday Comes, January 2002.
  62. ^ "East Stand at Easter Road Stadium". Hibernian F.C.. 22 February 2010. http://www.hibernianfc.co.uk/news/20100222/east-stand-at-easter-road-stadium_2262950_1973122. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  63. ^ Saints savour 20 years at McDiarmid Park, The Scotsman, 25 July 2009.
  64. ^ Stirring end to a Street party, Daily Mail, 5 January 2009.
  65. ^ "Records". Scotprem.com. http://www.scotprem.com/content/default.asp?page=s47. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  66. ^ Gretna were deducted 10 points for going into administration in the 2007–08 season.
  67. ^ "Scottish Premier League | Scottish Football Results & News". Scotprem.premiumtv.co.uk. 2009-12-30. http://www.scotprem.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Records/0,,10002,00.html. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  68. ^ Scotland – All-Time Topscorers, RSSSF.
  69. ^ Clubs only include those where players scored goals
  70. ^ a b c The player is still an active player in a SPL squad.
  71. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "SPL — All Time Records". ScotPrem.co.uk. http://www.scotprem.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Records/0,,10002,00.html. Retrieved 7 April 2008. 
  72. ^ Gretna's points total would have been 23 points without a 10 point administration penalty they received. The lowest points total without such a penalty is 18 points, which was recorded by Livingston in 2005-06.
  73. ^ 15:00. "Will you see history be made today?". Heartsfc.premiumtv.co.uk. http://www.heartsfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/HeartsNewsDetail/0,,10289~1298652,00.html. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  74. ^ "Hearts 0 - 3 Aberdeen". BBC Sport. 27 January 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/8480378.stm. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  75. ^ Four-star Rangers hit back against Hibs, AFP, 27 December 2009.
  76. ^ a b c d "SPL statistics". ScotPrem.co.uk. http://www.scotprem.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Top12s/0,,10002,00.html. Retrieved 7 April 2008. 
  77. ^ "Flo goes to Rangers". BBC Sport. 23 November 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/1033258.stm. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  78. ^ "Gordon completes Sunderland move". BBC Sport. 8 August 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/h/heart_of_midlothian/6932931.stm. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  79. ^ "Spurs complete signing of Hutton". BBC Sport. 30 January 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/t/tottenham_hotspur/7215221.stm. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  80. ^ "Celtic win race for Hibs' Brown". BBC Sport. 15 May 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/h/hibernian/6653201.stm. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  81. ^ "Dons top programme poll". Scottish Premier League website. 31 March 2009. http://www.scotprem.com/content/default.asp?page=s2&newsid=7705&back=home. Retrieved 1 April 2009. 

External links


Simple English

Scottish Premier League
[[File:|150px]]
Country Scotland
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1998
Level 1
Number of teams 12
Relegation to First Division
Domestic cup Scottish Cup
Current champions Rangers (2008/09)
Most successful club Celtic (6)
TV partners Sky Sports and ESPN [1]
Website Official website

The Scottish Premier League (currently known as the Clydesdale Bank Premier League or SPL) is a professional competition for football clubs. It is the top level of the Scottish football league system, above the Scottish Football League.

Watching the SPL (the top domestic football league) is more popular in Scotland than in any other European country.[2] The Scottish Premier League is currently fifteenth in the UEFA rankings of European leagues, which are based on the how well the participating clubs play in all European competitions.[3] Eighteen clubs have played in the SPL since it began in 1998, [4] but only two have won the title: the Old Firm of Celtic (six) and Rangers (six).

Contents

History

File:Henrik larsson snorsjoabalen 2007
Henrik Larsson scored the most goals in the first SPL season.

The SPL began in 1998, when a group of teams decided to split from the Scottish Football League and create their own league.[5] The idea of splitting from the league was from a similar event in 1992 with the start of the English Premiership.

The SPL had 10 clubs playing until the 2000–01 season when the league was expanded to 12 teams. The increase from 10 clubs to 12 was part of the deal offered to get approval from SPL member clubs. Since the 2001–02 season, the table is split in half near the end of the season, with the teams playing the other clubs from their half of the table once more. This sometimes results in the seventh placed team having more points than the sixth placed team, but they do not move up to the top half. In the 2005–06 season, the seventh placed team (Inverness) had more points than the fourth placed team (Hibernian) but still did not move up to fourth place due to the split.[6]


The SPL has been home to many important events. For example, when Heart's goalkeeper, Craig Gordon moved to Sunderland F.C. for a fee of £9 million, a record fee for a British goalkeeper.[7] It is also the most amount of money paid for a Scottish player, but Alan Hutton shared this record when he moved from Rangers to Tottenham Hotspur F.C. for the same fee.[8] Tore Andre Flo's move from Chelsea F.C. to Rangers was also a record for the most amount paid for a player by a Scottish club, when he moved for £12 million.[9] The most amount of money paid by a Scottish club to another Scottish club is £4.5 million for Scott Brown when he moved from Hibernian to Celtic.[10]

Competition format

League

The SPL is in a league format – a team gains points by playing another team in the league. Three points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Once all the games have been played, the team at the top of the league wins the SPL trophy. If two or more teams are equal on points, then the difference between of goals scored and goals against is considered. The season runs from August until May each year. Each club will play each other at least three times before the table splits in half for the last part of the competition. Each club will then play five more games against clubs in their half of the table. Each team plays a total of 38 games.

Winter break

In the 2000–01 season, the SPL decided to stop the "winter break", forcing teams to play through January. This means that many games are stopped because of the damage to the football clubs pitch and very bad weather. Former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill,[11] former Dundee manager Jim Duffy,[11] and current Rangers manager Walter Smith are among those who have asked to start the winter break again.[12] Former Rangers manager Alex McLeish accused the SPL of taking Scottish football "back to the dark ages" after its decision to stop the winter break.[11]

European qualification

A total of four clubs can qualify for European competitions. The teams who finish first and second in the SPL qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The third-placed team, and the winner of the Scottish Cup, qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Rangers and Celtic have recently played in the final of the UEFA Cup, with neither club winning in the final match. In 2003 Celtic played FC Porto in Seville, Spain but Porto won 3 – 2.[13] More recently, in 2008 Rangers played FC Zenit St. Petersburg in Manchester, England, but lost 2 – 0.[14] More than 200,000 Rangers fans went to Manchester to watch the game on several large televisions.[15]

Promotion and relegation

[[File:|thumb|right|The Caledonian Stadium, Inverness' stadium. This stadium did not meet minimum standards. It stopped Inverness gaining promotion to the SPL.]] Normally, the team who finishes last in the SPL is relegated to the Scottish First Division and the team who finishes first in the First Division is promoted to the SPL. However, there are some criteria that the team must meet in order to be promoted. In 2003, Falkirk F.C. finished first in the Scottish First Division but their stadium did not meet the agreed criteria. Instead, they asked if they could share a stadium with Airdrie United F.C. while their own stadium was expanded. This caused arguments as the chairmen of the SPL clubs voted against this idea. Because Falkirk's stadium was too small, they were not promoted into the SPL, and the team who finished last in the SPL (Motherwell F.C.) was not relegated.[16]

This situation almost happened again in 2004. There were many votes and threats of legal action from Partick Thistle F.C., the team who finished last in the SPL. The situation was solved and Inverness Caledonian Thistle were allowed promotion, as long as they shared a stadium with their rivals Aberdeen at Pittodrie,[17] a stadium over 100 miles (160 km) away.

In 2005, the stadium size criteria was reduced. A team playing in the SPL must now have at least 6,000 seats (down from 10,000). Standing room is not allowed in SPL grounds for safety reasons.[18] This then allowed Inverness Caledonian Thistle to return to their home stadium during the 2005–06 season.[18]

Players

In the SPL, there are no restrictions on clubs signing players. The only rule on signing players is with general Scottish employment law. There are no salary caps or age restrictions. There are no restrictions on the size of the playing squad or restrictions on the number of players from other countries.

The only rule is the "Under-21" rule. This means that every club must name at least three players under the age of 21 in their match day squad. They do not need to play.[19] There has been some criticism over this rule. Walter Smith, Gus MacPherson and Jim Jeffries all showed their disapproval.[19]

Media coverage and sponsorship

Television coverage

Between the 1998–99 season and the 2001–02 season, the right to show SPL matches on television was held by Sky Sports, with highlights being shown by STV's Scotsport. Sky Sports withdrew from the SPL when their offer for £45 million, to continue showing live games on TV, was declined by the SPL. The SPL asked for more money. Discussions began in 2002 for a new pay-per-view satellite television channel, called "SPL TV".[20] However Rangers and Celtic did not like the idea, and rejected it. [21] Because of this, the remaining 10 SPL clubs announced their intention to resign from the league.[22]

Even though a two-year television deal had been agreed with BBC Scotland in July 2002 (for less than the money previously offered by Sky Sports),[23] the 10 non-Old Firm clubs confirmed their resignation from the SPL in August 2002, because they were unhappy with how the league voted which allowed the Old Firm clubs to stop any attempts to change SPL rules.[24] The ten clubs withdrew their resignations in January 2003 after an agreement was reached to change the voting rules and to change the way the money from TV was given out to the SPL teams.[25]

With BBC Scotland's television contract due to expire after the 2003–04 season, the SPL agreed a new television deal with Irish company Setanta Sports in February 2004 in a four-year deal worth £54 million.[26] In June 2008, it was announced that a further four-year deal would start for the 2010–11 season, with the deal worth £125 million.[27] However, Setanta went bankrupt in June 2009. [28] In July, Sky Sports and ESPN agreed a £65 million five-year deal with the SPL. [29]

Radio

The right to broadcast SPL games on radio is currently held by BBC Radio Scotland, who have held the rights since the SPL started in the 1998–99 season.[30] BBC Radio Scotland also provide internet webcasts to all Scottish Premier League matches, having became the first broadcaster to introduce such a service in June 2000.[31] However Old Firm games are broadcast when available on BBC Radio 5 Live and also on 102.5 Clyde 1.

Sponsorship

As with many sport competitions, the name of the SPL has been sold to a sponsor, currently the Clydesdale Bank, a Scottish Bank. The Clydesdale Bank bought the name in the 2007–08 season for £8 million, taking over from another Scottish bank, the Bank Of Scotland. The SPL is now known as the "Clydesdale Bank Premier League".[32]

Teams

Old Firm

File:O'Neill,
Martin O'Neill, former manager of Celtic

The two Glasgow football clubs known as the Old Firm play in the SPL, Rangers F.C. and Celtic F.C.. The Old Firm has been criticised by some, due to the fact that they hold such a strong position in Scottish football. The amount of money they make is very large compared to the other teams in Scotland. In 2001 their income was £90 million, almost double the income of the other ten teams, whose income was £48 million combined.[33] Every year since the SPL started one of the Old Firm has won the league. Only once, in the 2005–06 season, did the Old Firm clubs not come first and second in the SPL.

Although the two teams have a strong position over other Scottish teams, they still cannot compete with other leagues for players because other leagues, particularly the English Premiership, have a lot more money to spend. There has been rumours about the Old Firm splitting from the SPL,[34] and joining the English Premiership, but this was stopped by FIFA.[35]

Current teams

These teams play in the SPL, as of the 2009–10 season:

Club Manager Position in 2008–09 First season in top division First season of current spell in top division Last title
Aberdeen[36][37] Mark McGhee 4th 1905–06 1905–06 1984–85
Celtic[36][37] Neil Lennon 2nd 1890–91 1890–91 2007–08
Dundee United[36][37] Peter Houston (caretaker) 5th 1925–26 1996–97 1982–83
Falkirk Eddie May 10th 1905–06 2005–06 N/A
Hamilton Academical Billy Reid 9th 1906–07 2008–09
Heart of Midlothian[36][37] Jim Jeffries 3rd 1890–91 1983–84 1959–60
Hibernian John Hughes 6th 1895–96 1999–2000 1951–52
Kilmarnock[36][37] Mixu Paatelainen 8th 1899–1900 1992–93 1964–65
Motherwell[36][37] Craig Brown (caretaker) 7th 1903–04 1985–86 1931–32
Rangers[36][37] Walter Smith 1st (Champions) 1890–91 1890–91 2008–09
St. Johnstone[36] Derek McInnes 1st (First Division) 1924–25 2009–10 N/A
St. Mirren Danny Lennon 11th 1890–91 2006–07 N/A

Past SPL members

These are previous members of the SPL in reverse order of them losing membership.

Club
Position
in 2008–09
First season
in top division
Last season in
top division
Last title
Inverness CT12th, SPL2004–052008–09
GretnaN/A[38]2007–082007–08
Dunfermline Athletic[36]3rd, First Division1926–272006–07
Livingston7th, First Division2001–022005–06
Dundee[36]4th, First Division1893–942004–051961–62
Partick Thistle2nd, First Division1897–982003–04

St. Mirren are the only club to have been promoted into the SPL twice. Dunfermline Athletic are the only club to have been relegated from the SPL twice.

Records

Updated on 28 October 2009

  • Most goals in a season: Celtic, 105 goals, 2003–04[39]
  • Fewest goals in a season: St. Johnstone, 24 goals, 2001–02[39]
  • Most points in one season: Celtic, 103 points, 2001–02[39]
  • Fewest points in a season: Gretna, 13 points, 2007–08[39]
  • Fewest goals conceded in one season: Celtic, 18 goals, 2001–02[39]
  • Most goals conceded in a season: Aberdeen, 83 goals, 1999–00 & Gretna, 83 goals, 2007–08[39]
  • Biggest goal difference in a season: Celtic, 80, 2003–04[39]
  • Biggest home win: Celtic 7-0 Aberdeen (1999–00 and 2002–03); Hibernian 7-0 Livingston (2005–06); Celtic 7-0 St Mirren (2008–09);[39]
  • 'Biggest away win: St. Johnstone 0-7 Rangers (1998–99); Dunfermline Athletic 1-8 Celtic (2005–06)[39]
  • Highest scoring match: Motherwell 5-6 Aberdeen (1999–2000)[39]
  • Most away wins in a season: Celtic, 13, 2000–01[39]
  • Fewest away wins in a season: Dunfermline, 0, 1998–99[39]
  • Most away defeats in a season: Livingston, 16, 2005–06[39]
  • Fewest home defeats in a season: Celtic, 0, 2001–02, 2002–03,[39]
  • Top goalscorer in a single season: Henrik Larsson, 35 goals, 2000–01 Celtic[39]
  • Player with most hat-tricks: Henrik Larsson, 12, 1998–2004[39]
  • Top goalscorer in any one game: Kenny Miller, 5, 4 November 2000, Rangers v St. Mirren; Kris Boyd, 5, 25 September 2004, Kilmarnock v Dundee United; Kris Boyd, 5, 30 December 2009, Rangers v Dundee United[39]
  • Oldest player: Andy Millen, for St. Mirren vs Hearts, 42 years 279 days, 15 March 2008[39]
  • Youngest player: Scott Robinson, for Hearts vs Inverness CT, , 16 years, 45 days[40]
  • Youngest goalscorer: David Goodwillie, for Dundee United vs Hibernian, , 16 years, 341 days[39]
  • Fastest goalscorer: Anthony Stokes, for Hibernian v Rangers, 12.4 seconds[41]
  • Most consecutive clean-sheets: Robert Douglas, Celtic, 7 games, 16 December 2000 - 21 February 2001[39]
  • Most SPL appearances: Steven Pressley, 306 (correct to the end of the 2008–09 season)[39]
  • Highest attendance: 60,440, Celtic v St. Mirren, 7 April 2001[42]
  • Lowest attendance: 431, Gretna v Inverness CT, 5 April 2008[42]
  • Highest average attendance: 59,369, Celtic, 2000–01[42]
  • Lowest average attendance: 2,283, Gretna, 2007–08[42]
  • Highest transfer fee paid Tore André Flo, from Chelsea to Rangers, £12m, 23 November 2000[43]
  • Highest transfer fee received:
Craig Gordon, from Heart of Midlothian to Sunderland, £9m, 8 August 2007[7]
Alan Hutton, from Rangers to Tottenham Hotspur, £9m, 30 January 2008[8]
  • Highest transfer fee between two SPL clubs: Scott Brown, from Hibernian to Celtic, £4.4m, 1 June 2007[10]

Related pages

References

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  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 36.7 36.8 36.9 Founding member of the Scottish Premier League
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 37.6 Played in every Scottish Premier League season
  38. Gretna F.C. went out of business following the 2007–08 season. A new club called Gretna 2008 was set up in its place and entered the East of Scotland Football League.
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