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Celtic nine-in-a-row champions after SPFL end season early

Celtic have been confirmed as the Scottsh Premiership champions for a ninth season in a row - aft...

Celtic nine-in-a-row champions...

Celtic nine-in-a-row champions after SPFL end season early

Celtic have been confirmed as the Scottsh Premiership champions for a ninth season in a row - after the SPFL took the decision to end the season early.

An SPFL board meeting was held today and the 12 clubs agreed that it was unfeasible to play the remaining eight rounds of the season which was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The final placings have been determined by calculating the average points per game played.

The only change to the table from when football was halted on March 13 sees St Johnstone go sixth, above Hibernian.

The decision to end the season early also means that Hearts have been relegated to the Championship.

Celtic were 13 points ahead of nearest challengers Rangers - having played a game more - and still had eight games to play.

Hearts were four adrift of Hamilton Academical at the bottom with a possible 24 points available.

The final placings can be seen below:

It is the second time in the club's history that Celtic have won the league title in nine consecutive seasons, having first achieved the feat from 1966 to 1974 and one time more than Glasgow rivals Rangers who won nine titles from 1989 to 1997.

Legendary manager Jock Stein was the Celtic manager for the complete run the first time.

This time the run began with Neil Lennon in charge, winning the first three titles as well as the current season, having seen out the 2018/19 season after Brendan Rodgers departed early to take the Leicester City job.

Rodgers had won back-to-back titles before that, as had Norwegian Ronny Deila who joined the club for two seasons in 2014.

The chairman of the SPFL, Murdoch MacLennan praised the Glasgow club for their achievement.

"Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to officially congratulate Celtic on their achievement of winning the Ladbrokes Premiership this season, and also to sincerely commiserate with Hearts on their relegation," said McLennan.

"We would all have rather seen the league season played out on pitches, in stadiums and in front of supporters.

"This is not the way anybody involved with Scottish football would have wanted to conclude the league season but, given the grave and unprecedented circumstances that we are facing, the Board has agreed that it is the only practical way forward.

"Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on sporting competitions around the world and the repercussions will be felt for a long time.

"Scottish Government restrictions and deep concerns for both player and spectator safety left the SPFL with no realistic option but to call the Ladbrokes Premiership now and we thank the Premiership clubs for their support on this decision."

The chief executive of the SPFL, Neil Doncaster, said in the statement that the clubs expressed a "clear and unanimous view that there was no realistic prospect of completing the outstanding fixtures from Season 2019/20".

He added: "This decision now enables us to pay out around £7 million in fees to help clubs stay afloat during this incredibly difficult time. We will begin processing these payments immediately.

"The focus of all those involved in the game will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible.

"Next season’s Betfred Cup first round group stage is scheduled to begin in mid-July, with coverage from Premier Sports.

"The 2020/21 League Season in all four of our Divisions is due to commence on 1 August, which coincides with the start of our new and exclusive five-year broadcasting deal with Sky Sports.

"Nobody should be under any illusion as to how complicated and difficult a challenge it will be to return Scottish football to normality.

"We will be liaising with Government on the best way forward and working to ensure that all of our 42 clubs are playing football again as soon as humanly possible."

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Celtic Hearts Rangers Scottish Premiership