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Ross County's Premiership status secured after SPFL confirm season brought to early end

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County's place in the Premiership next season has been confirmed after the top flight season was brought to an early end.

The SPFL have announced today that all 12 Premiership clubs have agreed that the campaign cannot be completed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in line with the resolution passed by all 42 SPFL member clubs last month they have ended the season.

Final placings will be determined on a points-per-game basis, which means Celtic are crowned champions for their ninth title in a row, and Hearts will be relegated to the Championship for next season.

The SPFL resolution also cancelled the play-offs, but with a 10th place finish also ahead of Hamilton, the Staggies would not have had to worry about their safety anyway.

Ross County co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell have steered the side to safety. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell have steered the side to safety. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Dundee United will replace the Jambos in next season's Premiership after finishing ahead of Inverness Caledonian Thistle as Championship winners.

On the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “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.

“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.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “On Friday, Ladbrokes Premiership clubs expressed their clear and unanimous view that there was no realistic prospect of completing the outstanding fixtures from Season 2019/20.The SPFL Board met this morning and in line with the express agreement of member clubs in April, the Board determined that League Season 2019/20 and the Ladbrokes Premiership be brought to an end.

“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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