Scottish Premiership

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Scottish Premiership
Ladbrokes Premiership
Founded 2013; 5 years ago (2013)
Country Scotland
Confederation UEFA
Number of teams 12
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Scottish Championship
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Cup
League cup(s) Scottish League Cup
International cup(s) UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions Celtic (4th title)[note 1]
Most championships Celtic
(4 titles)[note 1]
TV partners Sky Sports
BT Sport
BBC Scotland
2017–18 Scottish Premiership

The Scottish Premiership, known for sponsorship reasons as the Ladbrokes Premiership,[1] is the top division of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), the league competition for men's professional football clubs in Scotland. The Scottish Premiership was established in July 2013, after the SPFL was formed by a merger of the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League.[2]

Competition format[edit]

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 league champion. If points are equal, the goal difference determines the winner,and then goals scored. If this still does not result in a winner, the tied teams must take part in a playoff game at a neutral venue to determine the final placings.[3]


The top flight of Scottish football has contained 12 clubs since the 2000–01 season, the longest period without change in the history of the Scottish football league system.[4] During this period the SPL and now the SPFL have operated a "split" format. This is done to prevent the need for a 44-game schedule, based on playing each other four times. That format was used in the Scottish Premier Division, but is now considered to be too high a number of games in a league season.

A season, which runs from August until May, is divided into two phases. During the first phase, each club plays three games against every other team, either once at home and twice away or vice versa. After this first phase of matches, by which time all clubs have played 33 games, the league splits into a 'top six' and a 'bottom six'. Each club then plays a further five matches, one against each of 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 compete only within their own sections during the second phase. After the first phase is completed, clubs cannot move out of 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 SPFL 'predicts' the likely positions of each club in order to produce a fixture schedule that ensures the best possible chance of all clubs playing each other twice at home and twice away. This is known as the league seeding and is based on clubs' performance in previous years.[5] If a club does not finish in the half where it is predicted to finish, it faces the possibility of playing an unequal number of home and away games. For example, one club sometimes plays another three times at home and once away.[5]

Promotion and relegation[edit]

The bottom placed Premiership club at the end of the season is relegated, and swaps places with the winner of the Scottish Championship, provided that the winner satisfies Premiership entry criteria. With the creation of the SPFL, promotion and relegation play-offs involving the top flight were introduced for the first time in 17 years.[4][6] That now means the Premiership club in 11th place face the Championship play-off winners over two legs.[7] The winner of those play-offs will earn the right to play in the Scottish Premiership the following season along with the winners of the Scottish Championship. The Scottish Football League had used playoffs between its three divisions since 2007.[8]

European qualification[edit]

Clubs finishing in the top positions of the Premiership will gain qualification to compete in one of UEFA's European competitions. UEFA grants European places to the Scottish Football Association, determined by the Scotland's position in the UEFA coefficients ranking system. The Scottish Football Association in turn allocate a number of these European places to final Scottish Premiership positions.

Currently, the top placed team in the Scottish Premiership gains qualification to the UEFA Champions League qualifying round 2, whilst the second and third placed teams gain qualification to the UEFA Europa League at qualifying round 2 and qualifying round 1, respectively.[9]

Financial disparity[edit]

The 2017 'Global Sports Salaries Survey' report found a large variation between the wages offered by teams in the Scottish Premiership, with champions Celtic paying an average annual salary of £735,040 whilst traditional rivals Rangers could only pay £329,600 and league runners-up Aberdeen offered £136,382.[10] The lowest salary offered by any of the twelve member clubs was Hamilton's £41,488 – 17 times less than Celtic, whose wages were close to the sum of the other eleven clubs combined.[10] The report stated that this disparity was the third-greatest from the 18 leagues surveyed, and that the Scottish Premiership offered the third-lowest salaries of those leagues; by contrast, Celtic's opponents in the Champions League that year paid average wages of £6.5m (Paris Saint-Germain) and £5.2m (Bayern Munich), seven times higher than the Scottish club.[10]


The clubs listed below have competed in the Scottish Premiership since it was formed in 2013.

Club Position in 2016–17 First season in
top division
First season of current
spell in top division
Last title
Aberdeen 2nd, Scottish Premiership 1905–06 1905–06 1984–85
Celtic 1st, Scottish Premiership (champions) 1890–91 1890–91 2016–17
Dundee 10th, Scottish Premiership 1893–94 2014–15 1961–62
Dundee United 3rd, Scottish Championship 1925–26  — 1982–83
Hamilton Academical 11th, Scottish Premiership 1906–07 2014–15  —
Heart of Midlothian 5th, Scottish Premiership 1890–91 2015–16 1959–60
Hibernian 1st, Scottish Championship (promoted) 1895–96 2017–18 1951–52
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 12th, Scottish Premiership (relegated) 2004–05  —  —
Kilmarnock 8th, Scottish Premiership 1899–1900 1992–93 1964–65
Motherwell 9th, Scottish Premiership 1903–04 1985–86 1931–32
Partick Thistle 6th, Scottish Premiership 1897–98 2013–14  —
Rangers 3rd, Scottish Premiership 1890–91 2016–17 2010–11
Ross County 7th, Scottish Premiership 2012–13 2012–13  —
St Johnstone 4th, Scottish Premiership 1924–25 2009–10  —
St Mirren 7th, Scottish Championship 1890–91  —  —


Aberdeen Celtic Dundee Hamilton Academical Heart of Midlothian Hibernian
Pittodrie Stadium Celtic Park Dens Park New Douglas Park Tynecastle Park Easter Road
Capacity: 20,866[11] Capacity: 60,411[12] Capacity: 11,506[13] Capacity: 5,510[14] Capacity: 20,421[15]
Pittodrie from Block Y, May 2015.jpg Celtic Park3.jpg Dens stand.jpg New Douglas Park - 1.jpg Tynecastle Stadium 2007.jpg Easter Road - West Stand.jpg
Kilmarnock Motherwell Partick Thistle Rangers Ross County St Johnstone
Rugby Park Fir Park Firhill Stadium Ibrox Stadium Victoria Park McDiarmid Park
Capacity: 17,889[16] Capacity: 13,677[17] Capacity: 10,102[18] Capacity: 50,817[19] Capacity: 6,541[20] Capacity: 10,696[21]
Rugby Park.jpg Firpark.jpg JHS@Firhill.jpg Ibrox Inside.jpg Victoria park 2.jpg McDiarmid Park.jpg



Season Winner Runner-up Third Top scorer Players' Player of the Year Writers' Player of the Year
2013–14 Celtic Motherwell Aberdeen Kris Commons 27 (Celtic) Kris Commons (Celtic) Kris Commons (Celtic)
2014–15 Celtic Aberdeen Inverness CT Adam Rooney 18 (Aberdeen) Stefan Johansen (Celtic) Craig Gordon (Celtic)
2015–16 Celtic Aberdeen Heart of Midlothian Leigh Griffiths 31 (Celtic) Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) Leigh Griffiths (Celtic)
2016–17 Celtic Aberdeen Rangers Liam Boyce 23 (Ross County) Scott Sinclair (Celtic) Scott Sinclair (Celtic)

As of 2017, Scotland's top-flight league championship has been won 54 times by Rangers and 48 times by Celtic. Nine other clubs have won the remaining 19 championships, with three clubs tied for third place with 4 apiece. The last time the championship was won by a club other than Rangers or Celtic was 1984–85, by Aberdeen.

Records and awards[edit]

Biggest home win
Celtic 8–1 Hamilton Academical, 19 January 2016[22]
Biggest away win
Dundee 0–7 Aberdeen, 31 March 2017
Most points in a season
106; Celtic, 2016–17[23]
Fewest points in a season
23; Heart of Midlothian, 2013–14 – 15 points deducted due to entering administration.
30; St Mirren, 2015–16 – excluding points deductions.
Most wins in a season
34; Celtic, 2016–17[23]
Fewest wins in a season
7; Hamilton Academical and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, both in 2016–17
Most draws in a season
15, Dundee, 2015–16
Fewest draws in a season
3, St Mirren, 2014–15
Most defeats in a season
26, St Mirren, 2014–15
Fewest defeats in a season
0; Celtic, 2016–17[23]
Most goals scored in a season
106; Celtic, 2016–17[23]
Fewest goals scored in a season
30; St Mirren, 2014–15
Most goals conceded in a season
71, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, 2016–17
Fewest goals conceded in a season
17; Celtic, 2014–15
Fastest goal
Kris Boyd, for Kilmarnock against Ross County, 10 seconds, 28 January 2017 [24]
Highest transfer fee paid
Jozo Šimunović, from Dinamo Zagreb to Celtic, £5.5 million, 1 September 2015[25][26]
Highest transfer fee received
Virgil van Dijk, from Celtic to Southampton, £13 million, 1 September 2015[27]
Youngest player
Dean Campbell, for Aberdeen v Celtic, 16 years and 54 days[28]
Youngest goalscorer
Jack Aitchison, for Celtic v Motherwell, 16 years and 71 days[29]

Broadcasting rights[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Scottish Premiership has only existed since 2013. For a complete record of clubs that have won Scottish league championships, see list of Scottish football champions.


  1. ^ "SPFL names Ladbrokes as sponsor in £4m deal". BBC News. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "SPFL: New Scottish league brands unveiled". BBC Sport. BBC. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Rules and Regulations of the Scottish Professional Football League" (PDF). Scottish Professional Football League. 1 December 2015. pp. 36–7. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Anderson, Craig (24 July 2013). "The Scottish Premiership 2013/14 in numbers". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Grant, Michael (8 August 1999). "SPL stand by their split decision". Sunday Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ McLaughlin, Chris (28 June 2013). "The new Scottish Professional Football League survives hitch". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  7. ^ McGuiness, Nathan. "The Scottish Professional Football League". Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Campbell, Andy (30 April 2013). "Scottish Premier League considers play-off introduction". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "SPFL European qualification". 
  10. ^ a b c "Celtic: PSG average salary almost nine times that of Scottish champions". BBC Sport. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017. 
  11. ^ "Aberdeen Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Celtic Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Dundee Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Hamilton Academical Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Hibernian Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "Kilmarnock Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Motherwell Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Partick Thistle Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Rangers Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ross County Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "St Johnstone Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Celtic 8–1 Hamilton". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  23. ^ a b c d Campbell, Andy (21 May 2017). "Celtic 2–0 Heart of Midlothian". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  24. ^ "BBC". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  25. ^ Jackson, Keith; Swan, Craig (31 August 2015). "Celtic make second £4m move for Dinamo Zagreb stopper Jozo Simunovic as Virgil van Dijk finally gets set to seal £11m move to Southampton". Daily Record. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "Celtic agree fee for Dinamo Zagreb defender Jozo Simunovic". Sky Sports. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  27. ^ "Virgil van Dijk: Southampton sign Celtic defender for £13m". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  28. ^ MacArthur, Scott (13 May 2017). "Young guns: Dean Campbell becomes Aberdeen's youngest ever player after cameo against Celtic". The Scottish Sun. News Group. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  29. ^ English, Tom (15 May 2016). "Celtic 7–0 Motherwell". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 

External links[edit]