Football

Celtic declared champions as Scottish season ends

Celtic were crowned champions for a record-equalling ninth consecutive season as the Scottish Premiership campaign was declared over yesterday.

Neil Lennon's men were 13 points clear at the top of the table when the season was stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March, with eight games remaining for the majority of clubs.

Second-placed Rangers had a game in hand to try and cut that gap and were due to face Celtic twice more before the end of the season.

A points-per-game formula for determining final league placings also sees bottom club Hearts relegated unless there is any progress in talks over league reconstruction.

"It is, of course, a real shame that we were not able to see out the league in front of our fans. However, no one can deny how deserved this title is," said Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell.

The three leagues below the Scottish Premiership were ended over a month ago, when clubs passed a controversial resolution that allowed the Scottish Professional Football League board to also bring the top flight to a halt if it deemed the games could no longer be played.

Last week, Rangers failed to gain the support of the 42 member clubs for an independent inquiry into how the vote on the resolution was passed.

The cost of testing and the fact a high percentage of players will be out of contract these two months were also highlighted by clubs as reasons why making a return to finishing the campaign was impractical.

Leagues in France, Belgium and Holland have also called their seasons to a premature end.

However, many more across Europe are hoping to follow the example of Germany's Bundesliga, which has resumed behind closed doors and with a series of strict safety measures in place to protect players and staff. - AFP

Football