Yesterday I mentioned in one of my articles that Celtic were about to be disadvantaged after the split by being made to play two of the top six away from home for a third time.
This is the consequence of all these away matches we’ve played in the last few weeks and those we’ve still got to navigate and that this gives Sevco an inbuilt advantage would be true even if it weren’t for the news today, that by the same odd quirk they have will played all the teams in the top six twice at Ibrox already by the time the split comes around.
They will thus get to play two of them at Ibrox for a third time.
So whilst we’re being penalised by two away games at grounds we’ve been to twice already they are set to be advantaged by two extra at home.
People are going to tell us that this is just one of those things, a quirk of the fixture list, an accident of history which can’t be helped, but it only exists in the first place we have this dire situation of having to create an artificial split at the end of every season.
It is farcical and it has always been farcical. The split exists because without it we’d have a 44 game league campaign, and that coupled with European fixtures and two domestic cup competitions is simply untenable in the modern game.
It is patently obvious, and it has been obvious for quite some time, that the real problem is the 12 team SPL.
The existence of the 12 team SPL is a purely financial arrangement; in any other country there would be between sixteen and twenty teams in the league, giving us a domestic campaign anywhere between 32 and 38 games without needing the split.
Needless to say, a 32 game league season would be huge for us in terms of Europe and our ability to compete on multiple fronts. Even an 18 team league would be a huge improvement, with 34 league games in a season instead of the current 38.
A ten team SPL – which is what we had before – would give us a total of 36 games … two less than just now, which might not seem a lot but could make a huge difference in certain years where we get to the latter stages in Europe.
But clubs will never agree to that because most are addicted to the drug of Celtic and whatever club is playing out of Ibrox visiting twice apiece on a good year. It hardly needs pointing out that this was one of the reasons why many clubs were initially perfectly willing to put aside sporting integrity back in 2012.
Greed. It almost destroyed our game.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the conditions for a scenario like this have been there all along, and that the split could have a material impact on title races by creating a situation just like this one, a patently unfair scenario where we’re being doubly disadvantaged by the vagaries of the fixture list. It is manifestly unjust … but this is the system we’ve built and which our club and other clubs allows to persist although all involved must know it’s ridiculous.
As it stands so far, we’ve proved that we can handle whatever the fixture list throws at us, having come through dreadful spells of away games before and since the break. But we have a good chance of going through against Copenhagen in Europe and that would give us a minimum of two more games to squeeze into this calendar somewhere … and that multiplies the potential for problems later on and will exacerbate the scandalous nature of this setup.
One of their websites is bitching today because Kevin Clancy is refereeing our game at the weekend … they are convinced there’s an SFA conspiracy here to deny them a shot.
I covered that in the last piece, but let me say this on top of it.
In light of this news today I don’t want to hear any more of this pitiful bitching and wailing out of Ibrox about the decisions they don’t get and the things that don’t go their way. We’re facing getting a double screwing here and the attitudes of all involved can already be surmised to be a shrug and a lecture about this is what happens sometimes.
It will make securing this title all the sweeter when we do it.