Earlier in the league campaign, Celtic had to endure a murderous run of away games.
It was during this run that we dropped the bulk of the points we’ve given up in this title race.
Because of the way our league system works – the ridiculous “SPL split” – we already face one disadvantage. We face that run of games twice without the corresponding home fixtures, because the split means we don’t play every team four times.
So we face at least one fixture away from home against a top six club that under a better system we wouldn’t have; that’s something this site has been complaining about for years.
All we can hope for is that we capitalise as best we can on the home matches which we do get and which are guaranteed to us in the schedule. Today’s decision means we’ve effectively lost our home advantage against Hibs and against the club from Ibrox.
Correspondingly, the Ibrox club’s last two fixtures of the year – at Aberdeen and Celtic Park – have been robbed of the home support which makes them “away games” in the first place.
The SPFL calendar has already penalised Celtic.
Now the government’s decision to wipe out any advantage we get from playing at home – whilst handing our rivals a bonus – penalises us again and in a way that blatantly risks doing us harm.
There is simply no way that our club can allow such an obvious violation of sporting integrity when there is an alternative; bringing forward the winter break by a week, and re-scheduling the fixtures.
There is talk that the broadcasters might not like it; the broadcasters don’t get to screw with decisions about basic even-handedness. If one of the two Glasgow clubs faced relegation, would the broadcasters demand that the SPFL change the rules to protect the contract?
When Rangers was liquidated, the big threat was that the broadcasters would pull the plug.
Because the broadcasters know they can’t dictate that stuff to the sport.
Any decision which is taken to satisfy television companies at the expense of fairness would set a momentously dangerous precedent and no club should be willing to accept that.
Celtic’s board has a responsibility to protect our club.
It would be a flat-out disgrace if the schedule went ahead, as is, when it so clearly compromises us and benefits another club.
This is not a conspiracy. This is where we’ve landed, through nobody’s fault.
It was not set up like this, not planned in advance, and no-one should be alleging otherwise.
But it compromises the game.
It poses a threat which we cannot ignore.
It upends the very principle of a level playing field, and Celtic cannot allow it to stand.