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Celtic Fans Told Fixture List Is “Not A Conspiracy” Just A Fantastic Coincidence.

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Isn’t it amazing how officialdom moves when we give it a bit of a push?

Just the other day, one of the national bodies in our sport, the PFA, got its front man on the radio where he set the mind of a caller at ease by assuring him that there was “no conspiracy” over the fixture list.

It’s chosen by computer, is the old refrain.

But my comeback to that has always been that the computer is already programmed with some pretty specific instructions, mostly regarding derby matches. The computer could easily be programed with others.

Of course, this may be completely barmy.

But the only other alternative is that this is the most fantastic coincidence.

I’ll be perfectly blunt; that stretches credulity until you hear the elastic snap.

Let’s remember again what we’re talking about, and let’s, please, put this all in its proper context because the context is important if we’re to consider this properly.

When that fixture list came out, we were in total freefall. We were a complete mess.

The prize at the end of this campaign is automatic Champions League Group Stage qualification; that makes this season even bigger than last season, in sheer cash terms and in importance for the next decade of the game here.

Ibrox clearly needs that money.

If you were designing a fixture list – actually sitting down to do it – the purpose of which was to end this title race, such as folk thought there would be, by Christmas if not shortly afterwards, this is the one you would put together.

Celtic away at Ibrox, Tynecastle, Easter Road, Pittodrie, Livingston and Motherwell in the first round of games, and then again in the third.

A near certain guarantee of two away games extra at those grounds after the split.

Which of course means the mirror image fixture list at Ibrox, which give them an easier run-in after they’ve already had an easier campaign.

If that’s a coincidence, if that’s random chance, then the lottery is easier than it seems.

It’s freakish stuff like that which almost makes you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Because that fixture list certainly looks as if it was put together to benefit one club, and that club just so happens to be the one which needs the money the most.

I accenuate that point for a very good reason, of course.

The last time an Ibrox club needed money like this they got a European license, and thus Champions League football, in spite of owing the Exchequer a fortune.

So maybe this “conspiracy” stuff is not as far-fetched as some folk want to make it sound.

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9 comments

  • Chris says:

    It’s not just sporting integrity or fairness were talking about here ( they get 2 more home games than Celtic) it’s also the fact that those 2 additional home games will generate more money to keep the lights on as season tickets only entitle you to 18 home games therefore enabling them pocket around another£3M in ticket sales.

    • Droopy McCool says:

      Come on. They do NOT get 2 more home games than Celtic. The fixtures are changed so that all teams play an equal number of games home and away – 19. This year has thrown up a scenario that would mean we’re due to play 5 teams at home and they’re due to play 5 teams away. To balance that two games would be switched for both teams. That means we go to away grounds 3 times and they get the same reverse at home. It’s fishy this year because of the run of away games it leaves us with, which looks much more difficult.

      For the record, in the past it’s worked in our “favour”, albeit producing less meaningful changes.

  • BhilltheTim says:

    While I have no faith in the impartiality of the SPFL or their computer it’s worth noting that Hibs, Aberdeen and Livingstone are heading for a bottom 6 finish so we may not be playing them again.

  • Pan says:

    Remember Farry?
    It has been proved already how corrupt the SFA are.
    Racist and bigoted.

  • Garry Cowan says:

    Unfortunately it’s way outside my skill set but I’d love to have a statistician work out the chances of this happening just to see how far fetched it really is

    • Benjamin says:

      Depends on how the problem is framed. For me, this is an issue of how matches 22-33 are arranged. 5 (or 6) will be home, and 6 (or 5) will be away. With 11 possible opponents and not considering the order in which the matches are played, there are 462 possible combinations of home/away split fixtures for those matches. If you take the Rangers game out of the equation – since that one alternates every single year like clockwork and is anything but random – there are 252 possible combinations.

      In maths speak, this is 11 choose 6, or with Rangers excluded, 10 choose 5.

      The chances of any one configuration in any one season for one team is extremely small. However, the league is doing this for all 12 teams every season, so the chances of it happening to *A* team at some point over a 8 or 10 year period is highly likely.

      To put it in context, getting exactly one out of 252 outcomes is slightly more likely than flipping a coin and having it land heads 8 times in a row. Unlikely, but far from impossible in a single attempt. Once you get your 11 friends together and have them also try to get head 8x in a row multiple times… it eventually becomes inevitable that it will happen to someone.

  • Benjamin says:

    This is something that comes up every year, but it’s usually not as egregious as this year. The unbalanced schedule with the split guarantees an outcome where some teams are either going to have more than 50% home games overall, OR play 3 home & 1 away (or vice versa) against individual opponents. There’s no away around that.

    The easiest solution is to do away with the split and play every team home and away 2x. That would necessitate extra games, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. Scheduling Rangers & Celtic is the biggest hurdle due to their European commitments, but realistically both of those teams are almost always eliminated from European competitions by mid-March. Scheduling extra games midweek from March through May is more than enough to fit in an extra 6 matches. And in the off chance Celtic or Rangers make a deep run to a European final… just extend the season by 3 weeks and play 2x/week. Or alternatively schedule the extra matches during international breaks.

    That would result in schedule balance while simultaneously adding more matchday income to all 12 clubs. Who’s going to say no to that?

  • Stephen McAdam says:

    As I said other day 14 teams spilt after 2 rounds is 26 then top 7 play home and away , way better system with 38 games! So f%%king simple! But that’s not the point as we know the people in charge of this league and the sfa have provan they aided a cheating club!! Had ex directors of said club ie oglive and then smith in top jobs aiding them ,remember it was the smaller that stopped der hun from a place in top league! Then you have bigots like dallas sacked for their bigotry! So yes it’s more than possible ! Imagine for a second this new club had this situation as well as have to contend with fan refs! Like we have to put up with! As soon as I saw we had livi away first round and they had them home I was alerted to an advantage! With us having to play on the joke pitch at least twice to their once , hopefully st.mirren and Motherwell make top 6 tho its ridiculous! Situation and it has allowed the cretins in power to enable the posion yet again! Only in ” brigadoon”!

  • Stephen McAdam says:

    The smaller clubs I meant

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