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Scottish Premiership
2020-21
Scottish Premiership.png
Season information
Dates 1 August 2020 – 16 May 2021
Winners Rangers
1st Premiership title
55th Scottish title
Relegated Kilmarnock
Hamilton Academical
Domestic cup winners
Scottish Cup St Johnstone
Scottish League Cup St Johnstone
Continental cup qualifiers
Champions League Rangers
Celtic
Europa League St Johnstone
Europa Conference League Aberdeen
Hibernian
Season statistics
Matches played 228
Goals scored 552
Top goalscorer Odsonne Édouard
(18 goals)
Biggest home win Rangers 8–0 Hamilton Academical
Biggest away win Ross County 0–5 Celtic
Highest scoring Hamilton Academical 3–5 St Johnstone
 ← 2019–20
2021–22 → 

The 2020–21 Scottish Premiership was the eighth season of the Scottish Premiership, the highest division of Scottish football. The fixtures were published on 6 July 2020, with the season beginning on 1 August, following Scottish Government approval due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland. Celtic were the defending champions.

On 7 March, Rangers clinched the Premiership title, their 55th Scottish Championship, after Celtic drew 0–0 away to Dundee United with 6 games remaining. This is the earliest date the title has been won, with Rangers also completing an unbeaten season on 15 May 2021 after a 4–0 win against Aberdeen.

Twelve teams are contesting the league: Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United, Hamilton Academical, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Livingston, Motherwell, Rangers, Ross County, St Johnstone and St Mirren.

Celtic were the defending champions, seeking a record-breaking |tenth successive title.

On 7 March, Rangers clinched the Premiership title, their 55th Scottish Championship, after Celtic drew 0–0 away to Dundee United with 6 games remaining.This is the earliest date the Premiership has been won, with Rangers also completing an unbeaten season on 15 May 2021 after a 4–0 win against Aberdeen.

Teams

The following teams have changed division since the 2019–20 season.

Promoted from Scottish Championship

Relegated to Scottish Championship

Stadia and locations

Aberdeen Celtic Dundee United Hamilton Academical
Pittodrie Stadium Celtic Park Tannadice Park New Douglas Park
Capacity: 20,866 Capacity: 60,411 Capacity: 14,223 Capacity: 6,018
Pittodrie from Block Y, May 2015.jpg Celtic Park New.jpg East Stand Tannadice.jpg New Douglas Park - 1.jpg
Hibernian Kilmarnock Livingston Motherwell
Easter Road Rugby Park Almondvale Stadium Fir Park
Capacity: 20,421 Capacity: 17,889 Capacity: 9,512 Capacity: 13,677
Easter Road 2010.JPG Rugby Park.jpg Almondvale Stadium, Livingston.jpg Fir Park, Motherwell. - geograph.org.uk - 219204.jpg
Rangers Ross County St Johnstone St Mirren
Ibrox Stadium Victoria Park McDiarmid Park St Mirren Park
Capacity: 50,817 Capacity: 6,541 Capacity: 10,696 Capacity: 7,937
Ibrox Inside.jpg Victoria park 2.jpg McDiarmid Park.jpg StMirren(2).jpg

Personnel and kits

Team Manager Captain Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
Aberdeen Flag of Scotland McInnes, DerekDerek McInnes Flag of England Lewis, JoeJoe Lewis Adidas Saltire Energy
Celtic Flag of Northern Ireland Lennon, NeilNeil Lennon Flag of Scotland Brown, ScottScott Brown Adidas Dafabet
Dundee United Flag of Scotland Mellon, MickyMicky Mellon Flag of Scotland Reynolds, MarkMark Reynolds Macron Utilita
Hamilton Academical Flag of Scotland Rice, BrianBrian Rice Flag of Scotland Easton, BrianBrian Easton Adidas Euro Mechanical Handling
Hibernian Flag of Scotland Ross, JackJack Ross Flag of Scotland Gray, DavidDavid Gray Macron "Thank You NHS"
Kilmarnock Flag of England Dyer, AlexAlex Dyer Flag of Republic of Ireland Dicker, GaryGary Dicker Hummel Brownings The Bakers
Livingston Flag of Scotland Holt, GaryGary Holt Flag of Scotland Lithgow, AlanAlan Lithgow Nike Phoenix Drilling Ltd
Motherwell Flag of Northern Ireland Robinson, StephenStephen Robinson Flag of Scotland Gallagher, DeclanDeclan Gallagher Macron TBC
Rangers Flag of England Gerrard, StevenSteven Gerrard Flag of England Tavernier, JamesJames Tavernier Castore 32Red
Ross County Flag of Scotland Kettlewell, StuartStuart Kettlewell Flag of Scotland Vigurs, IainIain Vigurs Macron Ross-shire Engineering
St Johnstone Flag of Scotland Davidson, CallumCallum Davidson Flag of Scotland Kerr, JasonJason Kerr Macron Binn Group
St Mirren Flag of Republic of Ireland Goodwin, JimJim Goodwin Flag of Scotland Magennis, KyleKyle Magennis Joma Skyview Capital

Managerial changes

Team Outgoing manager Manner of departure Date of vacancy Position in table Incoming manager Date of appointment
Ross County Flag of Scotland Steven Ferguson (co-manager) Internal restructuring 10 June 2020 Pre-season Flag of Scotland Stuart Kettlewell (manager) 10 June 2020
St Johnstone Flag of Scotland Alec Cleland End of caretaker spell 18 June 2020 Flag of Scotland Callum Davidson 18 June 2020
Dundee United Flag of Scotland Robbie Neilson Signed by Heart of Midlothian 21 June 2020 Flag of Scotland Micky Mellon 6 July 2020
Livingston Flag of Scotland Gary Holt Resigned 26 November 2020 10th Flag of Scotland David Martindale 21 December 2020
Ross County Flag of Scotland Stuart Kettlewell Sacked 19 December 2020 12th Flag of Scotland John Hughes 21 December 2020
Motherwell Flag of Northern Ireland Stephen Robinson Resigned 31 December 2020 10th Flag of Scotland Graham Alexander 7 January 2021
Kilmarnock Flag of England Alex Dyer Mutual consent 30 January 2021 9th Flag of Northern Ireland Tommy Wright 8 February 2021
Celtic Flag of Northern Ireland Neil Lennon Resigned 24 February 2021 2nd Flag of Scotland John Kennedy (Interim) 24 February 2021
Aberdeen Flag of Scotland Derek McInnes Mutual consent 8 March 2021 4th Flag of Scotland Stephen Glass 23 March 2021

Format

In the initial phase of the season, the 12 teams will play a round-robin tournament whereby each team plays each one of the other teams three times. After 33 games, the league splits into two sections of six teams, with each team playing each other in that section. The league attempts to balance the fixture list so that teams in the same section play each other twice at home and twice away, but sometimes this is impossible. A total of 228 matches will be played, with 38 matches played by each team.

League summary

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

After the 12 Premiership clubs were given permission to restart full-contact training by the Scottish Government from 29 June 2020, it was announced that an Aberdeen player had tested positive for COVID-19 two days later. The identity of the player was not disclosed but the club said that he was asymptomatic and self-isolating.

Nine days prior to the start of the season on 1 August, it was reported on 23 July that seven members of St Mirren's coaching staff had tested positive. As a result, a pre-season friendly between St Mirren and St Johnstone on 25 July was cancelled and Hamilton Academical, who had played St Mirren in a friendly on 18 July, confirmed that all of their players and coaching staff had subsequently tested negative. The following day, St Mirren announced that after the seven positive tests were retested, only one came back as positive with the other six negative.

On the opening day of the season Rangers defeated Aberdeen 1–0 at Pittodrie Stadium and after the game, eight members of the Aberdeen squad went out to a pub in the city. Later in the week, the pub was linked to an outbreak of COVID-19 in Aberdeen which led to a lockdown of the city. Two of the group subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 and the eight players were put into self-isolation. Initially, the Scottish Government said Aberdeen's match against St Johnstone, scheduled for 8 August, wouldn't be affected by the lockdown of the city but the match was postponed after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "pretty furious" about the situation. Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was critical of the group of players - namely Bruce Anderson, Craig Bryson, Sam Cosgrove, Michael Devlin, Jonny Hayes, Matty Kennedy, Dylan McGeouch and Scott McKenna - who apologised for a "huge error of judgement".

The following weekend, defending champions Celtic drew 1–1 with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on 9 August. Defender Boli Bolingoli was in the Celtic match squad and came off the bench during the match, but was found to have travelled back from Spain a few days earlier – at that time, a 14-day quarantine was required for anyone travelling to Scotland from that country. Celtic manager Neil Lennon said Bolingoli "went rogue" and the club were unaware of his actions before it came to light on 10 August. Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer revealed that Celtic had apologised for the situation. Bolingoli (who tested negative for the virus) was subsequently fined £480 by the police for his breach of quarantine rules.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned Scottish football clubs, players and authorities that the breaches of COVID-19 protocols set up to allow football to resume in Scotland had resulted in her giving the game a "yellow card" and that further breaches could lead to a pause in the football season. Aberdeen and Celtic's matches against Hamilton Academical and St Mirren respectively on 12 August were postponed as a result of the two incidents, as well as the Celtic vs. Aberdeen match on 15 August.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) and Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) introduced new rules following the breaches of COVID-19 rules which meant Bolingoli and the "Aberdeen eight" were charged by both governing bodies. An SFA hearing was held on 28 August which resulted in a three-match ban with a further two-match ban suspended for Bolingoli. The "Aberdeen eight" were each given a three-match suspended ban. The suspended bans would be triggered if a player was again charged with "bringing the game into disrepute" before 28 February 2021.

Three fixtures (Kilmarnock v Motherwell, St Mirren v Motherwell and St Mirren v Hamilton) during the autumn were postponed after Kilmarnock and St Mirren told the SPFL that they could not fulfil them as scheduled due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The SPFL initially awarded 3–0 victories to their opponents; but that decision was overturned after an appeal to the Scottish Football Association.

League table

Pos
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Rangers  (C) 38 32 6 0 92 13 +79 102 Qualification for the Champions League third qualifying round
2 Celtic 38 22 11 5 78 29 +49 77 Qualification for the Champions League second qualifying round
3 Hibernian 38 18 9 11 48 35 +13 63 Qualification for the Europa Conference League second qualifying round
4 Aberdeen 38 15 11 12 36 38 −2 56
5 St Johnstone 38 11 12 15 36 46 −10 45
6 Livingston 38 12 9 17 42 54 −12 45
7 Motherwell 38 12 9 17 39 55 −16 45
8 St. Mirren 38 11 12 15 37 45 −8 45
9 Dundee United 38 10 14 14 32 50 −18 44
10 Ross County 38 11 6 21 35 66 −31 39
11 Kilmarnock  (R) 38 10 6 22 43 54 −11 36 Qualification to Play-offs
12 Hamilton Academical  (R) 38 7 10 21 34 67 −33 31 Relegation to the Championship

Source: BBC Sport
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd number of goals scored.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round; (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament

Premiership play-offs

The quarter-finals will be contested between the third and fourth placed teams in the Scottish Championship. The winners will advance to the semi-finals to face the second placed team in the Championship, and the winners of that tie will advance to the final to play-off against the 11th placed team in the Premiership, with the winners securing a place in the 2021–22 Scottish Premiership.

Quarter-final

First leg

4 May 2021 Dunfermline Athletic 0–0 Raith Rovers Dunfermline  
19:00 https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56955749 Stadium: East End Park
Attendance: 0
Referee: Steven Kirkland

Second leg

8 May 2021 Raith Rovers 2–0
(2–0 agg.)
Dunfermline Athletic Kirkcaldy  
15:00 Vaughan Goal 64'
Ugwu Goal 89'
Report Stadium: Stark's Park
Attendance: 0
Referee: Greg Aitken

Semi-final

First leg

12 May 2021 Raith Rovers 0–3 Dundee Kirkcaldy  
19:45 Report McGhee Goal 22'55'
Sow Goal 84'
Stadium: Stark's Park
Attendance: 0
Referee: Nick Walsh

Second leg

15 May 2021 Dundee 0–1
(3–1 agg.)
Raith Rovers Dundee  
19:45 Report Vaughan Goal 21' Stadium: Dens Park
Attendance: 0
Referee: Don Robertson

Final

First leg

20 May 2021 Dundee 2–1 Kilmarnock Dundee  
20:15 McGhee Goal 6'
Adam Goal 47'
Report Haunstrup Goal 77' Stadium: Dens Park
Attendance: 500
Referee: John Beaton

Second leg

24 May 2021 Kilmarnock 1–2
(2–4 agg.)
Dundee Kilmarnock  
19:45 Lafferty Goal 69' (pen.) Report Mullen Goal 7'
Ashcroft Goal 12'
Stadium: Rugby Park
Attendance: 500
Referee: Bobby Madden

Season statistics

Scoring

Top scorers

As of 16 May 2021
Rank Player Club Goals
1 Flag of France Odsonne Édouard Celtic 18
2 Flag of Scotland Kevin Nisbet Hibernian 14
Flag of Jamaica Kemar Roofe Rangers
4 Flag of Australia Martin Boyle Hibernian 12
Flag of Colombia Alfredo Morelos Rangers
Flag of England James Tavernier Rangers
7 Flag of England Devante Cole Motherwell 11
8 Flag of Norway Mohamed Elyounoussi Celtic 10
Flag of England Ryan Kent Rangers
Flag of Republic of Ireland Jamie McGrath St Mirren

Hat-tricks

Player For Against Score Date
Flag of France Odsonne Édouard Celtic Hamilton Academical 5–1 (H) 2 August 2020
Flag of Scotland Kevin Nisbet Hibernian Livingston 4–1 (A) 8 August 2020
Flag of Norway Mohamed Elyounoussi Celtic Motherwell 4–1 (A) 8 November 2020
Flag of Northern Ireland Kyle Lafferty Kilmarnock Dundee United 3–0 (H) 21 April 2021

Most assists

As of 16 May 2021
Rank Player Club Assists
1 Flag of Romania Ianis Hagi Rangers 11
2 Flag of Scotland Ryan Christie Celtic 9
Flag of England Ryan Kent Rangers
Flag of England James Tavernier Rangers
5 Flag of Scotland Callum McGregor Celtic 7
6 Flag of Scotland David Turnbull Celtic 6
Flag of Australia Martin Boyle Hibernian
Flag of Croatia Borna Barišić Rangers

Clean sheets

As of 16 May 2021
Rank Player Club Clean Sheets
1 Flag of England Joe Lewis Aberdeen 17
Flag of Scotland Allan McGregor Rangers
3 Flag of Switzerland Benjamin Siegrist Dundee United 12
Flag of Israel Ofir Marciano Hibernian
5 Flag of England Jak Alnwick St Mirren 10

Attendances

Games are mostly being played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited attendance is allowed at some grounds with strict conditions under the Scottish Government Tier system, dependent on the club's geographical location.

Broadcasting

Live matches (UK and Ireland)

This is the first season where Sky Sports has exclusive rights to Scottish Premiership matches The Broadcaster will show up to 48 matches, plus playoffs. The deal with Sky Sports will earn the SPFL £25m for season 2020-21. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs will stream matches (not broadcast on Sky) to fans on a Pay Per View or "Virtual Season ticket" basis whilst capacities in stadia are limited due to social distancing restrictions.

Highlights

Sky Sports hold the rights to Saturday night highlights - however, they do not broadcast a dedicated programme and instead merely show the goals of the Premiership matches on Sky Sports News in their Goals Express programme - which primarily is focused on goals from the English Football League.

Gaelic-language channel BBC Alba has rights to broadcast the repeat in full of 38 Saturday 3pm matches "as live" at 5.30pm.

The main Premiership highlights programme is BBC Scotland's Sportscene programme, which shows in-depth highlights of all six Premiership matches every weekend, and is usually broadcast on a Sunday evening.

The SPFL also uploads the goals from every Premiership match onto its YouTube channel - available from 6pm on a Sunday for UK and Ireland viewers and 10pm on a Saturday for those worldwide.

External links

Football Seasons in Scotland
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2020–21 in Scottish football
Domestic leagues
SPFL (Premiership · Championship · League One · League Two) · Highland · Lowland · East of Scotland · South of Scotland · West of Scotland · North Caledonian · SJFA East Super League · SJFA North Superleague
Domestic cups

Scottish Cup (Final) · League Cup (Group stage · Final) · Challenge Cup (Final)

European competitions

Champions League (Final) · Europa League (Final)

National teams

Senior · Women's

Club seasons
Premiership

Aberdeen · Celtic · Dundee United · Hamilton Academical · Hibernian · Kilmarnock · Livingston · Motherwell · Rangers · Ross County · St Johnstone · St Mirren

Championship

Alloa Athletic · Arbroath · Ayr United · Dundee · Dunfermline Athletic · Greenock Morton · Heart of Midlothian · Inverness Caledonian Thistle · Queen of the South · Raith Rovers

2019-20                                                        2021-22

202021 in European football (UEFA)
Domestic leagues

Albania · Andorra · Armenia · Austria · Azerbaijan · Belarus '20 '21 · Belgium · Bosnia and Herzegovina · Bulgaria · Croatia · Cyprus · Czech Republic · Denmark · England · Estonia '20 '21 · Faroe Islands '20 '21 · Finland '20 '21 · France · Georgia '20 '21 · Germany · Gibraltar · Greece · Hungary · Iceland '20 '21 · Israel · Italy · Kazakhstan '20 '21 · Kosovo · Latvia '20 '21 · Lithuania '20 '21 · Luxembourg · Malta · Moldova '20 '21 · Montenegro · Netherlands · North Macedonia · Northern Ireland · Norway '20 '21 · Poland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '20 '21 · Romania · Russia · San Marino · Scotland · Serbia · Slovakia · Slovenia · Spain · Sweden '20 '21 · Switzerland · Turkey · Ukraine · Wales

Domestic cups

Albania · Andorra · Armenia · Austria · Azerbaijan · Belarus · Belgium · Bosnia and Herzegovina · Bulgaria · Croatia · Cyprus · Czech Republic · Denmark · England · Estonia · Faroe Islands '20 '21 · Finland · France · Georgia '20 '21 · Germany · Gibraltar · Greece · Hungary · Iceland '20 '21 · Israel · Italy · Kazakhstan '20 '21 · Kosovo · Latvia '20 '21 · Liechtenstein · Lithuania '20 '21 · Luxembourg · Malta · Moldova · Montenegro · Netherlands · North Macedonia · Northern Ireland · Norway '20 '21 · Poland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '20 '21 · Romania · Russia · San Marino · Scotland · Serbia · Slovakia · Slovenia · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland · Turkey · Ukraine · Wales

League cups

England · Estonia · Iceland '20 '21 · Israel · Latvia · Northern Ireland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '20 '21 · Scotland · Wales

Supercups

Albania · Andorra · Armenia · Azerbaijan · Belarus · Belgium · Bulgaria · Cyprus · England · Estonia · Faroe Islands · France · Georgia · Germany · Gibraltar · Hungary · Iceland · Israel · Italy · Kazakhstan · Kosovo · Lithuania '20 '21 · Malta · Moldova · Netherlands · Northern Ireland · Norway '20 '21 · Poland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '20 '21 · Romania · Russia · San Marino · Spain · Turkey · Ukraine

UEFA competitions
Champions League (qualifying phase and play-off round, group stage, knockout phase, Final) · Europa League (qualifying phase and play-off round, Champions Path, Main Path, group stage, knockout phase, Final) · Super Cup
International competitions
UEFA Euro 2021 (qualification) · 2022 FIFA World Cup (qualification) · 2020–21 UEFA Nations League (League A · League B · League C · League D · Finals · Final)
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