Scottish Premier League

Scottish Premier League
Scottish Premier League
Countries Scotland
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1998
Number of teams 12
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Scottish First Division
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Cup, League Cup
International cup(s) Champions League, Europa League
Current champions Rangers
Most championships Rangers (7)
TV partners Sky Sports, ESPN, BBC Scotland
2011–12 Scottish Premier League

The Scottish Premier League (Scottish Gaelic: Prìomh Lìog na h-Alba), also known as the SPL (and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League for sponsorship reasons),[1] is a professional league competition for association football clubs in Scotland. It is the top level of the Scottish football league system, above the Scottish Football League.

More people in Scotland per head of population watch their domestic top-level league than any other European nation.[2] As of October 2011 the Scottish Premier League is ranked 17th in the UEFA rankings of European leagues, which are based on the performances of member clubs in European competitions.[3] A total of 18 clubs have competed in the SPL since its inauguration in 1998–99, but only two have won the title, the Old Firm of Rangers (7) and Celtic (6).



Previously, the Scottish Football League had a two divisional structure (Divisions One and Two) between which clubs were promoted and relegated at the end of each season. However, by the mid 1970s, this organisation was perceived to be stagnant, and it was decided to split into a three divisional structure: Premier Division (formerly Division One), First Division (formerly Division Two) and a newly added Second Division. This system came into force for the 1975–76 season. This setup continued until the 1994–95 season, when a four divisional structure was introduced, along with a new Third Division, with all four divisions consisting of ten clubs.

On 8 September 1997, the football clubs in the Premier Division decided to split from the Scottish Football League and form the Scottish Premier League, following an earlier example in England, which came into force during the 1992–93 season. This decision was fuelled by a desire by the top clubs in Scotland to retain more of the revenue generated by the game. Originally, league sponsorship money was divided proportionally between clubs in all four divisions; after the SPL was formed, this was no longer the case.

Competition format

Hearts take on Hibernian in an Edinburgh Derby played at Tynecastle in December 2006

There are currently twelve clubs in the Scottish Premier League. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion. If points are equal, the goal difference and then goals scored determine the winner.

A season, which runs from July until May, is divided into two phases. During the first phase, each club plays three games against every other team, either once at home and twice away or vice-versa. After this first phase of matches, by which time all clubs will have played 33 games, the league splits into a 'top six' and a 'bottom six'. Each club then plays a further five matches against the other five teams in their own section. Points achieved during the first phase of 33 matches are carried forward to the second phase, but the teams will compete only within their own sections during the second phase. After the first phase has been completed, clubs cannot move out of their own section in the league, even if they achieve more or fewer points than a higher or lower ranked team, respectively.

At the beginning of each season, the Scottish Premier League 'predicts' the likely positions of each club in order to produce a fixture schedule that will ensure the best possible chance of all clubs playing each other twice at home and twice away. These are known as the league seeding and are based on clubs' performance in previous years.[4] However, should a club not finish in the half where it was predicted to finish, it faces the possibility of playing an unequal number of home and away games; for example, one club may play another three times at home and once away.[4]

The bottom placed SPL club at the end of the season is relegated, and swaps places with the winner of the Scottish First Division, provided that the winner satisfies the league's entry criteria.


Originally the SPL contained 10 clubs, but it subsequently enlarged to 12 for the 2000–01 season onwards. The increase from 10 clubs to 12 was part of the deal offered to obtain approval from SFL member clubs. Since then, the SPL has operated a "split league format" to prevent the need for a 44-game schedule, which was once used in the Scottish Premier Division, but is now considered to be too high a number of games in a league season.

Under this system, after 33 games (i.e., when every club has played every other club three times, either twice away and once at home or vice-versa) the division is split into two halves. The clubs play a further five matches against the teams in their half of the division, taking their total to 38 games. This can (and often does) result in the team placed seventh having a higher points total than the team placed sixth, because their final five games are considerably easier. For example, in the 2005–06 season, the seventh placed club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, gained more points than the fourth placed club, Hibernian.

There has been criticism of the split season format. In April 2007, Craig Levein labelled it as "rubbish" and a "nonsense", claiming that it resulted in lost revenue for clubs and put more pressure on managers,[5] while Rangers manager Walter Smith branded the format as "unfair" and called for an 18-team league to be considered.[6] The SPL has defended the split format, however, and dismissed the possibility of expanding the league due to a lack of strong enough clubs within the Scottish Football League.[4] In March 2008 Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies was the latest to call for a league revamp, claiming that the potential for four matches per season against the same opponent is too many.[7]

Promotion and relegation

Providing they meet certain criteria regarding their stadium, the top club from the Scottish First Division is promoted to the SPL, with the 12th-placed SPL club relegated. These promotion criteria have previously caused controversy. In 2003, the chairmen of the member clubs voted against Falkirk's proposed ground share with Airdrie United and stopped the club from having the 10,000 capacity stadium it required, thus saving Motherwell from relegation.[8]

The same situation nearly materialised in 2004. After several votes and discussion, including threats of court cases from Partick Thistle, the team threatened with relegation, Inverness Caledonian Thistle were promoted on the basis that they would ground share with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.[9] In 2005, the stadium size criterion for entry to the SPL was reduced to 6,000,[10] thereby allowing Inverness Caledonian Thistle to return to their home stadium during the 2005–06 season.[10]

Old Firm dominance

Both sets of fans at an Old Firm match at Celtic Park

One of the main criticisms of the SPL is the dominance of the two Old Firm clubs, Celtic and Rangers. No team outside the Old Firm has won the SPL since it was formed in 1998 and there has only been one season (2005–06) where both clubs failed to occupy first and second positions, with Hearts finishing second behind Celtic. Whilst this is similar to other European leagues, this dates back to the beginning of Scottish league football, with a few exceptional periods. The average home attendances of both clubs are significantly higher than the other 10 clubs, resulting in the Old Firm having far greater revenues and therefore more money to spend on players. Both clubs also receive significant revenue from their regular participation in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.

Despite having more resources than other Scottish clubs, the Old Firm still experience difficulty in competing with big clubs from other leagues in terms of transfer fees and player wages due to the SPL's relatively low television revenue. A recurring theme in recent years has been the prospect of the two clubs leaving the Scottish football set-up to join either the English set-up, or an Atlantic League with clubs from countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.[11] While some feel that the departure of the Old Firm from the Scottish football setup would be detrimental to Scottish football as a whole,[12][13] others, such as Craig Levein, believe it would benefit Scottish football due to increased competition among the remaining clubs for the SPL title.[14] World football's governing body FIFA has ruled out the prospect of any move to the English set-up.[15]

Winter break

A further issue of controversy was the SPL's decision to scrap the 'winter break' after the 2000–01 season, thereby forcing clubs to play throughout January and often resulting in postponement of matches and significant damage to clubs' pitches due to adverse weather conditions, as well as player fatigue[citation needed]. Managers Martin O'Neill,[16] Jim Duffy[16] and Walter Smith are among those who have called for the winter break to be reinstated.[17] Alex McLeish accused the SPL of taking Scottish football "back to the Dark Ages" after its decision to scrap the mid-season hiatus.[16]

European qualification

Rangers playing FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the 2007–08 Champions League

The Scottish Premier League were thirteenth in UEFA's coefficient ranking for 2009, meaning that for the 2010–11 season, two SPL clubs qualified for the UEFA Champions League (the SPL champions, who enter the group stages since the defending champions will have already qualified to the group stages, and the runners-up, who enter the third qualifying round for non-champions) as well as two qualifying for the UEFA Europa League (the third and fourth placed clubs). The winners of the Scottish Cup also qualify for the Europa League, unless that team have already qualified for either the Champions League or Europa League. If the Scottish Cup winners have already qualified for the Champions League, the Europa League place is handed to the runners-up, and if the winners have already qualified for the Europa League, the Europa League place is given to the highest-placed SPL club who have not qualified for European competition. The same rule also applies if both the winners and the runners-up have already qualified. In 2010, as Dundee United had qualified for the Europa League through both winning the Scottish Cup and finishing third in the SPL, a Europa League placed passed to Motherwell, who finished fifth in the SPL.

Clubs also had the opportunity to apply for qualification to the UEFA Intertoto Cup before it was folded into the Europa League; qualification for that event was given to the highest placed applicant, although only two clubs chose to play in the tournament since the SPL's inception in 1998–99 (Dundee in 2001 and Hibernian in 2004, 2006 and 2008). Clubs may also qualify for Europe via the UEFA Fair Play ranking.

Since the SPL's inception, Scotland's UEFA co-efficient has improved significantly, having been ranked 26th in 1998–99.[18] In 2003 Celtic became the first Scottish club since Dundee United in 1987 to reach a European final, eventually losing 3–2 to FC Porto after extra-time in the UEFA Cup final.[19] In 2003–04, two Scottish clubs (Celtic and Rangers) qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In 2005–06, Rangers became the first Scottish club to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League,[20] a feat which was repeated by Celtic the following two seasons.[21][22] In the 2007–08 season, three Scottish clubs were competing in Europe after Christmas for the first time since 1970,[23] while in the same season Rangers reached the UEFA Cup final, their first European final since their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1972, where they lost 2–0 to Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.[24] During the season Scotland's European representatives collected the most coefficient points since the 1982–83 season.[18]

Until 1995, the winners of the Scottish League Cup were granted a place in the UEFA Cup, although this privilege was rarely invoked as the winning teams usually qualified for Europe by some other means such as winning the League Championship or Scottish Cup. The most recent example was Raith Rovers, who represented Scotland in the 1995–96 UEFA Cup after winning the League Cup the previous season as a First Division club. This privilege has since been discontinued due to the reduction in the number of European places granted to Scottish clubs.


Scottish Premier League clubs have almost complete freedom to sign whatever number and category of players they wish. There is no team or individual salary cap, no squad size limit, no age restrictions other than those applied by general employment law, no restrictions on the overall number of foreign players, and few restrictions on individual foreign players – all players with EU nationality, including those able to claim an EU passport through a parent or grandparent, are eligible to play, and top players from outside the EU are able to obtain UK work permits.

The only restriction on selection is the "Under-21 rule". This rule states that each club must include at least three players under the age of 21 in its matchday squad. Opinions on this rule appear to be divided among SPL managers. Walter Smith, Gus MacPherson and Jim Jefferies have expressed their disapproval of the policy.[25] John Collins, meanwhile, expressed approval of the ruling, claiming that it is healthy for Scottish football and encouraged the development of young players.[25]

Recent decline in television revenue has resulted in relatively little spending among SPL clubs in recent seasons, with major transfer spending mostly limited to the Old Firm clubs. As a result, many clubs are now more reliant on developing their own young players and selling them on for profit. This has also resulted in a large proportion of SPL clubs' squads being made up of Scottish players (73% in the 2004–05 season).[26]



The Bank of Scotland, who had sponsored the league since March 1999 (The League was unsponsored for most of the inaugural season), did not renew their sponsorship at the end of the 2006–07 season. Talks began with Clydesdale Bank,[27] and a deal was confirmed shortly afterwards. A four-year deal for £8m came into effect from July 2007[28] and in 2010 this was extended until 2013.[29]

Financial crisis

Since the SPL began, four of its member clubs have entered administration. Serious financial difficulties first arose in 2002 when broadcaster Sky Sports withdrew their interest in the League’s television rights when the SPL rejected their offer of £45m, hoping that a better deal would arise from another broadcaster.[30] A better deal failed to arise, however, adding to the clubs’ already delicate financial position.[30] By season 2001/02, combined debt among SPL clubs was estimated to be around £132m, having been barely into double figures two years previously.[30] Motherwell became the first SPL club to enter administration in April 2002, with debts of £11m and a wage bill totalling 97% of their annual turnover.[30] Dundee were next to follow, when in November 2003 they sacked 25 staff after debts of £20m.[30] The severity of the SPL's financial problems were revealed in September 2003 when combined losses for SPL clubs during 2001/02 was estimated to have been £60m.[31]

Livingston became the third SPL club to enter administration in February 2004, with debts of £3.5m.[32] Dunfermline Athletic's financial position also looked bleak, with several players asked to take wage-cuts,[33] while Rangers Chairman David Murray announced in September 2004 a plan to raise £57m via a rights issue in an attempt to wipe-out a large proportion of the club's debts.[34] A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2003 described five SPL clubs—Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Hearts, Hibernian and Livingston—as "technically insolvent".

Financial recovery

After widespread cost-cutting measures, SPL clubs' finances began to show signs of improvement. Both Motherwell and Dundee came out of administration in April[35] and August 2004,[36] respectively, while Livingston ended their fifteen month spell in administration in May 2005.[37] PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2006 report on SPL finances revealed operating profits of £2.8m among SPL clubs—the first collective operating profit made by Scotland's top-flight clubs in over a decade.[38] Seven of the SPL's 12 clubs had a wage turnover ratio of less than 60%.[38]

PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2007 report revealed a collective loss of £9m for 2005–06, however six clubs—Falkirk, Hibernian, Inverness CT, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Rangers—all made a profit.[39] The report highlighted the increasingly precarious financial position of Hearts, describing their current finances as "unsustainable" with debt rising by £7m to £28m and a wage bill which represents 97% of their turnover.[39] The figures for 2006–07 showed a collective profit of £3m, with eight clubs making a profit.[40]

Despite recent improvements in the financial position of SPL clubs, Gretna became the fourth SPL club to enter administration in March 2008 after their main benefactor Brooks Mileson was forced to withdraw his financial support due to failing health.[41]

Financial crises 2007–10

With the financial crises and the UK economic recession, SPL clubs are expected to be badly affected.[42] A reduction in revenue from ticket sales for SPL games and club merchandise will impact negatively on club expenditure. Players may be expected to take wage cuts and team squads will be reduced.[43] Indeed some clubs may reduce the number of non-playing staff.[44][45] During 2009 and 2010, the financial constraints at Rangers were widely reported, with the club's debt rising to £30 million.[46]

The 21st PWC annual review found that SPL clubs made a collective loss of £22M during the 2008–09 season, although this loss was almost entirely due to problems at two clubs.[47] Rangers incurred a £14M loss after losing most of their European revenues due to an early defeat by FBK Kaunas, while Hearts lost £8M.[47] Indeed, Rangers stabilised financially since then, with costs severely reduced and income generated from Champions League participation due to winning the league twice.[47] Hearts were described by The Scotsman as the only true financial "basket case" in the SPL, with the club having a wages-to-turnover ratio of 126% and debt of over three times turnover.[47]

Media coverage


A cameraman pitchside at Tynecastle Stadium

Between season 1998–99 and season 2001–02, exclusive television rights for live Scottish Premier League matches were held by Sky Sports, with a highlights package held by STV's Scotsport. After Sky Sports withdrew their interest in the SPL when their offer for £45m to continue ownership of the live TV rights were declined by the SPL on the grounds of not being substantial enough, discussions began in 2002 for a new pay-per-view satellite television channel, dubbed "SPL TV".[48] Discussions broke down in April 2002, however, when the Old Firm clubs, Rangers and Celtic, utilised the 11–1 voting system to veto the proposals.[49] This caused discontent among the remaining 10 SPL clubs who subsequently announced their intention to resign from the league.[50]

Despite a two-year television deal being agreed with BBC Scotland in July 2002 (for a significant amount less than the money previously offered by Sky Sports),[51] the 10 non-Old Firm clubs confirmed their resignation from the SPL in August 2002, citing discontent with the league's 11–1 voting procedure which effectively gave the Old Firm clubs a veto over attempts to change SPL rules.[52] The ten clubs withdrew their resignations in January 2003 after an agreement was reached to change the voting procedures and to change the distribution of TV revenue.[53]

With BBC Scotland's television contract due to expire after the 2003–04 season, the SPL agreed a new television deal with Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports in February 2004 in a four-year deal worth £54m.[54] In June 2008, it was announced that a further four-year deal would commence for the 2010/11 season, with the deal worth £125m.[55]

Setanta lost the rights to show live SPL games in the United Kingdom as they were unable to pay the £3 million they owed to the SPL.[56] The SPL then agreed a deal with ESPN and Sky Sports worth £13 million per season to the clubs.[56] This is comparable to the deal which Setanta previously had in place,[56] but it was around half of the amount that Setanta would have been paying from 2010.[57] The Old Firm criticised the decision of nine of the other SPL clubs to accept that offer from Setanta, instead of taking an alternative package from Sky that would have been worth significantly more than the deal signed after Setanta went into administration.[57]

BBC Scotland's Sportscene currently own the rights to broadcast highlights of each game first on terrestrial TV. The BBC also hold the rights to show on-line internet highlights to UK users for one week after each game. BBC Alba, launched in September 2008, show one full SPL game every Saturday evening for two seasons. The games are broadcast three hours after the game has ended. The SPL is broadcast in Australia by Setanta Oz and in the USA by Setanta Sports North America.[58]

International television

The SPL is available to view in the following countries around the world.

  • Australia – Setanta Sports
  • Canada – Setanta Sports
  • France – Ma Chaîne Sport
  • Norway – TV2 (only Old Firm games)
  • Poland – TVP Sport
  • Russia – Tелеканал Футбол
  • Sweden – Viasat Sport and TV10


Radio broadcasting rights are currently held by BBC Radio Scotland, who have held the rights since the SPL's inception in 1998.[59] BBC Radio Scotland also provide internet webcasts to all Scottish Premier League matches, having became the first broadcaster to introduce such a service in June 2000.[60] However Old Firm games are broadcast when available on BBC Radio 5 Live and also on 102.5 Clyde 1.

SPL clubs

SPL members for 2011–12

Dundee United
St. Johnstone
St. Mirren

Locations of the current SPL teams in Scotland [v · d · e]

The following twelve clubs will compete in the Scottish Premier League during the 2011–12 season:

Club Position in 2010–11 First season in
top division
First season of current
spell in top division
Last title
Aberdeen[note 1][note 2] 9th 1905–06 1905–06 1984–85
Celtic[note 1][note 2] 2nd 1890–91 1890–91 2007–08
Dundee United[note 1][note 2] 4th 1925–26 1996–97 1982–83
Dunfermline Athletic 1st, First Division 2011–12
Heart of Midlothian[note 1][note 2] 3rd 1890–91 1983–84 1959–60
Hibernian 10th 1895–96 1999–2000 1951–52
Inverness CT 7th 2004–05 2010–11
Kilmarnock[note 1][note 2] 5th 1899–1900 1992–93 1964–65
Motherwell[note 1][note 2] 6th 1903–04 1985–86 1931–32
Rangers[note 1][note 2] 1st (Champions) 1890–91 1890–91 2010–11
St. Johnstone[note 1] 8th 1924–25 2009–10
St. Mirren 11th 1890–91 2006–07

Former SPL members

These are previous members of the SPL in reverse order of them losing membership.

in 2010–11
First season
in top division
Last season in
top division
Last title
Hamilton 12th, SPL 1906–07 2010–11
Falkirk 3rd, First Division 1905–06 2009–10
Gretna N/A[note 3] 2007–08 2007–08
Livingston 1st, Second Division 2001–02 2005–06
Dundee[note 1] 6th, First Division 1893–94 2004–05 1961–62
Partick Thistle 5th, First Division 1897–98 2003–04

St. Mirren, Inverness CT and Dunfermline Athletic are the only clubs to have been promoted into the SPL twice. Dunfermline Athletic are also the only club to have been relegated twice from the SPL.


Celtic Park, the SPL's biggest stadium by capacity
Stadium Capacity Club Notes
Celtic Park 60,832 Celtic The biggest club stadium in Scotland by seating capacity.[61]
Ibrox Stadium 51,082 Rangers
Pittodrie Stadium 22,199 Aberdeen The first all-seater stadium in the United Kingdom.[62]
Easter Road 20,421 Hibernian
Rugby Park 18,128 Kilmarnock
Tynecastle Stadium 17,420 Heart of Midlothian
Tannadice Park 14,209 Dundee United
Fir Park 13,742 Motherwell
East End Park 12,509 Dunfermline Athletic
McDiarmid Park 10,673 St. Johnstone First purpose built all seater stadium in Scotland.[63]
St. Mirren Park 8,016 St. Mirren
Caledonian Stadium 7,819 Inverness C.T.

Club managers

The following is a list of the current managers in the SPL. The list is arranged chronologically by appointment.

Manager Club Appointed
Scotland Jim McIntyre[note 4] Dunfermline Athletic 3 January 2008
England Terry Butcher Inverness Caledonian Thistle 27 January 2009
Scotland Peter Houston Dundee United 23 December 2009
Northern Ireland Neil Lennon Celtic 25 March 2010
Northern Ireland Danny Lennon St Mirren 7 June 2010
Scotland Craig Brown Aberdeen 10 December 2010
Scotland Stuart McCall Motherwell 30 December 2010
Northern Ireland Kenny Shiels Kilmarnock 31 March 2011
Scotland Ally McCoist Rangers 16 May 2011
Portugal Paulo Sérgio Heart of Midlothian 2 August 2011
Northern Ireland Steve Lomas St. Johnstone 3 November 2011
Vacant Hibernian



Season Winner Runner-up Relegated Top Scorer Players' Player of the Year Writers' Player of the Year
1998–99 Rangers Celtic Dunfermline Athletic Henrik Larsson 29 (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic)
1999–2000 Rangers Celtic No Relegation Mark Viduka 25 (Celtic) Mark Viduka (Celtic) Barry Ferguson (Rangers)
2000–01 Celtic Rangers St. Mirren Henrik Larsson 35 (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic) Henrik Larsson (Celtic)
2001–02 Celtic Rangers St. Johnstone Henrik Larsson 29 (Celtic) Lorenzo Amoruso (Rangers) Paul Lambert (Celtic)
2002–03 Rangers Celtic No Relegation Henrik Larsson 28 (Celtic) Barry Ferguson (Rangers) Barry Ferguson (Rangers)
2003–04 Celtic Rangers Partick Thistle Henrik Larsson 30 (Celtic) Chris Sutton (Celtic) Jackie McNamara (Celtic)
2004–05 Rangers Celtic Dundee John Hartson 25 (Celtic) John Hartson (Celtic) /
Fernando Ricksen (Rangers)
John Hartson (Celtic)
2005–06 Celtic Heart of Midlothian Livingston Kris Boyd 32 (15 – Kilmarnock, 17 – Rangers) Shaun Maloney (Celtic) Craig Gordon (Hearts)
2006–07 Celtic Rangers Dunfermline Athletic Kris Boyd 20 (Rangers) Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic) Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic)
2007–08 Celtic Rangers Gretna Scott McDonald 25 (Celtic) Aiden McGeady (Celtic) Carlos Cuéllar (Rangers)
2008–09 Rangers Celtic Inverness CT Kris Boyd 27 (Rangers) Scott Brown (Celtic) Gary Caldwell (Celtic)
2009–10 Rangers Celtic Falkirk Kris Boyd 23 (Rangers) Steven Davis (Rangers) David Weir (Rangers)
2010–11 Rangers Celtic Hamilton Academical Kenny Miller 21 (Rangers) Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic)

All-time SPL table

This table is a cumulative record of all SPL matches played since the inception of the league in 1998. The table is accurate from the 1998–99 season to the end of the 2010–11 season, inclusive.[64] Teams highlighted in bold are current members of the Premier League.

1 Celtic 13 490 358 72 60 1128 397 +731 1146 2.339 6 7
2 Rangers 13 490 338 88 64 1073 390 +683 1102 2.249 7 5 1
3 Hearts 13 490 203 121 166 648 578 +70 730 1.49 1 5 1
4 Kilmarnock 13 490 167 119 204 589 697 −108 620 1.265 3
5 Aberdeen 13 490 168 114 208 574 698 −124 618 1.261 1 4
6 Hibernian 12 454 162 113 179 623 642 −19 599 1.319 2 2
7 Motherwell 13 490 159 115 216 592 744 −152 592 1.208 1 1
8 Dundee United 13 490 146 137 207 561 733 −172 575 1.173 1 1
9 Dunfermline 8 302 78 79 145 295 483 −188 313 1.036 1
10 Dundee 7 262 80 61 121 308 412 −104 301 1.149
11 Inverness CT 6 228 74 59 95 274 297 −23 281 1.232
12 St. Johnstone 6 224 62 65 97 219 304 −85 251 1.121 1
13 St. Mirren 6 228 50 61 117 191 335 −144 211 0.925
14 Falkirk 5 190 51 48 91 197 277 −80 201 1.058
15 Livingston 5 190 48 45 97 205 306 −101 189 0.995 1
16 Hamilton Academical 3 114 30 26 58 93 158 −65 116 1.018
17 Partick Thistle 2 76 14 19 43 76 125 −49 61 0.803
18 Gretna[note 5] 1 38 5 8 25 32 83 −51 13 0.342

P = Position; Ssn = Number of seasons; Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points; Ppg = Points per game

Top scorers

Former Kilmarnock and Rangers player Kris Boyd has scored the most goals in the SPL, with 164 goals.[65] He broke the previous record of 158, set by Henrik Larsson, by scoring five goals for Rangers in a 7–1 win against Dundee United on 30 December 2009. Boyd and Larsson are the only players to have scored more than 100 goals in the SPL, which started in the inaugural 1998–99 season. There are players who have scored far more goals in the predecessor Scottish Football League competition, with Jimmy McGrory and Bob McPhail each scoring more than 300 goals in the top flight of Scottish football.[66]

Top 10 SPL scorers

Kris Boyd, the SPL's top all-time goalscorer
As of 22:29, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Rank Player Club(s)[note 6] Goals
1 Kris Boyd Kilmarnock (2001–2006)
Rangers (2006–2010)
2 Henrik Larsson[note 7] Celtic (1998–2004) 158
3 Derek Riordan[note 7] Hibernian (2001–2006)
Celtic (2006–2008)
Hibernian (2008–2011)
4 Scott McDonald Motherwell (2004–2007)
Celtic (2007–2010)
5 John Hartson Celtic (2001–2006) 88
6 Kenny Miller[note 7] Hibernian (1999–2000)
Rangers (2000–2001)
Celtic (2006–2007)
Rangers (2008–2011)
7 Nacho Novo[note 7] Dundee (2002–2004)
Rangers (2004–2010)
8 Stevie Crawford[note 7] Dunfermline Athletic (2000–2004)
Dundee United (2005)
Aberdeen (2005–2006)
Dunfermline Athletic (2006–2007)
Chris Sutton Celtic (2000–2006)
10 Colin Nish[note 7] Kilmarnock (2003–2008)
Hibernian (2008–2011)

Records and awards

As of 19:26, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Biggest home win
Celtic 9–0 Aberdeen (2010–11)[64]
Biggest away win
St. Johnstone 0–7 Rangers (1998–99)[64]
Dunfermline Athletic 1–8 Celtic (2005–06)[64]
Most goals in a game
Motherwell 6–6 Hibernian (2009–2010)[64]
Most consecutive wins
Celtic, 25, 2003–04[64]
Most consecutive games unbeaten
Celtic, 32, 2003–04[64]
Most consecutive defeats
Partick Thistle, 10, 2003–04[64]
Most consecutive games without a win
Hamilton Academical, 22, 2010–11
Most consecutive games without scoring a goal
Dunfermline Athletic, 9, 2006–07[64]
Most points in a season
Celtic, 103 points, 2001–02[64]
Fewest points in a season
Gretna, 13 points, 2007–08[64][note 8]
Most goals scored in a season
Celtic, 105 goals, 2003–04[64]
Fewest goals scored in a season
St. Johnstone, 23 goals, 2010–11[64]
Most goals conceded in a season
Aberdeen, 83 goals, 1999–00[64]
Gretna, 83 goals, 2007–08[64]
Fewest goals conceded in a season
Celtic, 18 goals, 2001–02[64]
Most wins in a season
Celtic, 33, 2001–02[64]
Fewest wins in a season
Dunfermline Athletic, 4, 1998–99[64]
Livingston, 4, 2005–06[64]
Fewest defeats in a season
Celtic, 1, 2001–02[64]
Most defeats in a season
Livingston, 28, 2005–06[64]
Most draws in a season
Dunfermline Athletic, 16, 1998–99[64]
Fewest home defeats in a season
Celtic, 0, 2001–02 and 2002–03[64]
Rangers, 0, 2009–10[64]
Fewest away defeats in a season
Celtic, 0, 2003–04[64]
Fewest home wins in a season
Hamilton Academical, 1, 2010–11[64]
Fewest away wins in a season
Dunfermline Athletic, 0, 1998–99[64]
Youngest player
Scott Robinson, for Hearts vs Inverness CT, &1000000000000001600000016 years, &1000000000000004500000045 days[67]
Youngest goalscorer
Fraser Fyvie, for Aberdeen vs Heart of Midlothian, &1000000000000001600000016 years, &10000000000000306000000306 days[67]
Oldest player
Andy Millen, for St. Mirren vs Hearts, 42 years 279 days, 15 March 2008[67]
Most goals in a season
Henrik Larsson (Celtic), 35 goals, 2000–01[67]
Fastest goal
Anthony Stokes, 12.4 seconds, Hibernian 1–4 Rangers, 27 December 2009[67]
All-time top scorer
Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock and Rangers), 164 goals[67]
Most hat-tricks
Henrik Larsson (Celtic), 12[67]
Hat-tricks in consecutive games
Henrik Larsson (Celtic), 2000–01[67]
Anthony Stokes (Falkirk), 2006–07[67]
Most goals in a game
Kenny Miller, 5, Rangers v St. Mirren, 4 November 2000[67]
Kris Boyd, 5, Kilmarnock v Dundee United, 25 September 2004[67]
Kris Boyd, 5, Rangers v Dundee United, 30 December 2009[67]
Most consecutive clean sheets
Robert Douglas, Celtic, 7 games, 2000–01[67]
Most clean sheets in a season
Fraser Forster and Łukasz Załuska, Celtic, 23 games, 2010–11[68]
Most SPL appearances
Scott Severin, 345 (correct to the end of the 2010–11 season)
Highest attendance
60,440, Celtic v St. Mirren, 7 April 2001[69]
Lowest attendance
431, Gretna v Inverness CT, 5 April 2008[69]
Highest average attendance
59,369, Celtic, 2000–01[69]
Lowest average attendance
2,283, Gretna, 2007–08[69]
Highest transfer fee paid
Tore André Flo, from Chelsea to Rangers, £12m, 23 November 2000[70]
Highest transfer fee received
Aiden McGeady, from Celtic to Spartak Moscow, £9.5m, 13 August 2010[71]
Highest transfer fee between two SPL clubs
Scott Brown, from Hibernian to Celtic, £4.4m, 1 June 2007[72]

The following clubs have won Programme of the Year:[73][74]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Founding member of the Scottish Premier League
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Played in every Scottish Premier League season
  3. ^ Gretna F.C. went out of business following the 2007–08 season. A new club called Gretna 2008 was set up in its place and entered the East of Scotland Football League.
  4. ^ Manager was appointed when club was playing in the Scottish Football League
  5. ^ Gretna were deducted 10 points for going into administration in the 2007–08 season.
  6. ^ Clubs only include those where players scored goals in the Scottish Premier League.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Player also scored goal(s) in the Scottish Football League.
  8. ^ Gretna's points total would have been 23 points without a 10 point administration penalty they received. The lowest points total without such a penalty is 18 points, which was recorded by Livingston in 2005–06.


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  33. ^ "Pars players face wage cuts". BBC Sport. 2 February 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  34. ^ "Rangers to raise £57m". BBC Sport. 1 September 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  35. ^ "'Well end administration". BBC Sport. 20 April 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  36. ^ "Dundee to enter new era". BBC Sport. 5 August 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  37. ^ "Livingston out of administration". BBC Sport. 13 May 2005. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  38. ^ a b "SPL continues economic recovery". BBC Sport. 3 October 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  39. ^ a b "Hearts buck debt reduction trend". BBC Sport. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2008. 
  40. ^ "Profits on the up for SPL clubs". BBC Sport. 27 August 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
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