The Scottish Premiership, also known as the Ladbrokes Premiership, is the highest level of professional men’s football in Scotland.
It is the top division of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), which currently maintains four divisions composed of 42 teams; the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Championship, Scottish League One and Scottish League Two.
The SPFL is a very young league, operating since only July of 2013, and is the result of mergers between previously distinct football leagues in Scotland, the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League.
The Scottish Premiership is home to only 12 teams, which is comparatively lower to other top-flight football divisions such as the English Premier League and La Liga, who maintain twenty teams at a given time in their league.
As such its relegation system, as the bottom team at the end of the season is relegated to the Scottish Championship, and the winner of the Scottish Championship is promoted to the Scottish Premiership.
Winners of the Scottish Premiership are those who end up with the most points at the end of the season, and if ties exist, it is determined first by goal difference, then number of goals scored.
In cases like this, playoffs will occur. This is also the case for the bottom end of the league, to determine who is to be relegated amongst teams at the bottom.
Its structure is also noticeably different, operating in two ‘phases’, the first of 33 games where each team plays against the other teams three times each. The second phase involves splitting the league up into two halves, top and bottom six, who each then go onto verse the other teams one time each.
The points system is still the same during the second phase, but a team in the bottom six cannot end up above a team in the top six, even if they end up with more points than the latter after the second phase is completed.
UEFA, at the end of the 2018-2019 season, placed the Scottish Premiership as 19th in European football, giving them a single UEFA Champions League spot and three for the UEFA Europa League. Naturally, the winner of the league qualifies for the Champions League position, and the top three for the UEFA Europa League.
The only Scottish team to have made it into the Champions League, since the formation of the Scottish Premiership, is Celtic, who have won the domestic league every time.
There is significant financial disparity between the teams in the Scottish Premiership; it was estimated (in 2017) that on average, players for Celtic earn £735,040 annually, whereas Hamilton, who offered its players the lowest amount for that year, was only £41,488, over 17 times less than Celtic’s offering.
Hence, the very one-sided dominance demonstrated by Celtic throughout the league’s history. For greater context, of the 18 leagues surveyed in 2017, the Scottish Premiership was third lowest in terms of how much players were paid.
16 teams in total have competed in the Scottish Premiership.
Watch Scottish Premiership NZ
Currently the rights are held by Bein Sports which costs $19.99/mo.
In the UK the rights are held by Sky Sports (30 matches) and BT Sports (30 matches). The best way is on BBC Alba which offers 38 delayed matches on Saturday evenings (Sunday morning NZT) as well as 6 live matches. BBC Scotland available via the iPlayer offers highlights shows every weekend.
A premium VPN service such as PureVPN.com and their UK servers can unlock BBC from anywhere in the world including New Zealand. You can then watch FREE full coverage on the BBC iPlayer. We’ve done an extensive guide on unlocking the iPlayer here.
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Aelwyn is based in the UK and has a masters in security. He’s studied further in the United States while working for companies such as Google and Cisco. He loves rugby and has played professionally too.