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The Start of the Scottish Premiership

The Scottish Premiership, the elite division of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) was founded in 2013 when the Scottish Football League and the Scottish Premier League (SPL) joined forces to create the new division. The Scottish Premier League had previously been operating since 1998 and before that the Scottish Football League had started in 1890. In all competitions the vast majority of titles have gone to Rangers and Celtic.

The formation of the Scottish Premier League in 1998 was a key moment in the path to the Premiership. The Premier League teams had broken away from the Scottish Football League. The number of clubs in the top division went up to 12 and a part-season split was introduced between the top and bottom half of the division.

In 2013 the rebranded Premiership came into existence. Ranked 11th in the UEFA league coefficent, the league feeds into the Champions League, Europa League and other UEFA tournaments. Teams from the Premiership have often struggled in Europe in recent years against teams from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga.

Top Scottish Premiership Teams inc. Rangers and Celtic

Celtic have won the Scottish Premiership every season since it started in 2013/14 until the 2020/21 season. The Celtic Park club started where they had left off in the Scottish Premier League where they won the last two editions. Celtic have now won the title in the Scottish top flight 51 times. No team other than Celtic or Rangers have won the Scottish top flight title since 1983/84.

When Rangers won the title in 2020/21 it was their 55th triumph and their first since the 2010/11 season, putting them four titles ahead of Celtic FC. The 10 seasons between their titles were particularly traumatic for the Ibrox Stadium Club. The club, one of the biggest in the United Kingdom suffered the ignomy of being demoted due to liquidation, and were accepted into the Scottish Third Division. With a one-year transfer ban they had to start from scratch. 

Taking huge crowds with them wherever they went, Rangers fought their way back through the divisions. Reduced to playing the top teams in the Scottish Cup competitions, the Scottish FA Cup or the League Cup, Rangers were soon back in the Premiership for the 2016/17 season to renew the Glasgow rivalry with Celtic. The Old Firm was back.

Other Scottish title winners include Aberdeen (including the last non-Rangers or Celtic title in 1983/84 on 4), Hearts (4), Dumbarton (2), Dundee United (1), Kilmarnock (1), Dundee (1), Motherwell (1), Third Lanark (1) and Hibernian (1).

Rangers v Celtic is not the only huge derby in Scotland though, Dundee v Dundee United and Hibernian v Hearts in Edinburgh are all big draw football matches in their respective areas. 

The 2020/21 Scottish Premiership Season

Rangers claimed the title in the 2020/21 Scottish Premiership. Coached by ex-Liverpool great Steven Gerrard they claimed the title by a 25 point margin over Celtic, leaving them with six matchdays at the end of the season to enjoy their guaranteed success. The season, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic saw some inspired performances by Rangers. An 8-0 home victory against Hamilton Academical in November showed the rest of the league that Rangers were a serious force again. With a massive final goal difference of plus 79 they only conceded 13 goals all season.

Celtic finished runners-up in an incredibly disappointing season for the Bhoys. So disappointing that manager Neil Lennon resigned in February 2021 and John Kennedy took over on an interim basis. It was too late to make a dent in the lead that Rangers held.

Hibernian, Aberdeen and St Johnstone finished in the next three spots to also secure qualification for the qualifying rounds of the Europa or Conference Leagues.

Kilmarnock and Hamilton Academical were relegated to be replaced by Hearts and Dundee for the 2021/22 season.

They were joined by Livingston, St Mirren, Motherwell, Dundee United and Ross County football clubs who retained their place in the top flight.

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