Scottish Premiership finale - Rangers records and play-off battle

Will Steven Gerrard's Rangers finish the Scottish Premiership 2020/21 league campaign unbeaten? Watch Rangers vs Aberdeen on Saturday live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football from 12pm; kick-off 12:30pm

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 02: Alfredo Morelos celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1 during a Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Park, on May 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Rangers have won the league but will they stay unbeaten?

The Scottish Premiership 2020/21 season is reaching its conclusion but what's still to be decided?

Rangers... Invincibles and Centurions?

Rangers have waited a decade for Scottish Premiership glory and James Tavernier will finally lift a long-awaited trophy aloft after their season finale against Aberdeen on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

A momentous occasion awaits but will Steven Gerrard's players finish the campaign unbeaten in the league?

By avoiding defeat in their final fixture, the 2021 champions will become one of just three teams in Scottish history to go through a league campaign unbeaten.

Gerrard's side will be keen to finish as Centurions as well as Invincibles - a draw from their remaining fixture would do it.

With a current 23-point advantage, Rangers are on course to finish the season with their biggest gap over Celtic in the league, surpassing the 21-point cushion they assembled in the 1999/2000 season.

They have also conceded a paltry 13 league goals this season and if Allan McGregor concedes fewer than five goals in Gers' final game, Rangers will surpass the record of 18 goals conceded by Martin O'Neill's Celtic in 2001/02.

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"The excitement is building but we don't want any hiccups to spoil the good season we've had," said Tavernier. "It would be sweet to go the season unbeaten."

Rangers' James Tavernier celebrates making it 4-0 against Aberdeen at Ibrox 1:06
Rangers captain James Tavernier admits the excitement is building as the team prepares to lift the Scottish Premiership trophy on Saturday

Why fight for fifth could be crucial

Five Scottish sides will qualify for European competition next season, although who plays in which competition is not yet fully confirmed.

Rangers and Celtic have already booked their places in the Champions League, with the champions entering the 2021/22 tournament at the third qualifying stage and runners-up Celtic starting in the second qualifying round.

Hibernian secured third spot behind Rangers and Celtic for the first time since 2005 with victory against the Dons on Wednesday. Aberdeen will finish fourth.

Hibs and Aberdeen are already assured of their places in the new Europa Conference League and will enter at the second qualifying round.

But Hibs could yet play in the Europa League; a place in the play-off round of Europe's second-tier club competition goes to the winners of the Scottish Cup.

If Hibs beat St Johnstone on May 22, they would enter the Europa League and their Europa Conference place would go to whoever finishes fifth in the league - St Johnstone or Livingston, who play each other on the final weekend.

If St Johnstone win the Scottish Cup, Hibs would have to settle for the Europa Conference League.

Who's going down... or coming up?

Hamilton are all-but relegated after defeat to Ross County on Wednesday. They need to beat Kilmarnock on the final day and need a nine-goal win.

Hamilton will swap places with Hearts, who secured automatic promotion to the Scottish Premiership for 2021/22 after winning the Championship.

Kilmarnock's play-off fate is out of their hands, as a draw for Ross County at Motherwell will secure them 10th spot and put Kilmarnock in the play-off relegation place.

The 11th-placed Scottish Premiership club will play the Championship play-off winners over two legs to decide who will take the final spot in next season's top-flight line-up.

Dundee are firmly on course for the Scottish Premiership play-off final after overwhelming Raith Rovers in the semi-final first leg 3-0.

If Dundee see the job through they will meet Kilmarnock or Ross County in another two-legged showdown on May 20 and May 24.

How to follow

Follow the final day Scottish Premiership action with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Free match highlights from each game will be available on Sky Sports' digital platforms.

Rangers vs Aberdeen - including the trophy lift - is live on Sky Sports Football on Saturday.


Final-round fixtures

Sat May 15: Rangers vs Aberdeen - kick-off 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Football

Team news: James Tavernier will lead out Rangers for the final time this season as the Ibrox skipper prepares to receive the Premiership trophy following Saturday's clash with Aberdeen.

But fellow full-back Borna Barisic is destined to miss out on the fixture after failing to shake off his thigh strain.

Scott Arfield (ankle) could make an appearance if he can prove his fitness before kick-off.

However, Filip Helander (knee), Ryan Jack (calf), Leon Balogun (Achilles) and Nikola Katic (knee) remain out, along with suspended trio Nathan Patterson, Bongani Zungu and Calvin Bassey.

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass has no fresh injuries for the trip to Ibrox.

Joe Lewis (rib), Ross McCrorie (ankle), Ash Taylor (knock), Greg Leigh (hamstring) and Michael Devlin (ankle) remain out.

Sat May 15: Hibernian vs Celtic - kick-off 12.30pm

Team news: Ofir Marciano will return in goal for Hibernian as he starts his final game at Easter Road against Celtic on Saturday.

The departing Israeli sat out the midweek win over Aberdeen on compassionate grounds after his pregnant wife saw a flight to Tel Aviv - where she was due to give birth - turned back to Germany amid rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip.

Boss Jack Ross is looking forward to giving some of his fringe men a run out against the Hoops as he prepares his squad for next week's Scottish Cup final. Chris Cadden (back) and Sean Mackie (thigh) remain out.

Interim Celtic boss John Kennedy has promised to make a couple of changes for the final game of the season as skipper Scott Brown prepares to make his own Hoops farewell.

The former Scotland captain will join Aberdeen this summer in a player-coach capacity after 14 years and 22 trophies with the Parkhead club.

Goalkeeper Scott Bain is battling back from a finger injury while defender Christopher Jullien is out long term with a knee injury.

Sat May 15: St Johnstone vs Livingston - kick-off 12.30pm

Team news: St Johnstone will have several players back from self-isolation when they take on Livingston in the Scottish Premiership fifth-placed decider.

Saints will still have some players out because of Covid-19 after eight missed the midweek defeat by Celtic.

Scott Tanser (ankle) remains absent but has half a chance of being fit for the Scottish Cup final.

Livingston have no fresh injury worries for the trip to Perth.

Robby McCrorie is set to remain out with a niggle.

Gavin Reilly is back running after a hamstring injury but his season is over, while Keaghan Jacobs and Steve Lawson remain sidelined with foot injuries.

Sun May 16: Hamilton vs Kilmarnock - kick-off 12pm

Team news: Hamilton boss Brian Rice has a couple of players with bumps and bruises ahead of the final Premiership game of the season against Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Ronan Hughes returns from suspension.

Ryan Fulton (knee), Scott Martin (leg), Marios Ogkmpoe (hamstring), Andy Winter (knee), Shaun Want (thigh) and David Templeton (groin) are all still out.

Kilmarnock have reported no fresh injury problems.

Nicke Kabamba is back running after a hamstring injury but is not expected to feature again even if Killie's season is extended into the play-offs.

The visitors need to win and hope Ross County lose to avoid the play-offs.

Sun May 16: Motherwell vs Ross County - kick-off 12pm

Team news: Motherwell will assess Allan Campbell's ankle injury ahead of the Scottish Premiership clash with Ross County.

The midfielder may have played his final game for Motherwell after rolling his ankle early in the midweek draw with Dundee United.

There will be no comebacks for Motherwell's long-term absentees. Liam Grimshaw (illness), Eddie Nolan (calf), plus Harry Smith, Sherwin Seedorf, Jordan Roberts, Trevor Carson and Liam Donnelly (all knee) are out.

Ross County boss John Hughes hopes defenders Leo Hjelde and Alex Iacovitti will be fit for the trip to Lanarkshire.

Both players picked up knocks in the win over Hamilton on Wednesday night.

Connor Randall (thigh strain), Callum Morris and Tom Grivosti (both hamstring) remain out.

Sun May 16: St Mirren vs Dundee United - kick-off 12pm

Team news: Eamonn Brophy returns to the St Mirren squad for their final Scottish Premiership clash with Dundee United.

The striker could not face parent club Kilmarnock before making his loan move permanent.

Teenager Dylan Reid could be back after his school exams.

Dundee United will be without defender Mark Connolly after he suffered a serious knee injury.

The centre-back is facing months on the sidelines after snapping his cruciate ligament near the end of Wednesday's draw with Motherwell.

Peter Pawlett and Florent Hoti are also doubts after picking up a knocks against Well while Benjamin Siegrist (broken wrist), Dillon Powers (concussion) and Declan Glass (knee) are long-term absentees.

Scottish Premiership finale - key stats

  • Hibernian are without a win in their last seven Scottish Premiership matches against Celtic (D4 L3) and have failed to score in four of those encounters. The last time Hibs beat the Bhoys in the league was 2-0 at Easter Road in December 2018 under Neil Lennon.
  • Celtic are without a win in their last four Scottish Premiership matches away from Celtic Park (D2 L2) and the Bhoys are searching for their first away league victory under caretaker manager John Kennedy (P3 D2 L1). The last time Celtic went more than four away matches without a victory in the league was between February and May 2013 under Neil Lennon (run of 6).
  • Rangers remain unbeaten in this season's Scottish Premiership (P37 W31 D6 L0), and could become the second side in the last five seasons to go an entire campaign without losing in the competition after Celtic did so in 2016-17 (P38 W34 D4 L0).
  • Livingston have won three of their last five Scottish Premiership matches against St. Johnstone (L2), keeping a clean sheet in two of those victories.
  • Kilmarnock are looking for their first points on the road in 2021. Since the turn of the year, Killie have lost all seven of their Scottish Premiership matches away from Rugby Park and failed to score in six of those matches.
  • Ross County have lost four of their last five visits to Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership (W1), failing to score in three. The Staggies' only victory in that run came in September 2019 (2-1).
  • Six of Dundee United's last nine visits to St. Mirren in the Scottish top-flight have ended in draws (W2 L1), including the two most recent such encounters.

Scottish Premiership play-off fixtures and results

Tues May 4: Quarter-final first leg - Dunfermline 0-0 Raith Rovers

Sat May 8: Quarter-final second leg - Raith Rovers 2-0 Dunfermline

Wed May 12: Semi-final first leg - Raith Rovers 0-3 Dundee

Sat May 15: Semi-final second leg - Dundee vs Raith Rovers - kick-off 7.45pm

Thurs May 20: Final first leg - Dundee or Raith Rovers vs Kilmarnock or Ross County

Mon May 24: Final second leg - Kilmarnock or Ross County vs Dundee or Raith Rovers

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