Celtic host 29 April Old Firm derby against Rangers

Celtic will host Rangers in the final Old Firm derby of the season
Celtic will host Rangers in the final Old Firm derby of the season

Runaway leaders Celtic and reigning champions Rangers will have their final meeting of the season on 29 April, two games after the league splits into two.

Celtic, who need one point to secure the Scottish Premier League title, will host the final Old Firm derby of the season with a 1245 BST kick-off.

It follows the publishing by the SPL of the final set of five fixtures after it splits into two sections of six teams.

Hibernian host relegation rivals Dunfermline Athletic on 7 May.

St Johnstone are the team to miss out on their fair share of home games having qualified for the top six for the first time since returning to the top flight.

Saints will have played 16 home games after Saturday's visit of Inverness and have only two more at McDiarmid Park - against Dundee United and Rangers.

That means a third visit to Fir Park this season for the Perth side, who are five points behind third-placed Motherwell.

Every other team will have 19 home and away games apart from Kilmarnock, who get an extra match at Rugby Park after slipping out of the top six this season.

SPL secretary Iain Blair said it was "simply impossible" to ensure 19 home games for all clubs.

Hibs are above Dunfermline in the relegation battle
Hibs are above Dunfermline in the relegation battle

"Various versions of the round 34-38 fixture list are produced and we then select the one that provides the best fit overall," he said.

"In line with previous seasons, all clubs will finish the season either home/away or away/home.

"We try to achieve as balanced a fixture list as possible. Also, among the things we look at is what has happened in previous years.

"For example, Kilmarnock had only 18 home games in 2006-07 but will gain a home game this season. St Johnstone are losing a home game but they have gained one in the past."

Blair revealed the Old Firm date was chosen following consultation between the clubs, the SPL and the police.

Celtic can secure the title at Kilmarnock this weekend in the final match before the league splits in two and the Glasgow side are then away to Motherwell.

The battle for European qualification places culminates with Motherwell facing Dundee United at Fir Park on 13 May, while Saints host Rangers and Hearts travel to Celtic Park.

Hibs are currently six points ahead of Dunfermline, whose final match is at home to Kilmarnock, while the Edinburgh side are at Inverness, having won there twice already this term.

St Johnstone also face a third match at Celtic Park but host Rangers and Dundee United for a third time.

The fixtures have thrown up a Thursday night fixture, with Celtic hosting St Johnstone on 3 May - 24 hours after Rangers play Dundee United at Ibrox.

"In the regular season, Celtic/Rangers and Hearts/Hibernian always play at home on alternate weekends but, given the many constraints when compiling the post-split fixtures, it is sometimes impossible to avoid a city clash," Blair added.

"With both Celtic and Rangers at home in the midweek of 2 May, it forced us to switch one game to the Thursday.

"Tuesday was ruled out due to the Old Firm game the previous Sunday."

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