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Omicron spread results in Scottish football's Premiership shutting down as winter break brought forward but all other SPFL clubs including Caley Thistle, Cove Rangers and Elgin City will continue games and Highland League is set to follow

By Craig Christie

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SCOTTISH Premiership clubs will close down for the winter after Boxing Day, but the rest of the Scottish Professional Football League will continue playing.


It means that matches like the Glasgow derby between Celtic and Rangers on January 2 will be shelved until February, while fixtures like Elgin City's home game against Forfar Athletic will go ahead.

Highland League games are also set to continue with increased protocol likely to be implemented.

All clubs in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 will play in front of attendances no more than 500 people after the lower leagues voted to carry on playing under Government restrictions on crowds.

The Premiership sides will have two matches postponed after agreeing to bring the winter break forward.

The SPFL will switch Premiership games scheduled for Wednesday, December 29, Saturday, January 2 and Sunday, January 3 to January 17 and 18, and February 1 and 2 respectively.

Matches in all four divisions scheduled for Boxing Day will still go ahead with no limitation on attendances.

After that, the top tier will stop playing and all other divisions carry on with a maximum crowd of 500, one-metre social distances and other Covid protocol in place which will be detailed to supporters over the festive period.

Highland League officials are set for talks with the Scottish FA and it is understood that a league management committee will be held on Thursday to outline the discussions.

SPFL clubs are currently conducting daily testing and Highland League clubs may have to increase their own testing regime.

The Highland League operated for part of last season with capped attendances and social distancing in grounds and restrictions on changing facilities.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive, said: “We have had intense and positive discussions with all cinch SPFL clubs over the past 24 hours, since the announcement by the Scottish Government of a three-week period of restrictions on fans attending matches.

“We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar.

“There are mixed views amongst cinch Premiership clubs about what to do for the best.

“However, a majority favour the postponement of fixtures to give a chance for games scheduled to be played over the festive period to be played in front of fans, once the three-week period of restrictions comes to an end.

“The SPFL Board has agreed to postpone the 29 December and New Year cinch Premiership fixture cards.

“cinch Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs voted to continue playing through the Government restrictions and we look forward to their festive fixtures over the next fortnight.

“We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sky Sports and Police Scotland for their flexibility in accommodating these changes and to all cinch SPFL clubs for their clear, positive and constructive feedback as we work together to get through the challenges posed by Covid-19.”

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