Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes the club would rightly be declared champions if the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership season is cancelled.
The Scottish FA announced on Friday that all professional and grassroots football under its jurisdiction would be suspended “until further notice”, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes after all of Europe’s top five leagues have suspended their games for at least two weeks, as well as the Football League, MLS, Eredivisie and more.
Coronavirus suspends Scottish football: Five things to know…
- On Friday afternoon the Scottish FA announced that all football under its jurisdiction would be suspended.
- This is to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has already infected footballers across Europe.
- While some leagues have added a provisional return date, the Scottish FA have refused to do so.
- It remains unclear whether leagues in Scotland are to resume or will eventually be cancelled.
- If they are cancelled, Neil Lennon believes Celtic would rightly be awarded the Scottish Premiership title.
While other leagues have offered a provisional return date, the Scottish FA have decided against doing so, with many anticipating coronavirus to affect football for some time.
As a result, questions have been raised over what will happen to the current season. There are hopes that it will be resumed once it is deemed safe to do so, but that would depend on the plans for this summer’s European Championships and whether there is time to continue the season.
The other, extreme, option would be for the season to be cancelled – either voiding the campaign altogether or handing out titles, European places, promotions and relegations based on current standings.
If this were to be the case in Scotland, Celtic would be handed the Scottish Premiership title for the ninth year in a row.
Lennon’s men are currently top of the league, 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers with just eight games remaining, although they have played one match more than their rivals – who they were scheduled to meet on Sunday.
And should the Scottish Premiership season be cancelled, Lennon believes his side would be rightly awarded the title.
“We would be the champions and rightly so,” he said.
“We are 13 points clear. Dundee United (in the Scottish Championship), they would have to be promoted as well.
“Certainly, if you are talking about the Armageddon of the league being cancelled or stopped, it should go on the average points total which would make us clear champions and rightly so.
“We are over 30 games into the season, they are not going to take that away from us.
“Are they going to do that to Liverpool? I would doubt it very much.
“I get your point about Hearts (being relegated) but you have to look at average point per game and take it from there.
“If it was to stop now I would doubt very much that they would say it was null and void.”
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Lennon against “awful” games behind closed doors
Before leagues started to be suspended, some games across Europe were played behind closed doors including Europa League and Champions League ties.
Should domestic football return in April, there are some thoughts that games without fans could be the method to complete seasons without adding to the spread of coronavirus. And although Lennon is not a fan of games being played in empty stadiums, the Celtic boss admitted he would accept it if it needs doing.
“Ideally you’d like to get the fans back in because I’ve watched a couple of games this week behind closed doors and it’s awful,” he added.
“Football without the fans, especially a club of our support and history, you’d want your fans there to back you.
“I’m not a big lover of games behind closed doors but if it’s needs must then so be it.”