Celtic Begin SPL Defence Against Aberdeen

Champions Celtic will kick-off the defence of their Clydesdale Bank Premier League title with a home meeting with Aberdeen.

Craig Brown`s men head to Parkhead on August 4 to take on Neil Lennon`s runaway winners - their eventual margin of success being 20 points, although that was in some part down to the off-field problems at bitter rivals Rangers.

The Ibrox club`s finances have exploded financially over the last six months and they were eventually liquidated last week. New owner Charles Green is attempting to secure the club`s status in the top flight but, with that not yet a certainty, `Club 12` takes its place on a strange-looking fixture list. Assuming Rangers do fill that gap they will head to Kilmarnock first up. If not, that task will fall to relegated Dunfermline or First Division runners-up Dundee.

New boys Ross County start out with a home meeting with Champions League-bound Motherwell, while managerless Hearts are at home to St Johnstone and St Mirren play host to Inverness. Dundee United are at home to Hibernian the following day.

There is an early Edinburgh derby on August 11 with Hearts heading to Hibernian in a cup final repeat, while Ross will get the first of Celtic`s money-spinning visits on August 18. 

Should Rangers take their place in the top flight then the first Old Firm game would take place at Parkhead on September 22, with another, potentially at Ibrox, on Boxing Day. The other festive fixtures pit Dundee United against St Johnstone, Hibernian against Ross County and Kilmarnock against Hearts, while Aberdeen go to Motherwell and St Mirren make the trip to Inverness. 

In the last game before the season makes its traditional split - this time on April 6 - Celtic are at home to Hibernian, Dundee United host Aberdeen, Ross County go to Hearts and `Club 12` are at Kilmarnock. Motherwell take on St Mirren and Inverness play St Johnstone.