SPL defend Christmas Eve games

18 June 2011 10:36
Scottish Premier League secretary Iain Blair has urged fans to embrace the opportunity to watch their teams in action on Christmas Eve.[LNB] The SPL fixtures were released on Friday and revealed that top-flight matches are set to be played on December 24 this year.[LNB]Blair knows the plan is likely to be met with mixed views but felt the weekend slot was preferable to evening games at other stages in the campaign.[LNB]He said: "December 24 falls on a Saturday and it was felt it was preferable to use this date rather than say a midweek in November or January.[LNB]"Boxing Day was ruled out as there is a full midweek card on December 28 and that would mean clubs playing two matches in three days.[LNB]"We appreciate this might not find favour with everyone but hopefully fans can kick off the Christmas celebrations by watching their team notch up a victory."[LNB]On the prospect of fans having to travel long distances for midweek and festive period matches, Blair added: "Midweek games are less of a problem this season because the early start means there is only one midweek card outside of the Christmas period.[LNB]"In terms of the games around Christmas and New Year, we have done our best to limit tough travel but in a national league, with Aberdeen and Inverness geographically isolated, there is only so much we can do."[LNB]However, Aberdeen have already indicated they will ask the SPL to switch the date of their Christmas Eve visit to Inverness.[LNB]Dons chief executive Duncan Fraser said: "All clubs have been allocated a fixture on Christmas Eve - in our case a trip to Inverness.[LNB]"The SPL I know will look to work with clubs that may seek to bring that game forward and that is something we will try to do nearer the time.[LNB]"I'm sure many of our supporters will baulk at the thought of a game on a day that is traditionally a time for families to be together."[LNB]The opening day of the season sees champions Rangers host Hearts, Celtic travel to Hibernian, Aberdeen face St Johnstone, Inverness make the trip to Motherwell and Dundee United welcome Kilmarnock.[LNB]Newly-promoted Dunfermline mark their return to the SPL with a home game against St Mirren and Paul Gallacher insists there will be no room for sentiment when he faces his former club.[LNB]The goalkeeper parted company with Saints this summer to return to East End Park for his second spell with the Pars, who are back in the top flight following a four-season absence.[LNB]And Gallacher admits the curtain-raiser is a crucial match for the Irn-Bru First Division champions as they bid to kick off the campaign with a victory.[LNB]He told Sky Sports News: "It's a massive game for us but it's one that I'm looking forward to.[LNB]"I'm a Dunfermline player now and I'll be looking to do my best for the club and hopefully we can get a result in that game."

Source: Team_Talk