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Football 101: An Introduction To "The Beautiful Game". The Scottish Premier League
By STEVEN McMENEMY, MOP Squad Sports Soccer Editor
Feb 5, 2005, 17:29
Scotland is regarded as the land of golf, and its home at St Andrews is a must on any serious players itinerary. Yet even though this is the case the Scottish people have a passion for another sport more than any other.

Yes, in Scotland soccer, or football as it is known in these parts, is the number one sport. The Scots follow the sport with such a passion that their fervour is almost religious (some would say it is religious but thatís another story).

Glasgow Celtic picking up the Scottish Premier League Trophy last year.

The main soccer league in Scotland is the Premier League, which contains the 12 best teams in the land. Over the past 20 years only two clubs have won the league title, Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers.

There are a total of 38 games a season in the league and the league splits into two groups of six after 33 games. The top six play each other again only once and the bottom six also play each other once more. The winner of the league is the team with the most points at the end of these games.

If two teams have the same points total, as happened only 2 years ago, the team with the better goals average is the winner. Goals average is the amount of goals scored minus the amount of goals against.

The bottom team in the league is relegated to a lower division with the top side from that division being promoted to the Premier League for the next season.

The top three teams from each year qualify for European competition, with 1st and 2nd playing Champions League qualifying games, and the 3rd team playing UEFA Cup matches.

As well as the Premier League Trophy there are two other trophies to play for in Scottish tournaments. The Scottish FA Cup is regarded as the 2nd most important prize as it comes with a UEFA Cup place for the winner. The League Cup is 3rd choice trophy and not regarded as anything like as important as the league or Scottish Cup.

The main prize at the start of the season is the Premier League title and this is the one that all the teams covet in Scotland. Unfortunately Celtic and Rangers have monopolised the league title and the most that other teams can realistically hope for is 3rd place.