NEIL LENNON will be able to utilise SIXTEEN players when Hamilton Accies provide the opposition in the Premiership curtain-raiser at Parkhead on Sunday.

For the first time in history, the Hoops boss will be able to make five substitutions in a competitive domestic fixture.

SPFL clubs have approved the use of two extra replacements for the 2020/21 season.

Teams will be able to name a bench of up to nine players, but managers are only allowed to halt play on three separate occasions when making their five substitutions.

The change was recommended to clubs by the SPFL board and is a temporary alteration for the forthcoming campaign to help clubs deal with a more congested schedule.

The SPFL had already approved the use of five subs for next season’s domestic Cup competitions.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “As excitement builds ahead of the return to competitive action this weekend, I am pleased that the Premiership clubs have approved this resolution which was recommended by the board.

“Player welfare was at the forefront of our decision to recommend this change and it is vital that we recognise the additional strain being placed on players as we embark on the 2020/21 season.

“We are preparing similar resolutions for the Scottish Championship, League 1 and League 2 and these will be distributed to the clubs in those divisions in due course.”

The Hoops took maximum points off Accies with wins in Lanarkshire of 1-0 and 4-1 while a stoppage-time goal from skipper Scott Brown gave the champions a 2-1 victory in Glasgow.

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