CELTIC are scheduled to kick off their bid for a record-breaking tenth successive title on August 1.

However, the champions are still awaiting to see who they are due to play while protracted league reconstruction talks continue to dominate Scottish football.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has now indicated to clubs that a 14-10-10-10 set-up could go to a crucial last-ditch vote.

With the top flight brought to a premature halt due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, Neil Lennon’s side, 13 points ahead with eight games to play, were awarded their ninth championship in a row while Hearts were relegated.

Earlier the Hampden bosses had made a decision about the three divisions outwith the Premiership when they handed titles to Dundee United, raith Rovers and Cove Rangers and demoted Partick Thistle and Stranraer.

Ann Budge, owner of the troubled Tynecastle outfit, had pushed for a temporary solution, but it’s now apparent that won’t get enough support to pass.

And a proposal that would see an 18-team League Two with the colt teams from Parkhead and Ibrox is now off the table.

Doncaster has received feedback from 41 of the 42 clubs indicating that a 14-10-10-10 system has “sufficient support” to pass and that plan will be put to an indicative vote ahead of a potential EGM, in a report in the Daily Record.

In a letter to clubs, the Hampden supremo indicated “there is no reasonable prospect of clubs approving a temporary reconstruction solution”.
However, he added “there is sufficient support for a permanent 14-10-10-10 Divisional structure to merit this second stage of consultation”.
That would see Hearts spared relegation with Inverness Caley Thistle joining them and Dundee United in the top division.

Partick Thistle and Stranraer would also avoid the drop with Cove Rangers and Brora Rangers promoted to League Two.

The distribution of SPFL money would be affected by the plans, which would see Premiership clubs give up some of their share for the two extra clubs in the division.

The changes would mean a qualified resolution is required, so 11 of the 12 Premiership clubs have to back it as well as 17 or more clubs from the Premiership and Championship combined and 32 or more SPFL clubs overall.

The proposals will now be put to an indicative vote and potentially an EGM, with ballots for the former to be returned by Monday.

Clubs are being asked to call a meeting within seven days in order to settle fixtures for next season.

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