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Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 16:18 UK

Uefa win triggers delayed climax

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Rangers' run to the Uefa Cup final on 14 May will ensure a controversial, four-day delay to the end of the Scottish Premier League season.

The SPL had produced two sets of fixtures depending on the outcome of Thursday's semi-final.

And Rangers' victory over Fiorentina means that the final league games will now be played on 22 May.

But Gretna will now host Hearts on Tuesday 13 May, while Rangers visit St Mirren Park on Monday 19 May.

Hearts' visit to Fir Park was moved back five days at the request of both clubs.

St Mirren's game against Rangers has been brought forward to accommodate live broadcaster Setanta Sports.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

SPL leaders Celtic argued that there was no need for an extension to the season, while Rangers wanted an even longer one.

Reigning champions Celtic are five points clear after a season disrupted by postponements due to weather and the death of Motherwell midfielder Phil O'Donnell.

But their city rivals have three games in hand.

Rangers were angry that the new fixture list meant they would have to play four games in eight days, while Celtic argued that an extension undermined the competition.

Dundee United had also criticised the season extension, saying that it inconvenienced fans and would mean less income for clubs.

Rangers could achieve a famous quadruple this season.

They have already won the CIS Insurance Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Dundee United in March.

Zenit St Petersburg will be their opponents in the Uefa Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 May.

They will finish top of the SPL should they win all their remaining matches but could yet need a final-day victory away to Aberdeen on 22 May.

And, two days later, they will be strong favourites to defeat First Division outfit Queen of the South in the Scottish Cup final.


Remaining SPL fixtures

Saturday 3 May - Aberdeen v Dundee Utd, Inverness CT v Gretna, Motherwell v Celtic, St Mirren v Kilmarnock

Sunday 4 May - Hibernian v Rangers

Monday 5 May - Falkirk v Hearts

Wednesday 7 May - Rangers v Motherwell.

Saturday 10 May - Rangers v Dundee United, Falkirk v Inveress, Hearts v Kilmarnock, Motherwell v Aberdeen, St Mirren v Gretna

Sunday 11 May - Celtic v Hibernian

Tuesday 13 May - Gretna v Hearts (moved from 17 May then 8 May)

Saturday 17 May - Motherwell v Rangers (rearranged game, postponed earlier in the season), Inverness v St Mirren, Kilmarnock v Falkirk

Monday 19 May - St Mirren v Rangers (rearranged game, postponed earlier in the season).

Thursday 22 May - Aberdeen v Rangers, Dundee United v Celtic, Hibernian v Motherwell (all fixtures moved from May 18)


see also
Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (0-0)
01 May 08 |  Europe
Smith angered by Lawwell remarks
26 Apr 08 |  Rangers
Old Firm blast SPL fixture plans
22 Apr 08 |  Scottish Premier


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