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Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 13:15 UK

Scots win Fair Play European spot

Motherwell are the front-runners for the Fair Play place
Motherwell are the front-runners for Scotland's Fair Play place

Scotland will have a sixth team in Europe next season, with Uefa confirming that a Fair Play berth will go to a Scottish Premier League side.

Motherwell currently enjoy the best disciplinary record of the sides not already assured of a European place.

Norway, Denmark and Scotland will all get an extra place in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

The opening round of the revamped tournament, formerly the Uefa Cup, is due to commence in early July.

Fair Play League rankings are based on a Uefa points system correlating to the number of red and yellow cards administered to each club and national side over a 12-month period.

Motherwell have just four matches of the season remaining, with St Mirren and Hibernian their nearest challengers for the extra place.

Fir Park boss Mark McGhee told BBC Scotland: "I'm quite proud because we've made a conscious effort to show discipline on and off the field.

"I've tried to contribute overall to the sort of change in attitudes towards bad refereeing decisions by initiating a move with the SPL managers to get off the backs of referees and to not dispute and criticise them.

"It's taken the pressure off referees and made it a little bit easier for everyone.

"If we do get the place, we'll feel it's deserved."

However, the Motherwell boss admitted he was unclear what his team would need to do to clinch the Fair Play spot.

"Before the game tomorrow I would like someone to quantify it for me and tell me exactly where we stand and exactly what we have to do and what we don't have to do in order to jeopardise our chances," said McGhee.

"I don't know all the facts."

The Scottish Football Association have confirmed to BBC Scotland how the points are calculated.

The SPL delegate at each match scores the teams in five categories and passes these details on to the SFA for entry into the Fair Play database.

Delegates award marks out of 10 for positive play and marks out of five for respect towards opponents, respect towards match officials, behaviour of the team officials and behaviour of the crowd.

In addition, red and yellow cards, recorded from the referee's report, are taken into consideration with points deducted for those punishments.

Celtic and Rangers have claimed the Champions League places, while Scottish Cup finalists Falkirk will compete in the Europa League along with the teams finishing third and fourth in the SPL.

Hearts and Dundee United are strong favourites to land those remaining spots, although Aberdeen and Hibs can still catch them.

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see also
McGhee hopeful of Fair Play berth
30 Apr 09 |  Motherwell

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