Scottish Premiership: How does data suggest season 2019-20 will play out?

By Martin WattBBC Scotland
Celtic are going for their ninth successive title and 11th domestic trophy in a row
Celtic are going for their ninth successive title and 11th domestic trophy in a row

Uncertainty reigns in the Scottish Premiership, where Celtic are tantalisingly near to the title and Hearts are teetering closest to the drop.

With football having ground to a halt, opinion is split on how to resolve the campaign. Complete all fixtures when possible? Call placings now as they stand? Or declare the entire season null and void?

With more than three-quarters of the campaign already played, the data is there to make a confident simulation model on how things would pan out if all fixtures were fulfilled.

Using the relative strengths of teams and 100,000 simulations, the Euro Club Index football ranking has provided BBC Scotland with a scientific prediction of the remainder of the campaign, giving a final ranking and clubs' percentage chances of finishing in certain positions.

Who'll win the title?

Leaders Celtic's remarkable league form in 2020 - nine wins and a draw - has put them within touching distance of the trophy.

Neil Lennon's side have opened up a 13-point lead over stuttering Rangers, who have 27 points left to play for and have slipped up in half of their 10 matches since the winter break.

Celtic's superior goal difference of 25 over their Glasgow rivals also adds to their advantage and they are predicted near certainties at 98.87% to secure a ninth successive title should play resume.

That leaves Rangers with just a 1.13% chance of claiming their first major trophy since 2011.

However, with two Old Firm games among the Ibrox side's nine remaining fixtures, they will cling to that small hope until the end.

What about relegation?

Bottom club Hearts, four points adrift of Hamilton Academical, will still be hopeful of surviving.

The prediction model, though, has bad news for them. The Tynecastle side's chances of finishing bottom are at 43.18%, compared to 32.72% for Accies, 16.34% for St Mirren and 7.5% for Ross County.

Hamilton's drop fears wouldn't be eased completely, though, as there is thought to be a 30.63% chance of them finishing in the relegation play-off spot. There's not much in it, however, with Hearts at 28.22% and St Mirren 26.40%.

St Mirren, currently ninth, are forecast to switch places with County and finish just above danger in 10th.

Euro race and top six

There will be no change to the current top-half and bottom-six make-up, according to the Euro Club Index analysis.

But Aberdeen are forecast to overturn the one-point deficit on Motherwell prior to the split, putting them in pole position to clinch a Europa League spot.

With most clubs having three games before the split, the present top four are rated at 100% to finish in the top half.

Seventh-place St Johnstone have a game in hand, in which a win would propel them above Hibernian. Despite that, though, the Perth team's chances of finishing in the top six are just 29.33%, with Kilmarnock only 13.76%.

Hibs have a 67.46% chance of not relinquishing their place among the elite, while Livingston are 89.45% to secure a top-six place for the first time since 2002.

What is the Euro Club Index?

The Euro Club Index provides a proprietary ranking of all European football clubs based on competition results over a four-year period.

It is a collaboration between Gracenote Sports and Hypercube Business Innovation. The ranking of top-flight clubs is updated on a daily basis.

The Euro Club Index ratings are used to calculate the potential results for all remaining matches in a competition and these are then run through 100,000 simulations of the remainder of the season to produce the most likely final standings and the percentage chance of finishing in different positions.

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