sport

SPFL announces 2014/2015 dates

The Scottish Professional Football League has confirmed start dates for next season's League and Cup competitions.

Celtic will begin their quest for a fourth successive title - and Hearts and Rangers kick off their campaigns in the Championship - when all four divisions get underway over the weekend of August 9/10.

The first round of the Scottish Challenge Cup, won this year by Raith Rovers, will commence the weekend of July 26/27 with the Scottish League Cup, currently gracing Aberdeen's trophy room, starting seven days later.

A full list of league fixtures, from Scotland and England, will be released around the middle of June.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "The first official SPFL season has already provided many highlights and memorable moments, and we look forward to its conclusion including the widely anticipated play-offs which this year will feature the new Premiership play-off.

"We are also very busy planning for season 2014/15 and are pleased to announce the start dates across league and cup competitions.

"There are some very positive stories to be told across all our leagues at the moment and we only see the level of interest in Scottish football increasing further in the months ahead and as next season kicks off."

On a separate issue, the SPFL Board has given approval to applications from nine clubs to play their official matches on artificial pitches next season.

Those clubs are, Aidrieonians, Alloa, Annan, Clyde, Falkirk, Forfar, Hamilton, Montrose and Queen of the South.