The final of the Scottish Premiership play-offs now have their participants. Dundee United will play St. Mirren in the two-legged affair. Two of the three managers from the Championship teams that were involved in the Championship part, have criticised the format to decide the last place in next seasons Premier League. I can fully understand, and agree with the concerns of John Robertson and Ian McCall. The system comes across as a bit of a hotchpot compared to other playoffs for promotion that take place.
Through its history only two teams from the lower league have won through the extensive qualification process, Hamilton (against Hibernian in 2014) and Livingston (against Partick Thistle) last year. This is primarily down to the fact that the lower league sides have to play at least two games in a short period prior to the final’s two games, or if they finish in 3rdor 4thfour games.
I personally believe that they should have an automatic two down from the Premier League, which they have used previously when the Premier League was in its infancy and only consisted of ten teams. If they don’t want to do that, then they should at least follow the same format that they do for promotion to the other two leagues in Scotland. If they did that, it would be fairer on all teams. That would mean that the team that finished fourth in the Championship, would play the team that finished 11thin the Premier League, and the other game would be 2ndv 3rdfrom the Championship. I would also suggest that the final should be a one-off game (similar to England), at a neutral venue located between the two teams. This could be played on the Sunday after the Scottish Cup Final.
This would make the series of matches equitable to all the participants.
There would be an argument that the league seasons do not finish at the same time, but that would be easily remedied. The bottom 6 of the Premier League could play an extra midweek game after the split (or they could get rid of the Winter Break!!), so that they would finish at the same time as the Championship, who could finish a week later than usual as they don’t have the pre play-off semi-final fixtures (the game between 3rdand 4thfrom the Championship). This would allow all teams to play the semi-finals at the same tine. This would be my solution to the problem.
However, if as has been reported in the media that the Championship plan to move to a 12 team, a simple move to two up and two down would be logical and fair way to decide the leagues. Failing that the above proposal would be a far better option than the convoluted way that they decide it at the moment.