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Celtic to start with Ross County test

19 June 2013 10:16

Scottish Premier League champions Celtic will open their title defence with a home fixture against Ross County on August 3.

Celtic, who have won the SPL two years running, beat County just once in their four meetings last season, with two ending in draws and one in a win for Derek Adams' side.

Partick Thistle's first SPL match in nine years will see them host Dundee United on the opening weekend, while last year's runners-up, Motherwell, travel to Hibernian on August 4.

Other clashes on the first weekend will see Aberdeen host Kilmarnock and St Johnstone face financially troubled Hearts, while St Mirren travel to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Celtic will visit Aberdeen and Dundee United in the first month, while Inverness Caledonian Thistle will travel to Celtic Park, also in August.

Motherwell will also face Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the early stages of the season, with other fixtures in the first month seeing them host Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock.

The first Edinburgh derby between Hearts and Hibernian has been mooted for August 10 at Tynecastle, the second weekend of the campaign.

Hearts, who will be deducted 15 points if, as expected, they go into administration, will visit Easter Road for the return fixture on New Year's Day, while the third clash of the season will again be at Tynecastle, on the weekend of March 29 and 30.

For the second consecutive season, Celtic's arch-rivals Rangers will not be in the top flight, with Ally McCoist's side to compete in Second Division this campaign.

Rangers, who were relegated to Third Division for financial irregularities, won the league last season.

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