Hearts and Hibs benches to expand as cinch Premiership reintroduces five-substitutes rule

The cinch Premiership will see a return of the five-substitutes rule, effective immediately, after clubs voted in favour of its reintroduction.

At least 75 per cent of clubs in the top flight green-lit the proposal, which will see the substitutes bench expanded to allow nine players.

The rule will be in place when the top flight restarts again following the winter break this coming Monday when Hibs take on Celtic in Glasgow.

The decision has been made to support player welfare and assist with the congested fixture schedule given the possibility of postponements due to weather conditions or Covid-19.

Nine players can now be named on a substitutes bench. Picture: SNS

The use of up to five substitutes is already permitted in cinch League Two and the SPFL is consulting with Championship and League One clubs.

A SPFL spokesman said: “Fifa has allowed each league to determine its own rules regarding substitutes since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

“As a members’ organisation, it is key that clubs in each division are able to make decisions on issues such as this for themselves.”

The system was used in three of the four SPFL leagues – the Championship being the lone exception – last term in order to help clubs cope with the demands of the ongoing pandemic.

Premiership clubs took the decision last month to bring forward their winter break after crowd restrictions were put in place following the spread of the Omicron variant in Scotland.

It was announced earlier this week by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that those restrictions will now be lifted, starting with Celtic-Hibs on Monday.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.