Researchers have explored the distance fans will travel, as some teams are just a stone’s throw from their competitors, while fans of remote teams will become very familiar with service stations. Using Google Maps and the recently announced fixture list, Macklin Motors calculated the total miles due to be travelled and hours spent on the road by each club in the upcoming 21/22 season.
To keep everyone on equal footing, cup competitions or any potential fixtures after ‘the split’ when the league divides into two were not included.
Ross county travel the most
According to the data, Ross County away fans will rack up the most miles on the motorway next season, travelling a total of 2,685 miles (almost 54 hours) for all the Staggies’ away fixtures.
For context, one could drive the length of the UK, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, three times and still not surpass the total mileage of Ross County’s most die-hard fans next season.
Yet, these huge distances are nothing new for the Ross County faithful – their remote location means that every season is a gruelling motorway crucible.
The real surprise comes for newly promoted Hearts who, despite being among the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, will accumulate the third most miles next season with 1,206 - a real whistle stop tour of Scotland to celebrate their return to the top flight.
At the other end of the spectrum, Motherwell fans will be pleased to hear they will be spending the least amount of time on the road, only set to travel 937 miles over the course of the season.
They aren’t the only fans to be saving some petrol money, either.
Hibernian (947), Livingston (994) and Dundee FC (997) supporters will also not break that 1,000 mile mark next season, after being handed closer away fixtures than their rivals.
Dundee United (1,129) will be particularly miffed as they are set to travel 132 miles further than Dundee FC, despite being located a mere 0.2 miles from their historic rivals.
Up in the far reaches of Dingwall, Ross County are the most remote team in the Scottish top flight, located an average of 159 miles from all other stadiums.
The Staggies also do not currently have a local rival in the Scottish Premiership – their closest away trip is to Aberdeen, over 2 hours away!
Central Scotland, on the other hand, is much more densely populated with clubs, largely thanks to the proximity of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
First half of the season
These clubs all clock up similar average travel times over the first half of the season, which puts title contenders Rangers and Celtic on very equal footing, up until Christmas anyway.
In fact, between Livingston (the most central Scottish Premiership club) and St Mirren (the most ‘remote’ club in Central Scotland), there’s only a difference of about 12 minutes in average travel time.
But no conversation about rival disparities is complete without mentioning the most famous of rivalries, the Old Firm – and it’s good news for Celtic fans.
The Bhoys are set to spend 3 hours less on the road than last year’s champions, who must contend with two long trips up to Dingwall to play Ross County.
While the first half of the Scottish Premiership season is simple enough, with all teams playing each other once at home and once away, the second half of fixtures aren’t as straightforward.
That’s because all teams play each other a third time, which is randomised as to whether it’s played home or away, meaning some away fans will be on the road more than others.
Due to this structure, Hearts become the 3rd most travelled team in the league, despite being the 2nd most central Scottish Premiership team.
Their away fixtures in the second half of the season make up a whopping 46% of their total mileage with far flung returns to Ross County, Aberdeen and Dundee United.
In contrast, Motherwell’s away fixtures after Christmas are much closer to home, accounting for just 24 per cent of their mileage for the season.
The majority of their away games in this period are in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow, with Dundee United being the only extra trip outside of central Scotland.