CELTIC have been crowned Premiership champions for a ninth successive season while relegated Hearts are contemplating taking legal action following the curtailment of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Scottish Professional Football League announced a decision that was widely expected to be reached after all 12 top-flight clubs agreed last Friday that there was no viable way to complete the remaining fixtures.

A points per game average has been used to determine final placings, leaving Celtic to celebrate another league triumph as they were 13 points clear of Rangers - albeit having played one game more - when football in Scotland was halted on March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon said: “We would have loved to play out the season, it is what we all wanted.

“We were desperate to continue the blistering form we were in when the season was suspended. However, do not in any way let this detract from our achievement.

“While many will seek to challenge us, the title is ours and we deserve it. We are indeed champions for a reason.”

Hearts were four points behind second-bottom Hamilton with both sides having eight fixtures remaining.

The Edinburgh club have left open the possibility of legal action to the decision, saying in a statement: “We have stated from the outset that we don’t believe it is right that any club should be unfairly penalised because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Hearts will shortly submit a member’s resolution that we believe is a pragmatic solution to the issues the game currently faces and a way forward that the clubs can unite behind.

“It is our belief that this resolution, if supported, will provide an opportunity to avoid disproportionately disadvantaging - financially and otherwise - any club.

“The club has been taking legal advice throughout this process and are continuing to do so.”