Last week, the Celtic manager spoke about the nightmarish fixture schedules which clubs here face. You know who cared? Nobody.
But whenever Ibrox bosses have done it, the media has shared in the outcry. There are still people over there who claim the league did nothing to help them when they reached the Manchester final, although it’s not true.
I’ll tell you who got no help on their way to a European final; us. I remember us coming back from Boavista and going straight to Ibrox.
The press thinks we’ve forgotten this stuff. We haven’t, and we’re not going to. The idea of helping Scottish clubs who have European games to play is not new.
Aberdeen is complaining at the present time and voices from Ibrox told them to sit down and shut up. The same people who have demanded help before.
No-one cared when Celtic coaches brought this up, so Aberdeen has no chance. No-one wanted to help us. No-one ever will.
The idea that the SFA would have offered to cancel a Scottish Cup Final on our behalf after extending the league campaign already seems ridiculous because it is. We would never have got that help and it would have been a waste of time even asking for it, just as when I read Rodgers comments the other week and knew nobody cared.
Barry Robson and his board aren’t going to get any assistance and they shouldn’t even hope for it. This time next season we’ll be deep into an even tougher European run than right now; two extra Group Stage games and the possibility of two play-off matches after that.
Ten games, in the space of a few months. Ten games and six of those games will come before December and two of them after January. On top of a mad domestic schedule where we have a cup final before Christmas.
Who in God’s name came up with that? Why is it still ongoing? A cup final in December? Where’s the need for that? Which other country has that? Not many, but then not many have two domestic cup competitions anyway.
And I wouldn’t change that, I like us having three but why we have to cram one of them into the first half of the season I do not know.
So this problem is only going to get worse, and the Ibrox club will have the same problem as we do, because the Europa League will have the same structure and so will the Europa Conference League for whichever of our clubs gets there.
Big money yes, but God damn, that’s a lot of games, that’s a busy schedule, that’s a nightmare schedule and should we expect the governing bodies to take a sensible approach to it? Hell no, because they won’t.
Rodgers said some weeks ago that he thought we’d reach the saturation point, the moment where the number of games we could play without doing serious harm to the teams had been reached.
Big squads like ours should be able to cope, that’s what the governing bodies will say, but that’s not a good enough answer. Fans have expectations.
I don’t know whether Celtic fans would ever accept us playing skeleton teams for the League Cup like they do in England, for example, and I definitely do no t want to listen to talk about abolishing it altogether.
But something has to give.
Whether the league thinks we should be done favours or not, that’s going to risk burnout, that’s going to increase the number of injuries and cause problems for managers and put impossible demands on fans … no-one will care about fans though because nobody in this game does at the moment or ever has.
Celtic is not the only club which will be put out by this, but I hope we’re in a much better position next season than in this one as far as Europe is concerned, and the new format for the Champions League opens up possibility with us playing two teams from Pot 4 and another two from Pot 3.
Single leg games mean a fortunate draw can take you far.
So we will need that help at some point, although it’s difficult to see where it is going to come from or what its going to cost us, because the schedule is already chock-full and I don’t see where the new games go let alone rescheduled fixtures.
So it’s going to be tough, tougher than right now, and we’re going to need a big squad to deal with it, a better squad than we have right now into the bargain.
38 league games and two domestic cup competitions … by the way, the top teams in the EPL play even more league games and they tend to get further in Europe as well, so this isn’t me crying the blues without recognising that there are other people in a worse predicament than we are.
All I know is that Celtic would get no help from the governing bodies even if there was a way to do it without creating mayhem elsewhere.
Would we get a league extension now if it helped us in Europe? Absolutely not.
Especially if it affected our domestic chances in a positive way.
They would rather see us burn or bleed out, and I absolutely believe that, and I’m not just talking about the governing bodies but everyone in the game.