Celtic Managers Have Scorned The Heavy Fixture Schedule And No-One Gave A Damn.

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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.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    “This time next season we’ll be into an even tougher European run than right now”

    Jeez I hope and pray that you’re right there as it’ll mean being in The Champions League…

    But there is a long way to go yet – and some very dangerous mines to face as well –

    I’ll give these dangerous mines names…

    Munro – Muir – Beaton – Dickenson – Dallas – Allen – Robertson – Collum –

    I think they’ll have an influence on points in a negative way this weekend…

    Probably by giving an undeserved penalty to Sevco !

  • Iain Wood says:

    James – I don’t have any sympathy for the clubs. The SPFL have already helped the clubs playing in European comps by letting us have a bye into round 2 and we get seeded there to boot meaning we can’t even meet each other (I appreciate that we got the bum draw away to Killie in said 2nd round this year but them’s the beak’s sometimes).

    I think the reason its crammed into the first half of the season is because of the 3week winter break – we are definitely the only European country who have 3 domestic trophies AND take a 3 week break. This authorities are worried about fixture pile up in the second half of the season as they have no idea how many (or whether any) of our clubs will get through to the knock-out stages of Europe and how long they will go there.

    England, who are pretty much the only other country I can think of that have a true 3rd domestic trophy, know that their teams will qualify for the knockouts so they plan for it and don’t have a shutdown (rather they have a 4 game fiesta every xmas/new year).

    Like you I want to keep the 3rd trophy going so for me its up to the teams competing in Europe to prioritise how badly they want to win it and either go for it with best 11 or take a risk and play the “reserve” teams. The only other alternative is to scrap the winter shutdown but most managers like it so I think its here to stay.

  • Eldraco says:

    So … Do we need a big squad for the conference next season?

    Asking for a friend.

  • Johnno says:

    This unfortunately is the price of success, and the increasing international breaks, along with the tournaments involved hardly helps matters either.
    In an overloaded footballing calendar as it is, the only solution remains with bigger squads, to combat the demands upon the player’s involved.
    Yet the demands don’t reduce from supporters, especially when player’s are looked upon as robots, and expected to produce highly every time they take to the field?
    The adaption our player’s are expected to make between Scottish, CL and international football are massive, and the expectations of adapting according between such different environments within the game, is hardly the easiest to adapt to, especially for the younger players still trying to learn there trade as such.
    Top teams are getting less preparation for the demands, so hardly any chances available to make changes to systems of play, that could actually improve themselves as a team?
    We are forced into a situation where a style of play, along with a squad formed during pre season that has to be deemed as good enough to last a season?
    Don’t get that right early, then struggles occur, then usually the manager takes the fall,and the whole process starts again?
    Madness without available time to find solutions, if you have been fairly successful with the process involved within the previous season?
    The changing face of football, remains to fast with the demands, that only club’s with massive budgets can match the demands upon the player’s.
    Get the spending totally wrong, results in total carnage within a club also.
    No easy solutions to the current issues within the overall game, but still don’t believe that we are placed as badly as some are trying to make out either?
    Not completed by any means currently, but hardly as disastrous as some are trying to make out also imo.
    All about weather there is trust in the process of being able to match the increasing demands upon the player’s within the club?
    Maybe a little bit of expected instant success in the process involved, than allowing for it to shape into the demands required I would still say?

  • SSMPM says:

    The EPL have a lot more money to invest in more talented squad players than us and the top teams aren’t too bothered about putting out weaker teams for the league cup as their squad players are usually of a good enough standard. If they lose well, though that may not be completely a case of so what as I’m sure they’d still and in particular the fans, liked to have progressed it’s accepted without great anxiety.
    If it made any real difference to the likes of the CL or even the EL performances then it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if we rested players in the League Cup or even the Scottish Cup, even if we played a mix of the younger boys, project or development players.
    It would detract from the domestic Cup/s as a spectacle/s and probably affect sponsorship but hey maybe then the governing might give a shit. Maybe not but they’d get out what they put in … apathy. HH

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