Celtic captain Scott Brown has spoken out about his concerns over player burnout after the Scottish champions returned to pre-season training.
The Hoops played their last game of the 2018/19 season on the 25th May, just 24 days ago, but are already back preparing for next season with their Champions League qualifier set to take place between the 9th and 10th July.
This has led to Brown, 33, criticising the football calendar in Scotland, telling the BBC:
For me, the Scottish FA could help us out a little bit, they can look at the fixture list. It’s almost a full 12 months or a year now and no holiday time.
It’s all about us making sure we keep our bodies in good condition and that we’re ready to hit the start of the season flying.
Some players, such as Callum McGregor, were also involved in the EURO 2020 qualifiers and played as recently as a week ago in Scotland’s loss to Belgium.
That fact wasn’t lost on Brown, who commented:
Callum McGregor played 69 games and he has a week-and-a-half off, so it’s hard to get everyone balanced off [in regards to fitness levels].
For us in the early games, it’s about making sure we’re up to scratch. It also means less running in pre-season because you’re straight into the games.
Here’s hoping in the next couple of years they can help us out. It would help most clubs
The Scottish league season is due to restart on the first weekend of August, by which point Celtic could have already completed two double-legged European ties.
Celtic's 2019/20 season
Champions League Qualifiers
Celtic will have to win four two-legged ties to reach the group stages of the Champions League. The first round gets underway on the 9th and 10th July, with qualifiers concluding on the 27th and 28th August.
The SPFL season will kick off over the 3rd and 4th August, with fixtures to be released on June 21st. The season will end on the weekend of May 16th and 17th 2020.
Celtic will enter the Betfred Cup in the second round, which is scheduled to take place on the 17th and 18th August. The final will take place on Sunday 2nd December 2019.
The confirmed dates for the 2019/20 Scottish Cup are yet to be released, however, Celtic will enter at the fourth round stage in mid-January and the final will be the last game of the season in mid-May.