Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has expressed concern about the possible impact Scotland’s post-season friendlies could have on the Hoops’ Champions League hopes and the rest of Scottish football.
The Scottish Football Association, still searching for a national team boss to replace Gordon Strachan after Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill rejected the opportunity, have arranged four matches in the meantime including a trip to Peru on May 29 before taking on Mexico away on June 2.
The Parkhead club have recently provided Scotland and Hoops captain Scott Brown, Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths to the national squad.
Celtic, in the likelihood of them winning the Ladbrokes Premiership title again, will begin their Champions League qualification campaign on July 10 or 11 and Rodgers, hoping his side make the William Hill Scottish Cup final on May 19, pointed out the implications of a short summer break.
“We hope to make it through to the Scottish Cup final which takes you through to May 19, if you then have eight of your players at least going on a friendly tour to South America, I don’t think it is helpful for Celtic, “said the Northern Irishman, who will be looking for “a sensible decision” to be made by whoever becomes Strachan’s successor.
“Players will play 60 games plus, plus international games so that makes it extremely difficult, especially for the young players like Kieran Tierney who are starting out on their careers and have made great starts.
“You don’t want them to be broken and burnt out too early in their career because of the number of games.
“Footballers are not machines, they are human beings and they need that mental and physical recovery at times.
“But I also think it is for the wider scope of Scottish football.
“The team has the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League, they need every chance they can to qualify.
“One: for the national game, to show we can put a team into the elite club competition in European football, but also two: financially.
“The financial implications the last couple of years qualifying for the Champions League is that each of the other clubs get a substantial amount of money for that and sometimes that is the most revenue that they get.
“So it is not just for Celtic. Of course, you look firstly within your club and the players but you also have to take into consideration Scottish football when you bring on a friendly campaign that far away at that time of the season.
“Some of these players had six days (off) last year, some had 10, the maximum the non-internationals had was three weeks, so to do that again, you are not giving yourself an opportunity.”
Source : HeraldScotland