Celtic looking to take advantage of UEFA stress after fixture announcement

By Dave Flanigan

August 4, 2022

Celtic’s home game against Hearts later this month has been moved back a day to accommodate the Jambos’ European qualifiers.

The Edinburgh club will face a trip to either Ireland to face Linfield, or Switzerland to face FC Zurich, in the first leg of the Europa League play-off round on Thursday of 18th August, with the second leg a week later on the 25th.

The game between the champions and last season’s third place finishers that was due to be played on Saturday the 20th of August, will now take place on Sunday the 21st of August – an untelevised 3pm kick-off.

Celtic travel to Dingwall to face Ross County, and Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock prior to the Hearts clash, whilst the Jambos contest an early Edinburgh derby at Easter Road on Sunday, and host Dundee United, prior to their trip to the east end of Glasgow.

The rare luxury of free midweeks

Given Celtic’s lack of qualifiers or midweek games in general prior to the commencement of the Champions League group stage, it’s news that’s unlikely to move manager Ange Postecoglou or his players, given that they have free midweeks prior to and following the Hearts clash.

It’s a luxury that the club haven’t enjoyed for over a decade since their last automatic Champions League qualification in season 2008-09 under Gordon Strachan, with subsequent seasons’ fixture lists fit-to-bursting in the first half of the campaign.

With Hearts travelling before their journey west, Postecoglou will be hoping to catch the Jambos cold to get another early three points on the board as the Hoops look to continue their title defence.

It’s a fixture that’s rarely unmemorable, and with Hearts very much the third force in Scottish football last season, and both clubs recording wins in their Premiership openers – it’s likely to be another game to remember in Paradise.

In other news: Ross County defender relishing Celtic visit