Neil Lennon criticises fixture scheduling for Glasgow derby "shame"

By Hamish Carton

December 27, 2019

Neil Lennon reckons it’s “a shame” that Celtic will face Rangers right at the end of such a busy month of football.

Sunday’s game will be the Hoops’ ninth of a frantic December. Rangers have played a game fewer but will be equally fatigued as they arrive at Celtic Park aiming not to fall further behind in the title race.

Lennon’s men have been pretty faultless this month – winning seven of their previous eight and only losing a meaningless Europa League clash to Cluj. Yet the Northern Irishman still thinks the fixture could’ve been arranged at a better time, as he criticised the SPFL.

(Photo by Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“To have this fixture at the end of what’s been a busy month is a bit of a shame really,” he told press on Friday. (Official Celtic YouTube channel)

“Rangers are on their eighth game and we’re on our ninth and it’s asking a lot of both sets of players.

“I’m sure they’re both prepared to give it one more big push.”

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Derby scheduling has its pros and cons

As usual, the gaffer makes a pretty good point. It seems a bit daft from the footballing authorities to schedule such a big game, that will aim to showcase the Scottish game worldwide, at a time when both sides will be pretty knackered.

Surely it would be better to have the game played when both teams are fresher and able to make it an even better spectacle.

(Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The flip side is that the game is the perfect finale to the first-half of the season. It serves as one big final occasion before the winter break, where there are some lengthy bragging rights on the line.

We know all too well how hard the shutdown was last year after losing at Ibrox. As a fan, you just had to suck it up and wait for the next game. Hopefully we are bringing in the bells with a bigger smile on our faces this year.