Report: Celtic set for "likely" first after IFAB announcement, ball in SPFL's court

By Hamish Carton

July 16, 2020

Celtic could make up to five substitutions in some matches next season, after a key announcement from IFAB on Wednesday.

The body, who are in charge of the laws of the game, announced the extension to their COVID-19 related decision on their official website.

They explain that they will allow any competition concluded by July 31st 2021 the opportunity to continue with a maximum of five substitutions.

An IFAB presentation (NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP via Getty Images)

However, these changes can only be made at a maximum of three intervals per match, with half-time not included.

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Crucially, IFAB say that “the decision on whether to apply” the measure “remains at the discretion of each competition.”

Celtic likely to use it in UEFA competition

The five sub system will be used in next month’s Champions League and Europa League tournaments, while the Daily Record say it is “likely” to be used in the 2020/2021 versions of both competitions as well.

This means that our upcoming European qualifiers should see Neil Lennon with the opportunity to make as many as five changes during the course of a match.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The SPFL will then have a decision to make for next season’s Premiership and Betfred Cup, while the SFA will preside over the both the 2020/2021 Scottish Cup, as well as the final two rounds of last season’s edition.

The same Daily Record article says the five sub rule was supported by SFA chief Ian Maxwell when it was first proposed back in April.

More chances for youngsters?

On the face of it, the enhanced substitution allowance would seem to benefit Celtic more than others.

We have the biggest squad in the country, and could perhaps benefit from the opportunity to give more players game time, and rest some of our more weary stars.

Dembele and Oko-Flex (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In theory, more youth team players should see opportunities if Lennon has the chance to make two extra changes per match.

The likes of Karamoko Dembele and Armstrong Oko-Flex will certainly be licking their lips at the prospect.

It’s just a shame that Lennon’s favourite super-sub Jonny Hayes is no longer around.