Report: The SPFL clubs backing the Celtic winter break plan; no surprises who's not on list

By Euan Davidson

December 22, 2021

Several Scottish Premiership clubs have backed the Celtic statement demanding consideration by the SPFL for bringing the winter break forward.

Amidst the Covid-19 drama of yesterday, SPFL statements, rejected requests for postponement and a general culture of confusion, Celtic issued a statement asking for some common sense [Celtic FC].

Publicly, clubs backing that Celtic suggestions include Hibs, Aberdeen, Motherwell and Livingston. According to a report from the Scottish Sun, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts, St Johnstone and, naturally, St Mirren, all agree with the premise.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Those who don’t? Well, it’s no shock; Rangers. And, for good measure, Ross County.

Celtic fans have emphatically backed the club’s proposal. In the interest of sporting integrity, and to ensure football can be played in front of capacity crowds, bringing the winter break forward makes total sense. Why play to crowds of 500 in a 60,000 seater stadium, when a few weeks could make the difference?

Perhaps more importantly, it would allow more players and supporters to get a booster jab, helping to protect against the virus and the new Omicron strain.

Where Rangers are concerned, they would have three key players at the African Cup of Nations when they’ve got a trip to Celtic Park to think about. But they played to a packed Ibrox when Celtic had to visit. Playing the game in front of just 500 fans offers a pretty substantial difference in circumstances.

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SPFL and SFA face opposition from Celtic, SPFL clubs over what ought to be common sense

Now, Sky hold the cards here. Sky Sports need to agree to fixture postponements and changes in broadcasting times, should the winter break be brought forward. The festive period is, naturally, a typically busy time for audience figures.

However, surely this is about common sense. Look at tonight’s game against St Mirren; Celtic will face a squad comprised largely of youth players. Is that really in the sporting interest of the league? Yes, we went through it before, but we shouldn’t have had to.

Rangers opposing the idea reads more as sheer belligerence rather than logical reasoning. If the Ibrox club had a Covid outbreak like St Mirren have, or Dundee United had, they’d surely feel different.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Overall, it’s a depressing and familiar scenario. The idea of being back under restrictions after something of a period of normality for a lot of supporters is grim.

But in terms of football, this is all so avoidable. We have a winter break anyway; why not just bring it forward so SPFL teams can get through this rough spell? That way, the “product” Sky Sports pay for doesn’t suffer?

It’s a very odd time. Hopefully, the SPFL, SFA and maybe even Rangers see some sense here.

Read more: Celtic boss Ange provides Tuesday injury update on Turnbull, Kyogo, Forrest and others

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