SPFL boss calls for drastic action that could greatly benefit Celtic this winter

By John McGinley

December 16, 2021

Livingston manager David Martindale is leading calls for the SPFL and SFA to bring forward the upcoming Scottish football winter break, in a move that would likely benefit Celtic.

Scottish football is currently due to shut down from January 3rd to January 21st, allowing clubs across the country to regroup and refocus after a tough festive period.

However, concerned by the spread of Covid-19 infections, Martindale believes Scottish football could be best served by taking that break earlier while the rest of society gets to grips with the developing situation.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Speaking to STV, he said: “If you were asking me what would I do right now – I would shut the league down for two weeks. I would have a circuit-break and go again.

“I don’t believe it’s fair on teams even when they meet the criteria of 13 players, so many over-18, two goalkeepers. I don’t believe it’s fair for the competition and the product. We need to be clever on how we approach this. I think it’s going to have a massive impact on Scottish football over the next couple of weeks.

“We are booked to go away somewhere but is that really why you wouldn’t do it? It isn’t, is it? Could we go on a circuit-break and start two weeks earlier in the winter window? It’s easy for me sitting here saying that, I understand the logistics with the SPFL and SFA, but for me that is an option.

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“I don’t think it’s fair that, let’s say, a week down the line we take this decision and three or four clubs have had disappointing results due to the Omicron variant. I don’t think that’s fair.”

This may sound drastic, but if it is effectively just moving a window rather than extending the season or creating fixture chaos, then Martindale has a point. Wouldn’t it be better to do this rather than have a football shutdown or reduced attendance enforced by the authorities?

In fact, thinking selfishly, it could really benefit Celtic. It would give us a couple of weeks to reduce the current injury crisis and bring us to the January transfer window, where early signings are expected.

Photo by Fraser Bremner – Pool/Getty Images

That’s not a reason to do it of course, but it wouldn’t be a bad scenario by any means.

Ultimately, as has been the case from the start of the pandemic, the best thing to do is what helps society most effectively fight against infections and potential hospitalisations. If that results in another disrupted football season, we’re just going to have to live with it, regardless of when the winter break is.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant deadpan response to question about rivals live on radio.