Scotland manager Steve Clarke has once again pleaded with the Scottish footballing authorities to consider moving matches ahead of the Euro 2020 Nations League playoff.
The Scotland boss wants the SFA to consider rescheduling the fixtures of Rangers and the other clubs in the Scottish Premiership to give the national side the best possible chance of qualifying for this summer’s tournament.
Far from moving the matches from the weekend card completely, the Scotland manager wants to see no matches to be played on Sunday 22nd March.
“All we asked for is common sense and if the broadcasters would not put a game on, on the Sunday, and if the league wouldn’t play any matches on the Sunday, that would be great,” said Clark [Scotland National Team].
“We also know that there is the potential for Celtic and Rangers to hopefully still be involved in the Europa League the week before which would mean that they would have to play on the Sunday.
“If that is the case we would have to deal with it.
“If, for example, the league could agree to come forward and play on the Friday night then you have the Saturday and Sunday for the players to recover and three working days to the game on the Thursday would be a benefit.
“They (Israel) have made their choice. Their players who play outside Israel will have fixtures outside Israel anyway and it would be similar here.
“You just have to deal with what you have got and if it is a week to be ready we will be ready, if it is a day to be ready we will be ready.
“We obviously have a lot of players potentially in the squad who are plying their trade down south and they will be playing matches that weekend.
“You just have to deal with what you have got and if it is a week to be ready we will be ready, if it is a day to be ready we will be ready.”
Is Steve Clarke justified in asking for more time off for Scotland players?
Clarke’s comments come despite only one Rangers player, Ryan Jack, being immediately involved with the Scotland first team.
In the domestic league, Celtic had five first-team players in the last squad with a further seven players being called up from teams around the league.
Out of the previous 24 man squad, 13 players were based in Scotland. But the last squad was shrouded in controversy due to high-profile drop-outs from the English Premier League.
Whilst Scotland based players made up over 50% of Clarke’s last squad, with Ryan Fraser, Scott McTominay, Andrew Robertson, Oliver McBurnie and Kieran Tierney based down south, there’s every chance this won’t be the case in March.
The conversation is also happening during an intense domestic schedule where the SFA are awaiting to see Rangers’ Europa League progress before deciding on where to place the club’s game in hand on leaders Celtic.
Can the domestic game seriously afford to rearrange fixtures when it’s struggling to play the ones they already have?
Especially if it only potentially impacts less than half of the squad?