SPFL should help Scots clubs in Europe, says Wright

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St JOHNSTONE manager Tommy Wright wants the Scottish Professional Football League to show more consideration to clubs competing in Europe as he faces up to the prospect of returning for pre-season little over two weeks after this season ends.

Celtic’s Scottish Cup semi-final defeat has opened the possibility of the fourth-placed team in the Premiership qualifying for Europe – if third-placed Inverness Caley Thistle beat Falkirk in the final on 30 May.

Wright and St Johnstone have played in Europe the past two seasons. Picture: John Devlin

Wright and St Johnstone have played in Europe the past two seasons. Picture: John Devlin

Wright, whose team will go fourth if they beat Dundee tomorrow, is eager for a third consecutive season in the Europa League. But he believes the 24 May finish to the season, coupled with the six-day wait to discover the cup winners, will impact badly on Scottish teams starting their European campaign in the first qualifying round on 2 July.

Wright said: “We will be back round about the 15 and 16 of June if we are in Europe. Only the league will know why they extend the season until the end of May. I thought the whole thing was to try to help Scottish clubs prepare for Europe. With the league season finishing on 24 May, they wonder at times why our coefficient goes down.

“There is less time for clubs to prepare and players to recover after a long season. It’s not as if we get a break in the winter. The clubs will all deal with it but I think in other countries a wee bit more thought and consideration is given to clubs when they are trying to prepare for Europe.

“We ended the season on 17 May last year so why can’t it end on 17 May? The powers that be will have their reasons. I don’t think they have ever been explained to us.”

Wright added: “It would be a lovely problem to have. I’m having a moan but I’d be delighted if we get fourth and have to wait to the cup final to find out. But I do think we should look at how we help Scottish clubs prepare for Europe and finishing the season on 24 May doesn’t help.”

The Premiership season started on 9 August, a week later than the previous season due to the Commonwealth Games, but there is no post-split midweek card unlike previous campaigns.