Stephen Craigan calls for switch to summer football

Stephen Craigan has called for a switch to summer football. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy
Stephen Craigan has called for a switch to summer football. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy
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Stephen Craigan believes it is time for Scottish football to face up to the fear factor holding the nation back from adopting a summer season.

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The debate on rearranging Scotland’s football calendar has been thrust back into the spotlight in the wake of Rangers and St Johnstone’s early Europa League exit.

And former Motherwell and Northern Ireland defender Craigan backs the argument that our clubs will continue to suffer so long as they are heading into continental action under-cooked.

Their remains a reluctance to changing the start of the season, with clubs worried a switch to a winter kick-off could leave them out of pocket.

But BT Sport pundit Craigan reckons it is the only remaining solution to Scotland’s European woes.

He said: “We have tried changing the size of the league, we have tried adding play-offs to the league, we have tired adding the split between the top and bottom six, we have tried the Betfred Cup with earlier games at the start of the season.

“The only thing we haven’t done is change the time the season starts.

“If the worst case scenario happened and it didn’t work, then we can just change back.

“There should be nothing holding us back from giving it a try. People mention World Cups and Euros, but Scotland are not qualifying for those tournaments right now so we’re bound to be able to work round it for two or three weeks every couple of years.

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“I’ve also heard people say it would affect the credibility of the league. But it’s performances in Europe that make a league credible.

“For me it’s a no-brainer - starting early would allow our teams to be up to full speed when these crucial games come along.

“The changes we have made in the past are tinkering slightly. But something has to change because every year the same thing happens. Sooner or later someone has to say enough is enough.

“People don’t like change but I’m not proposing turning the world upside down. I’m just saying let’s try something a wee bit different and see if it can make us any better.”

Craigan was speaking ahead of the Betfred Cup group stages which are live on BT Sport 1.