Rangers, Celtic, Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen: Pre-season friendlies, trips and plans of all 12 cinch Premiership clubs
Scottish football’s new season checklist is beginning to be marked off, one by one.
Fixture list, check. Contract renewals and new signings, check. Premier Sports Cup draw, check. Pre-season training, check. Pre-season fixtures … still awaited, as is the big kick-off itself on weekend of July 30 in the cinch Premiership and lower divisions.
Competitive action begins beforehand in the League Cup section, plus some early European action involving Motherwell on July 21.
Here is what each cinch Premiership team is planning, when they are expected back and who they are, so far, confirmed to line up against.
Jim Goodwin plans to take the Dons to Spain for a training camp as he gets his teeth into his first summer as Pittodrie boss. It is a crucial spell for the new manager tasked with turning around fortunes in the Granite City after finishing 10th last term. The Dons haven’t been abroad for training in more than three years due to covid restrictions.
Confirmed friendlies: Buckie Thistle (a), June 25; Brechin City (a), July 6
The Scottish champions will prepare for the new season in several bases around Europe, including Lennoxtown, in a flight-filled summer that will mirror the first half of the season and potential Champions league travels. An 10-day Austrian camp in early July with two friendly matches is followed by friendlies in Poland and Czech Republic later in the month, organised around exhibition games at Parkhead before the league flag is flown on July 31.
Confirmed friendlies: Opponents tbc (a) July 6 & 9; Banik Ostrava (a), July 13; Blackburn Rovers (h), July 16; Legia Warsaw (a), July 20; Norwich City (h), July 23.
A short pre-season tour has been planned on Tayside, but they’ll do so without Tam Courts following the manager’s move to Hungary. His replacement, widely expected to be confirmed as Jack Ross this week, will take the team as well as host his former club Sunderland at Tannadice.
The travels will be south of the border with football director Tony Asghar describing the plans for facing Scott Brown’s Fleetwood Town “a great away day for our supporters”.
Confirmed friendlies: Sunderland (h) July 16; Fleetwood Town (a) July 23.
Robbie Neilson’s team will jet off this week for pre-season, kicking off their new capmaign with a week of warm weather training in Spain, which also includes a friendly – appropriately named given the club’s continental ambitions – against FC Europa of Gibraltar. So far no plans for games at Tynecastle have been announced, but with a packed schedule in the first half of the season including guaranteed European football until Christmas, the Jambos will ensure they pack in as much vital preparation as possible including a trip to Joe Savage’s former club Preston North End.
Confirmed friendlies: FC Europa (a) June 30; East Fife (a) July 5; Tranmere Rovers (a) July 13; Preston North End (a) July 20.
Like many others, Hibs are taking advantage of warm weather training having done without over recent seasons. Lee Johnson is taking his team away to Portugal where they will play two games – against former Hibee Paul Hartley’s new side Hartlepool United and Burton Albion before returning for the higher profile meeting with Norwich City at Easter Road.
Confirmed friendlies: Hartlepool Utd (n) June 29; Burton Albion (n) July 1; Norwich City (h) July 24.
Derek McInnes has already had his side back in pre-season training, unsurprising given they finished the season a lot earlier than their cinch Premiership colleagues after winning the Championship on May 1. The club will be back on public show, opening Falkirk’s new Kevin McAllister Stand before swapping Largs and the Scottish seaside for Spain and a training camp including two games.
Confirmed friendlies: Queen of South (BCD) June 21; Falkirk (a) June 24; Lincoln Red Imps (n) June 28; Charlton Athletic (n) July 1; Dunfermline Athletic (a) July 5.
Like the others, Livingston are heading to Spain for some work in the sun but David Martindale and Marvin Bartley are equally keen on establishing their home comforts at the Tony Macaroni Arena and hosting both the team’s friendly matches before the Premier Sports Cup begins.
Confirmed friendlies: Morton (h) July 1; Linlithgow Rose (h) July 5.
The Steelmen will be the first side in Scotland to return to competitive action with the winners of Bala Town and Sligo Rovers taking on Graeme Alexander’s team in the early stages of the UEFA Conference League. As such their schedule reflects the early start and they’ll be in Obertraun in early July for a preparatory camp.
Confirmed friendlies: TBC.
After seeing off SC Braga over two legs last season, games that set the club up for the Europa League Final against Eintracht Frankfurt, Rangers are heading back to Portugal for a pre-season on the Algarve. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team has been quiet on the transfer front but busy arranging games at home and on the training trip – though another rumoured clash with Rennes has still not been confirmed.
The B Team will also play away against Glentoran on July 10.
Confirmed friendlies: Sunderland (n) July 9; Tottenham Hotspur (h) July 23.
After finishing in the top six last season, Malky Mackay is taking the Staggies to northern Italy, heading away this weekend before returning for a couple of Highland clashes closer to home and the start of the Premier Sports Cup.
Confirmed friendlies: Brora Rangers (a) July 6.
St Johnstone were in action to the very last minute of season 2021-22, escaping relegation by winning the play-off final against Inverness with a quite emphatic night at McDiarmid Park. Callum Davidson’s side relinquished their hold on the League Cup trophy last season but will be looking for better when this campaign resumes and in preparation have, so far, only organised one game.
Confirmed friendlies: Cove Rangers (h) July 9.
Stephen Robinson moved to Paisley earlier this year and will put his own stamp on the team this summer – he’s already put a Northern Irish slant on the pre-season preparations with a trip across the water before returning to Scotland and kicking the Premier Sports Cup preparations into gear.
Confirmed friendlies: Crusaders (a) June 27; Linfield (a) July 2; Hartlepool Utd (h) July 5.