Stephen Craigan insists Scotland should give summer football a chance

Stephen Craigan
Stephen Craigan believes Scottish sides would be better prepared for Europe if they played a summer season

Former Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan believes it is time to give summer football a chance in Scotland.

Rangers and St Johnstone were knocked out of the Europa League in the first qualifying round, and Craigan reckons an earlier start to the season would make a difference.

"It's a no-brainer - starting early would allow our teams to be up to speed when these games come along," he said.

"Let's try something different and see if it can make us any better."

St Johnstone's Europa League bid was ended by Lithuanian side FK Trakai, who are already well into their domestic season.

But Rangers' conquerors, Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg, last played competitively in May before they took on the Ibrox side.

Rangers v Progres
Rangers beat Luxembourg minnows Progres 1-0 at Ibrox but lost 2-0 away

Such defeats are, of course, all too common for Scottish sides and former Northern Ireland defender Craigan says a calendar change is well worth a try.

"We have tried changing the size of the league, we have tried adding play-offs to the league, we have tried 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 Well coach added.

"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.

"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.

"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."

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