Kazakhstan v Scotland: Time zones, social media & dinner at midnight

Scotland trained in Kazakhstan at 20:00 GMT local time on Tuesday
Scotland trained in Kazakhstan at 20:00 GMT local time on Tuesday

The Scotland squad are all enjoying long lies in Kazakhstan. Breakfast is in the early afternoon, lunch is in the evening, and they don't congregate for dinner until midnight local time.

It is all part of a painstakingly put-together plan to ensure Alex McLeish's players are not unduly jaded for Thursday's opening Euro 2020 qualifier.

Graeme Jones, the Scottish FA's head of high performance, is the man behind the strategy to keep the squad on UK time.

The squad and backroom team - including a chef - flew out of Glasgow on Sunday just before midnight and landed in Astana six hours later. The time in Kazakhstan was midday.

"Human instinct is to switch towards midday and your body clock spends that time battling," he explains.

"But we are not doing that. We are living in a bubble and our bubble is in the UK. Actually it's easier than ever because of social media."

Jones has been working with Scotland's under-age teams for over a decade.

And he has looked at what Celtic and Aberdeen did when they played in this region in recent years, while carrying out "a huge amount of research" and "reading huge amounts of scientific documents".

"We are crossing six time zones," he says. "And when you cross a time zone, the rule of thumb is you need about a day for your body clock to recover. So we would need six days but we only have three.

"What we try and do is keep your normal conditions under your control. It's all about managing around the kick-off time, which is 15:00 in the UK."

'It makes total sense' - Analysis

Partick Thistle manager and former Scotland defender Gary Caldwell told BBC Sportsound

Bobby Robson did this 15 years ago when Newcastle played in Europe. Even for a two-hour difference, we'd just live on our time, come back on our time.

So it's nothing new. Nowadays we get right into the detail of marginal gains, but just focus on the basics and get them right.

We can go into too much detail. It's a game of football - run, tackle and pass more than the opposition.

Glasgow City midfielder and Scotland international Leanne Crichton

We stuck to UK time when Glasgow City played in Kazakhstan. Nothing will change for the players.

It makes total sense, especially as it's a double-header for Scotland. It's good they have put that preparation in place and it's not difficult to adapt to it.

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