BILLY Dodds last night claimed the scheduling of end-of-season matches puts any lower league team which reaches the Scottish Cup final at a disadvantage – and appealed to the SFA and SPFL to change the fixture list.

Dodds was proud of how his Inverness Caledonian Thistle side performed against Celtic at Hampden on Saturday evening despite the 3-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of their top flight Parkhead rivals.

It was the first competitive match the Highlanders had played since their final Championship game against Ayr United at home nearly a month earlier and their manager admitted that lay-off had made his preparations problematic.

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He warned that the demands on players are also putting them at risk of suffering injuries and admitted that he would like the governing bodies to see if any alterations can be made to a calendar he feels make a mockery of Scottish football.

"We were worried (about the lack of game time) because we knew Celtic would play at a tempo,” he said. “But our head of performance, Ross Hughes, is brilliant and knew the type of work we had to get into them. We were worried, but we got a hell of an amount of work into them.

The Herald: Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Billy Dodds gives out instructions on the touchline at Hampden

"We had two bounce games in one week and I knew it would get conditioning into them. I also made sure any time there was a chance for high-intensity running, we did that as well because we needed it.

"I don't know (if it put Caledonian Thistle at a disadvantage). I could have had my team at tip-top fitness, playing every play-off game like Partick Thistle going into the last game today - which would have had to be put back - and still get beat by Celtic. So I can't say that."

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Dodds added: "But it's maybe something to look into. I said after the semi final that we need to plan better. I know it's difficult for the authorities to get the right amount of fixtures in, and when and where. But they have to look at it. Championship teams can get to a Scottish Cup final. It's not a big possibility, but it's there.

"We are a team that played one of the last games of the season last season (play-off final) and we're a team that is playing one of the last games of the season this year.  It's not much of a break and maybe that's why we got the injuries we got this season. We need to do something about giving players the right rest.

"You can't just not plan for a Championship team getting into the cup final. It's not my job to sort out scheduling and come up with a plan just in case a team like us gets this far in the Scottish Cup. But they have to find a better way.

"They can't have teams not playing for a month. Our game gets ridiculed enough. We have a good product up here and we saw that on Saturday. Celtic will go into Europe next year and have a go. But we’ve got to protect players, whether it's from fatigue or injuries. Do the right thing."