CELTIC manager Ange Postecoglou has claimed there was no scope for the SPFL to move matches to the second half of the season and insisted the Parkhead club’s players relish having a packed fixture list. 

The Greek-Australian coach admitted he can understand why Jack Ross, his Hibernian counterpart, is not pleased about the Easter Road club having to play nine games in December.

Ross is unhappy the cinch Premiership match his side was scheduled to play against Aberdeen on the weekend of the Premier Sports Cup final has been pushed back just three days and has accused the SPFL of “peculiar governance”.

However, Postecoglou, whose team also have nine games to negotiate next month, feels the demands on Celtic are even greater because of the number of internationalists they have in their first team squad.

“Ideally, you’d love to have a seven-day break,” he said. “But it is the reality when you are in multiple competitions like we are. We are going to be in Europe post-Christmas, so we are going to have midweek games in the second half of the season. I don’t know where else they could put a game. I’m sure they probably looked at it.

“Ultimately for us as a football club, the history suggests that, again, when you sign up, you are going to play 50 or 60 games a year because that’s the expectations and you want to do well in all of the tournaments.

“From our perspective, it’s about making sure that with the games we have got, we put our best foot forward, play the best football we can. And, when it gets around to the final, we’ll make sure we are well prepared for it so that, from our perspective, we don’t want to let an opportunity go by.

“We are in the final of the League Cup, we are going to stay in Europe, we’ve got the Scottish Cup and the league. We are in all four tournaments and I don’t think there is anyone in the building who would want it any other way.

“It’s just a matter of, hopefully, scheduling when the time gets better and I guess the extra challenge for us is when you have got internationals, which some clubs don’t have. You have that extra load which makes it even more challenging for our players.”

Postecoglou, whose team take on Bayer Leverkusen in their penultimate Europa League group game in Germany this evening, believes the Covid-19 pandemic is still having an impact on the scheduling of matches.

He added: “I think that’s part of a worldwide issue at the moment. How much do you really want players to play and still expect maximum levels? That’s an issue worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Postecoglou has declined to enter the debate on the allocation of tickets for the Premier Sports Cup final between Celtic and Hibernian at Hampden on December 19.

Ross has confessed he is “baffled” and “astonished” that Hibs have only been offered 17,500 briefs as the national stadium holds 50,000 fans.

Potecoglou said: “Mate, there are many things I’d love to control, but ticket allocation isn’t one, I can guarantee.”