As UEFA stretch their season into an 12 month round marathon Callum McGregor will attempt to give his body a rest.
Last night in Brussels he played his 69th match of the season as Scotland lost 3-0 to Belgium in a European Championship qualifier. The midfielder started his season by scoring away to Alashkert on July 10.
McGregor had a brief spell out injured at the end of February but his marathon season worked out at playing a match every five days. With Celtic and Scotland there weren’t many matches that he could cruise through.
As he celebrates his 26th birthday on Thursday there is a real prospect that next season could be even longer with Scotland needing to win two play-off matches at Hampen to book a place at next summer’s European Championship Finals.
The group stages of the Euro’s will be played between June 12 and 24 with matches scheduled for Hampden, Wembley, Munich, Dublin, St Petersburg and Baku among other venues.
Celtic have already seen the impact of wear and tear on Kieran Tierney and will have to be very careful with McGregor’s ‘close season’.
A generation ago after six or seven weeks off players would be put through hard physical pre-season training before seeing a ball as they build up to the new season.
Celtic’s first match is on July 9/10, giving McGregor the remainder of June off before easing him back towards match fitness for that Champions League qualifier.