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11:28:47 PM
Celtic oppose extension to season
Peter Lawwell believes any delay would damage the SPL
Celtic would "strongly oppose" any extension of the Scottish Premier League season, the club's chief executive has warned.

Peter Lawwell was speaking as the SPL announced the date of Celtic's re-arranged fixture against title rivals Rangers amid fixture congestion.

"Clearly, an extension is something which we would be strongly opposed to," he said.

"Thankfully, it seems the integrity of the league will not be threatened."

Lawwell suggested that the SPL would be damaged "by playing any more games away from home stadia or by extending the season".

Celtic will on Sunday face Gretna at Livingston's Almondvale Stadium after problems at Fir Park, Motherwell, where the south of Scotland side are tenants.

The SPL have had a very testing time and we appreciate all they have done in trying to re-schedule matches

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell

Following eight postponed games in two months, hosts Motherwell have undertaken work to improve the playing surface and drainage.

Rangers' midweek Scottish Cup quarter-final draw with Partick Thistle has further exacerbated the Ibrox club's fixture backlog.

Walter Smith's side, who last weekend won the CIS Insurance Cup, are also still involved in the Uefa Cup.

But Lawwell is pleased that SPL chiefs Iain Blair and Lex Gold, have so far resisted any extension of the season despite receiving some criticism for the fixture pile-up.

"We're glad that the fixtures have been confirmed and are pleased that our game against Rangers has been set for Celtic Park on 16 April," said the Celtic chief executive.

"It is also likely that our match against Motherwell will be played on 12 April at Fir Park.

"We clearly sympathise with the inconvenience supporters have experienced this season due to fixture cancellations and re-scheduling.

"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank both Iain Blair and Lex Gold for all their efforts during this difficult period.

"They have had a very testing time and we appreciate all they have done in trying to re-schedule matches."

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