Celtic manager Neil Lennon says there is “no respite” for his players as they look to try and book their place in group stage of the Champions League.
The Bhoys, who are priced at 1.33 to win the Premiership again in 2019-20, won their eighth successive title in 2018-19 but still aren’t guaranteed a berth in the Champions League group stage.
They must work their way through four rounds of qualifying before joining some of the biggest names in world football in the competition proper. Indeed, Celtic kick off their Champions League campaign on July 9 with a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina to face FK Sarajevo.
A run of eight games across eight weeks means Celtic must get up to speed as soon as possible and Lennon feels it’s unfair on his players.
Lennon said: “The eight games in eight weeks schedule is ridiculous. That’s almost a quarter of a season before a ball has hardly been kicked in the Premiership.
“We’ve touched on this for years and there is no benefit for any team. “There is no respite at all for the players – it’s very difficult.
Despite criticising the raft of fixtures on the horizon, Lennon admits they must roll their sleeves up to ensure they get the reward of playing on the European stage.
“But I can’t think of the European qualifiers as being arduous. We have to take it on,” he said. “We have to plan as best we can for games and get our heads around it.
“The rewards are great if we get there – for everyone, not just Celtic. “It’s great for the Scottish game and I would really love to do it again.”