What are Scottish Premiership clubs doing for pre-season?



An aeroplane in the background of some houses
Many Scottish Premiership teams are jetting off for pre-season

The passports have been dusted off and the factor 50 sunblock packed. Scottish Premiership clubs are off to sunnier climes, but it’s a gruelling pre-season slog rather than lazing on the beach that awaits.

With SPFL fixtures for season 2022-23 now out and League Cup group games looming on the horizon, getting into tip-top shape for a hectic schedule is the priority.

The new campaign is barely weeks away and, for the majority of top-flight clubs, this summer will be the first pre-season abroad since before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in 2020.

So who is going where and which sides will they be facing?

Aberdeen

Manager Jim Goodwin oversees his first Aberdeen pre-season as the club bid to improve on last term’s dismal 10th-place league finish.

The Dons will have a week’s training camp in Spain before friendly matches with Buckie Thistle (25 June) and Brechin City (6 July).

They open their League Cup campaign away to Peterhead on 10 July.

Celtic

Celtic’s last trip abroad for a training camp – the infamous mid-season break to Dubai in January 2021 – is about as calamitous as it gets.

However, that chaos amid the failed 10-in-a-row bid is now a distant memory and the league title has been reclaimed. The Scottish champions have no League Cup or European qualifiers to contend with, meaning their first competitive match will be the beginning of their Premiership defence at home to Aberdeen on 31 July.

Ange Postecoglou’s side will travel to Austria for a 10-day stay early next month and play matches on 6 and 9 July, the latter reportedly against Rapid Vienna, then face Banik Ostrava in the Czech Republic on 13 July.

Back in Glasgow, Celtic will meet Blackburn Rovers on 16 July before paying tribute to their cult hero former goalkeeper, Artur Boruc, in a friendly with Legia Warsaw in Poland four days later.

Postecoglou’s men complete their pre-season programme against Norwich City at Celtic Park on 23 July.

Dundee United

As one of Scotland’s European representatives, Dundee United are excused from League Cup first-round duty.

United, who appointed Jack Ross as head coach on Monday, are planning a short pre-season tour and will play two closed doors games in early July.

Alex Neil’s Sunderland travel to Tannadice for a friendly on 16 July – then United face Scott Brown’s Fleetwood Town away on 23 July.

After their Premiership opener away to Kilmarnock on 30 July, United play in the Europa Conference League third qualifying round first leg on 4 August.

Hearts

The new season can’t come quickly enough for Hearts, who have smashed their season-ticket sales record with 15,000 already sold in fevered anticipation of guaranteed group-stage European football.

To get themselves in peak shape, the Europa League play-off participants will spend the last week of June training in Malaga and play Gibraltar side Europa on 30 June. A friendly away to East Fife on 5 July follows.

Robbie Neilson’s side have a bye in the first round of the League Cup and will visit Tranmere Rovers and Preston North End for friendly matches on 13 and 20 July respectively.

They start their league campaign at home to Ross County on 30 July, with the first leg of their play-off on 18 August.

Hibernian

Hibs have started their first pre-season under new manager Lee Johnson and will head to the Algarve for the end of June/start of July.

While in Portugal, the Easter Road side will take on Paul Hartley’s Hartlepool United (29 June) and Burton Albion (1 July) in friendly matches.

Hibs then open their League Cup campaign at home to Clyde on 9 July and host Norwich City in a friendly on 24 July.

Johnson’s side begin their league campaign away to St Johnstone on 30 July.

Kilmarnock

Returning to the top-flight after a year’s absence, Championship winners Killie have already spent time training in Largs and play their first League Cup match away to Fraserburgh on 9 July.

Prior to that, they will face Queen of the South behind closed doors at home (21 June), Falkirk away (24 June), Lincoln Red Imps (28 June) and Charlton Athletic (1 July), both in Spain, plus Dunfermline Athletic away on 5 July.

Livingston

Premiership stalwarts Livi will spend time training in Murcia, Spain, late this month before meeting Greenock Morton and Linlithgow Rose in friendlies at Tony Macaroni Arena on 2 and 5 July.

David Martindale’s side start their League Cup campaign away to Albion Rovers on 9 July.

Motherwell

A flying start is Motherwell’s aim as they attempt to break new ground by reaching the European groups for the first time.

The Europa Conference League qualifiers will travel to Obertraun, Austria, in early July, with pre-season matches still to be confirmed.

The Steelmen take on Bala Town or Sligo Rovers in the second qualifying round first leg on 21 July.

Rangers

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Scottish Cup winners will be in the Algarve next month and play Sunderland on 9 July in Portugal.

Back in the UK, the Premiership runners-up visit Blackpool on 16 July then host David Moyes’ West Ham United on 19 July before Tottenham Hotspur visit Ibrox four days later.

After starting their league campaign on 30 July away to Livingston, Rangers will play the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round on 2 or 3 August.

Ross County

The Staggies – with three new signings in tow – are jetting out to Verona on Saturday for a week-long camp at a facility boasting “seven pitches and also pools, gyms and therapy suites”. Fancy.

Upon their return, Malky Mackay’s men will take on Brora Rangers in a pre-season friendly away on 6 July.

County open their League Cup campaign, also away from home, against Buckie Thistle on 9 July.

St Johnstone

Having avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth – a play-off win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle – St Johnstone are off to Murcia this weekend to prepare for the new campaign.

Once back in Perth, they host Cove Rangers in a friendly on 9 July and start their League Cup campaign at home to Annan Athletic on 12 July.

St Mirren

Who needs sunny Spain when you can have, er, Northern Ireland?

Manager Stephen Robinson takes his squad to his homeland for a training camp in Belfast, where they face Crusaders on 27 June and Linfield on 2 July.

St Mirren’s season gets under way with a League Cup tie at home to Arbroath on 9 July.





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