Many Scottish Premiership teams are jetting off to pre-season
The passports are dusted off and the factor 50 sunscreen packed. Scottish Premiership clubs are headed for sunnier climes, but a grueling pre-season drudgery awaits them rather than lazing on the beach.
With SPFL games now due for the 2022-23 season and League Cup group games looming on the horizon, getting in top shape for a hectic schedule is a priority.
The new season is just weeks away and for most top clubs this summer will be their first pre-season abroad since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
So who is going where and what pages will they encounter?
Manager Jim Goodwin is overseeing his first Aberdeen pre-season as the club look to improve on a dismal 10th place in the league last season.
The Dons meet Buckie Thistle in a friendly on Saturday before heading to Spain for a seven-day training camp next week.
Goodwin’s side also have a warm-up game against Brechin City (6 July) before opening their League Cup season in Peterhead on 10 July.
Celtic’s last trip abroad for a training camp – the infamous one Mid season to Dubai in January 2021 – is about as catastrophic as it gets.
However, that chaos amidst the failed 10-in-a-row offering is now a distant memory and the championship title has been reclaimed. The Scottish champions have no League Cup or European Cup qualifiers to tackle meaning their first competitive game will be the start of their Premiership defense at home against Aberdeen on July 31.
Ange Postecoglou’s side will travel to Austria for 10 days early next month and play games on July 6 and 9, the latter reportedly against Rapid Vienna, and then play Banik Ostrava in the Czech Republic on July 13.
Back in Glasgow, Celtic meet Blackburn Rovers on July 16 before paying tribute to iconic hero, former goalkeeper Artur Boruc, in a friendly against Legia Warsaw in Poland four days later.
Postecoglou’s men complete their pre-season program at Celtic Park on July 23 against Norwich City.
As one of Scotland’s European representatives, Dundee United are released from duty in the first round of the League Cup.
United, who appointed Jack Ross as head coach on Monday, are planning a short pre-season tour and will play two games behind closed doors in early July.
Alex Neil’s Sunderland travel to Tannadice for a friendly on July 16 – then United meet Scott Brown’s Fleetwood Town away on July 23.
After their Premiership opener at Kilmarnock on 30 July, United play the first leg of the Europa Conference League third qualifying round on 4 August.
The new season can’t come soon enough for Hearts, who have broken their season ticket sales record with 15,000 season tickets already sold in feverish anticipation of the guaranteed group stage of European football.
To get in top form, the Europa League play-off contenders will train in Malaga for the last week of June and face Europa on June 30 against Gibraltar. A friendly at East Fife will follow on July 5th.
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 friendlies on 13 and 20 July respectively.
They start the league at home against Ross County on July 30 and the first leg of the playoffs on August 18.
Hibs have started their first pre-season under new coach Lee Johnson and will travel to the Algarve in late June/early July.
In Portugal, Easter Road’s side meet Paul Hartley’s Hartlepool United (29 June) and Burton Albion (1 July) in friendlies.
The Hibs open their League Cup season at home against Clyde on July 9 and host Norwich City in a friendly on July 24.
Johnson’s side begin their league campaign at St Johnstone on July 30th.
After a year’s absence, Championship winners Killie returned to the top flight, already training at Largs and playing his first League Cup game away at Fraserburgh on 9 July.
Before that, behind closed doors, they meet Queen of the South (June 21), Falkirk away (June 24), Lincoln Red Imps (June 28) and Charlton Athletic (July 1), both in Spain, at home, as well as Dunfermline Athletic away on July 5th.
Premiership star Livi will train in Murcia, Spain later this month before meeting Greenock Morton and Linlithgow Rose in friendlies on July 2 and 5 at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
David Martindale’s side start their League Cup away at Albion Rovers on July 9th.
A flying start is Motherwell’s goal as they seek to break new ground by reaching the European groups for the first time.
Europa Conference League qualifiers travel to Obertraun, Austria in early July, with pre-season games yet to be confirmed.
The Steelmen meet Bala Town or Sligo Rovers in the first leg of the second qualifying round on July 21.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Scottish Cup winners will be in the Algarve next month and face Sunderland in Portugal on July 9.
Back in Britain, the Premier League runners-up visit Blackpool on July 16 and host David Moyes’ West Ham United on July 19 before Tottenham Hotspur visit Ibrox four days later.
After starting the league away from Livingston on July 30, Rangers will play the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round on August 2 or 3.
The Staggies – with three signings in tow – fly to Verona on Saturday for a week-long camp at a facility with “seven pitches plus pools, gyms and therapy suites”. Chic.
After their return, Malky Mackay’s men meet Brora Rangers away in a pre-season friendly on July 6.
County opens its League Cup season on July 9, also away, against Buckie Thistle.
After narrowly avoiding relegation – a play-off win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle – St Johnstone travel to Murcia this weekend to prepare for the new season.
Back in Perth, they host Cove Rangers in a friendly on July 9th and start the League Cup at home against Annan Athletic on July 12th.
Who needs sunny Spain when you can have Northern Ireland?
Coach Stephen Robinson takes his side to his home country for a training camp in Belfast, where they face Crusaders on June 27 and Linfield on July 2.
St Mirren’s season begins with a home League Cup game against Arbroath on 9 July.