CELTIC are seething with blundering SFA chief executive Stewart Regan who could torpedo their hopes of another £30million Champions League payment.
The Parkhead club are stunned with his decision to agree to a transatlantic money-making jaunt for Scotland to play friendlies against Peru and Mexico at the end of the season.
And it would appear ropy Regan made no effort to consult with the champions’ hierarchy before taking on the trip – even though as many as EIGHT of Brendan Rodgers’ players are likely to be named in the squad.
Hoops supremo Peter Lawwell is now set to write to the SFA board to demand an explanation as to why they have booked up to go on a tour of South and Central America at a time when his club’s players will be in need of rest with the team, barring a disaster, involved in next season’s Champions League qualifiers.
Celtic should receive strong support from players’ union bosses at PFA Scotland who are also unhappy with the timing of the planned trip.
The pressure is building on Regan who is already facing a grilling from his bosses after the embarrassment of Michael O’Neill knocking back his advances to take over from Gordon Strachan.
The Parkhead men are likely to ask the SFA board how and why such a punishing schedule can have been sanctioned or approved at a time when the national team has no manager.
This underlines the belief that the exercise has been signed off by Regan purely for financial gain rather than any valid football reasons.
The domestic scenes ends with the Scottish Cup Final on May 19 when the Hoops hope to complete a historic double treble.
But Rodgers and his squad were already facing a swift turnaround over the summer after a revamp of the Champions League qualifiers added another potential round of qualifiers to their schedule.
The early start means Celtic’s players could be reporting back for pre-season training in the second week of June.
But that would mean his eight Scotland internationals – Scott Brown, Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Leigh Griffiths, Stuart Armstrong, James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie – will be restricted to as little as a week-long summer break – unless they are excused from the SFA’s travelling party.
Scotland are due to face Peru in Lima on May 29 before flying to Mexico City to play the second friendly on June 2.
Rodgers will hope to gather his squad back at Lennoxtown on or around June 11 to begin preparations for an exhausting schedule of eight Euro qualifiers in eight weeks.
The first tie will take place on either July 10 or 11 with the return legs the following week. The second double-header will be staged on July 24/25 and July 31/August 1.
A third qualifying round will then be decided on August 7/8 and August 14/15 before the final play-off is staged over the dates of August 21/22 and August 28/29.
NEW CQN PODCAST OUT TONIGHT WITH THE ORIGINAL HOLY GOALIE, JOHN FALLON
Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham are joined by Lisbon Lion, John Fallon, at The Penalty Spot in Glasgow.
The Original Holy Goalie discusses pay disputes, bonus rows, cigarettes & alcohol at Seamill, breaking up The Lisbon Lions and The Quality Street Gang, the battle of Montevideo, his volatile relationship with Jock Stein, and he finally tells the full story behind his European Cup winners’ medal.
Order Jim Craig’s new Lisbon Lion Diary – Right Back to 67 from CQNBookstore.co.uk and you will receive a signed copy from the man himself plus a FREE copy of That Season in Paradise – Ten Months of Celtic Heaven signed by fellow Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld! Simply order Jim Craig – Right Back to 67 and the second book will be sent automatically. Stocks are running very low so hurry! THIS DEAL WILL END IN A FEW DAYS!