PETER LAWWELL will lead the charge to get Scottish football back in operation at the start of August.
The Celtic chief executive has welcomed the decision by the Scottish Government for socially-distancing training a week on Thursday as the champions prepare for their tilt at a record-breaking TENTH successive title.
The Hoops have called for the Premiership fixture list to be issued as soon as possible. The schedule is usually released in mid-June, but that might not be possible this year given the lack of clarity over the size of the top flight and dates for European competition.
A Celtic statement read: “Following Friday’s meeting involving Scottish Government and footballing authorities and subsequent announcement by Scottish football’s joint response group, Celtic Football Club welcomes the proposed timetable set out in order to resume first-team training and matches.
“We have been given a targeted return date for player training of June 11, 2020 with Scottish Premiership matches hoped to commence on August 1, 2020.
“Celtic has been working tirelessly to do all we can to assist in achieving a return to football and we would hope the SPFL are in a position as soon as possible, to issue the fixture calendar for the forthcoming season.”
Parkhead supremo Lawwell, who took part in Friday’s talks, remarked: “I would like to also thank all our medical, safety and operations staff at Celtic and those across football for the extensive work they have done in striving for a safe return for us all.
“Celtic has, for some time, been engaging with relevant experts in this field – knowledge and guidance which we have shared with the joint response group, other Scottish clubs and the Scottish Government in order to support a safe, effective and quick return to football.
“Clearly, the important work we have done will be crucial as we move forward. We need to get back to football, safely, as soon as possible. That is our message and that is our aim.
“Our supporters are everything to us and our focus, ultimately, will be to do all we can to bring our fans back to matches as soon as we can.
“Our promise is to work as hard as we can to get our fans back to Celtic Park, to liaise closely with Government and the footballing authorities to find solutions and return to normal as soon as possible.
“The majority of leagues across Europe are back training, some already playing and many already with agreements in place to bring supporters back to matches.
“We can assure our fans that this will also be Celtic’s priority.”
Boss Lennon added: “While the crisis we have all faced has put life and football on hold, our work behind the scenes, to do all we can to return to training and, of course, matches, as soon as possible, has continued throughout. This is what we all want, but we need to do it safely.
“The health and well-being of our supporters, players and staff will always be our priority and while nothing should ever compromise this, we will do all we can to get football back and reunite with our fans as soon as possible.
“Our work off the pitch never stops and since the suspension of football was announced, we have been ensuring that our players have all they need across all areas in terms of their physical condition and all other elements of their welfare. We never stand still so we are ready to go as soon as we get the green light.
“We have been putting programmes in place for a return to some form of training, looking at our plans and objectives for next season and, as always, have continued to look at identifying new player targets and ways we can develop our squad.
“Clearly, we continue to face a difficult and serious situation, but our fans can rest assured that we are doing all we can within the guidelines laid down to get back to doing what we do best, as soon as possible.
“I would like to thank our fans for staying with us. Hopefully you are still enjoying the celebrations from our ninth title in a row. Like you, we want to get back to business as soon as we can.”
Celtic, who were leading the league by 13 points with eight games to play, were awarded their ninth consecutive title by the SPFL hierarchy when it became evident football could not recommence due to the coronavirus pandemic.