CELTIC and the rest of Scottish football have been told by the SFA the season has been suspended further until June 10 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That will be the earliest date for players to be allowed to train in a group. Football, in that situation, would be unlikely to resume in competitive form until July 22 at least.
Effectively, the statement from the game’s soccer rulers has brought this campaign to a premature end.
The eight-in-a-row champions beat St Mirren 5-0 on on March 7 before the game came to an emergency halt six days later with the Hoops 13 points ahead in the Premiership with only eight games to play.
An SFA statement read: “[The board] has unanimously agreed to extend the suspension at all levels of the game from professional to recreational until at least June 10.
“The board had initially suspended football until further notice and with a stipulation of April 30 at the earliest, in order to give member clubs greater certainty on player welfare and wellbeing, as well as financial clarity.
“Since the announcement on March 19, the Joint Response Group has received daily updates from the Scottish FA’s Medical Consultant, Dr John MacLean, based on his discussions with medical colleagues in Scotland and the United Kingdom, as well as within UEFA and the World Health Organisation.”
The extension follows a video conference call last night to assess the latest government medical advice and discuss potential next steps for the game in this country.
It comes as SPFL clubs outwith the top flight are set to vote by five o’clock tonight on whether to end their season.
SFA president Rod Petrie, in a report on Sky Sports News, said: “We are grateful to Dr John MacLean for his input to the Joint Response Group and to the Scottish FA board.
“The message is very clear: the government restrictions introduced to save lives must be adhered to and there is no prospect of an early resumption of training let alone organised football in Scotland for several weeks.
“The decision to suspend all football until at least June 10 is to help clubs ensure the safety and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters as well as take steps to mitigate their costs.
“Scottish football applauds everyone working within NHS Scotland and the care sector and should place no additional burden at a time when their resources are being tested to the limit because of COVID-19.”