What are Scottish Premiership clubs doing for pre-season?

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Many Scottish Premiership teams fly out for pre-season

Passports were dusted and factor 50 sunscreen packed. Scottish Premiership clubs have departed for sunnier climes but grueling pre-season work rather than lazing on the beach awaits them.

With the SPFL matches for the 2022-23 season now out and the League Cup group matches looming on the horizon, getting in top shape for a busy schedule is the priority.

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

So who goes where and what sides will they face?

Aberdeen

Manager Jim Goodwin is overseeing his first pre-season at Aberdeen as the club try to improve on their dismal 10th place in the league last term.

The Dons will face Buckie Thistle in a friendly match on Saturday before leaving next week for a seven-day training camp in Spain.

Goodwin’s men also have a warm-up game against Brechin City (July 6) before opening their League Cup campaign at Peterhead on July 10.

Celtic

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

However, that chaos amid the failed 10-game 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 game will be the start of their Premiership defense at home to Aberdeen on July 31.

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

Back in Glasgow, Celtic will meet Blackburn Rovers on July 16 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 program against Norwich City at Celtic Park on July 23.

Dundee United

As one of Scotland’s European representatives, Dundee United are exempt from the League Cup first round.

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 take on Scott Brown’s Fleetwood Town on July 23.

Following their Premiership opener at Kilmarnock on July 30, United will contest the Europa Conference League third qualifying round first leg on August 4.

Hearts

The new season can’t come fast enough for Hearts, who have broken their season ticket sales record with 15,000 already sold in the feverish expectation of a guaranteed European football group stage.

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

Robbie Neilson’s side have a League Cup first-round bye and travel to Tranmere Rovers and Preston North End for friendlies on July 13 and July 20 respectively.

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

Hibernian

Hibs have entered their first pre-season under new manager Lee Johnson and will travel to the Algarve in late June/early July.

In Portugal, the Easter Road side will face Paul Hartley’s Hartlepool United (June 29) and Burton Albion (July 1) in friendlies.

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

Johnson’s side begin their Championship campaign at St Johnstone on July 30.

Kilmarnock

Back in the top flight after a year out, Championship winner Killie has already spent time training at Largs and will play his first League Cup game at Fraserburgh on July 9.

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

Livingston

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

David Martindale’s side begin their League Cup campaign against Albion Rovers on July 9.

Motherwell

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

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

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

Rangers

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

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

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

Ross County

The Staggies – with three new signings in tow – travel to Verona on Saturday for a week-long camp at a facility offering “seven pitches and also swimming pools, gymnasiums and therapy suites”. Fancy.

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

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

St. Johnstone

After narrowly avoiding relegation – a play-off win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle – St Johnstone travel 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, uh, Northern Ireland?

Manager Stephen Robinson is taking his side to his homeland for a training camp in Belfast, where they will face the Crusaders on June 27 and Linfield on July 2.

St Mirren’s season kicks off with a League Cup draw at home to Arbroath on 9 July.


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