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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 1, 2009

Rangers boss Smith calls for calendar change

Rangers boss Walter Smith has called for a switch to summer football to prevent more European embarrassment for Scottish clubs.

Celtic were first to suffer on Wednesday night when they lost 1-0 to Dinamo Moscow in the first leg of their Champions League third-round qualifier at Parkhead.

The following night Aberdeen were on the wrong end of a 5-1 Europa League qualifying drubbing at home to Sigma Olomouc in the first leg of their third qualifier and Motherwell crashed 3-0 to Steaua Bucharest in Romania in the same competition.

In the previous qualifying round, Falkirk's first foray into European competition was brought to an abrupt halt by an extra-time defeat by Vaduz in Liechtenstein.

While Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith called has again called for a move to summer football, Celtic boss Tony Mowbray is in favour of the status quo.

But the Ibrox boss said: ''We need to look at moving the season forward. This kind of thing has been mooted before and we keep talking about it in Scotland but never seem to do anything about it.

''It is something that would help our clubs in terms of preparation for these early European games.

''I feel a little bit sorry for the two clubs who were involved on Thursday as they both have new managers who are just in the door.

''Motherwell especially have lost an awful lot of players and at Aberdeen Mark McGhee is trying to put his own stamp on the team.

''But these teams are having to deal with that and play their first games of the season in Europe. We suffer because of that - especially when you're up against teams who have already played a good number of games.

''It would mean starting the season earlier and also having a winter break, which is another thing that has been talked about.

''If this is helpful to any of the clubs playing in Europe then it's something we should consider seriously.

''Over the next few years even the champions and the second placed teams will have to play earlier in the season and if this could help them - and help our coefficient - then it would be a good thing.''

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