Kenny Shiels urges SPL bosses to give Celtic a break

Kenny Shiels has criticised SPL bosses for scheduling Celtic to play tomorrow at lunchtime.

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Fresh from their midweek Champions League exertions in which they booked their place in the last 16, Neil Lennon's Hoops travel to Kilmarnock for a 12.30pm kick-off.

And Shiels believes that if we want SPL teams to prosper in European football, they have to be given a helping hand.

"I think it is unfair to expect them to come and play here at lunchtime," he said. "I also thought it was unfair to have them play against Arbroath in the Scottish Cup last weekend.

"The bottom line is that they are our representatives in Europe. The league should be proud of them for going through into the final 16 of the Champions League – the most prestigious tournament there is in European football.

"I would say the same for any team – we need to be helping them and encouraging them to progress in every way – and I am not sure that playing so quickly after a game of that magnitude is fair. It might have been better to have scheduled it for Sunday."

While Celtic have been excellent in Europe, their domestic form has not been as convincing.

Yet, while they have appeared vulnerable going into games on the back of big European nights, Shiels was dismissive of any criticisms of the Parkhead side.

"It's nonsense to say they are vulnerable in the league," he said. "The last time I looked they were sitting at the top, so I am not so sure I understand where people are coming from. They have also been excellent away from home."

Meanwhile, Shiels claimed he could ignore Manuel Pascali's suspension and field the Italian against Celtic.

His comments were tongue-in-cheek, but he is seething that Pascali's appeal over his red card against St Johnstone was rejected, while Queen of the South's Stephen McKenna was successful over his dismissal for a foul on Borja Perez last weekend.

"I just don't understand it at all," said Shiels. "To me, McKenna's tackle is far more dangerous than Pascali's. I'm going to speak to my chairman today and see how high we can go with this because it seems to me an injustice has been done."

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