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Should Scotland Change To Scandinavian Season Dates? 

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Striker Steven MacLean believes St Johnstone might not be struggling to remain in Europe if they were midway through their season.

Saints were beaten 2-1 by FK Trakai in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie on Thursday.

Trakai are 16 games into their season, while Saints had not played since May.

"I could say it doesn't matter that they've played games and we haven't, but you know what, it does help," MacLean told BBC Scotland.

Tommy Wright's Saints now face a struggle to overturn the deficit when they travel to Lithuania for Thursday's second leg.

"They've played 15-20 games, it's got to help, MacLean said. "If we're sitting here in 15 weeks' time having played 15 games we're going to be better than we were [in the first leg].

"It does affect things, but we're not using that as an excuse, whether there's ways round it, I'm not going to be the one who decides that.

"I think down the line, it's got to be addressed. However, we're a better side than we showed, though we're still confident we can go there and get something out of the game."In recent seasons, teams from Malta, Luxembourg and Gibraltar have all beaten Scottish top-flight opposition.

And MacLean says the start date of Scotland's season is impacting sides as they kick off their European campaigns before June is out.

"I don't know if we need to change the dates of the season," he added.

"Do we start sooner? Do we finish the season sooner? Do we go to summer football?

"I think something needs to be done because when we're playing these ties a lot of teams are undercooked.

"It's not an excuse, it's fact, they've played 15 games, we haven't so it's not a level playing field in Europe."


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A poor excuse for losing a very winnable tie. They need to look at their own preparation and training before blaming the entire country's schedule. Not the first time that At Johnstone have had an embarrassing European exit in recent years.

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