Murdo MacLeod, Scotland

‘Longer winter break required’ – MacLeod

By Craig Turnbull

Former Celtic and Scotland international Murdo MacLeod welcomed the proposed League Cup revamp but believes a longer winter break is required.

SPFL announced the changes to the format on Monday, with a two-week shutdown pencilled in, in the middle of January along with group stage competition and a bonus point system.

However, while MacLeod – who played with Borussia Dortmund in Germany where they have longer winter breaks – said he was relishing the League Cup shake-up, he feels a longer break in winter would help to reinvigorate the players.

“I’m looking forward to the League Cup revamp. I think change is positive and well worth looking for,” he said.

“The penalty kicks will be a fantastic end to a game if it’s up a draw.

“But the [winter break] is not long enough for me.

“It won’t really be a two-week break; it will just be three or four days. As a footballer, you don’t want your fitness to go down and if you’re a manager you’ll make sure it won’t go down.

“You’ll be looking to get a couple of games played so you’ll want to play a game within that two weeks.

“When I played in Germany we stopped December 10 through to January so it was a wee bit longer.

“It’s great you came back refreshed, you’d had a four-week break and you’re ready for a new start. It was like starting a new season again.

“No one was tired they were all fresh and ready for a new challenge. I think when we look at it, we need to try to expand the two weeks at some point.”

The SFA held their annual convention which focused on how to take Scotland forward, Macleod, who won 20 caps for Scotland believes it’s got to start at grass-roots level.

“We have to go back to the beginning and get our young kids working the way we want them to work,” he said.

“You’ve got to pick a plan and go down that line. You’ve got to teach young players the game not just their skill, you need to think about their attitude to the game and the shape.

“We’ve got so many players at 18, 19 and 20 who are good players. You’ve got to look at the kids just now at 7, 8, 9 these are the boys who play and love football and we need to start putting things into their minds about what they need to work hard on.”

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