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ANALYSIS: Finally reaching the Europa League groups this season would mean Aberdeen players wouldn’t have a free midweek until 2021

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes.

Aberdeen are facing fixture chaos as the outstanding Premiership matches begin to stack up.

The loss of three Premiership games due to eight players being in isolation after two tested positive following a trip to the city centre together has added to an already busy run of games for Derek McInnes and his players.

The Press and Journal has conducted a thorough examination of the fixture list and it is clear the Dons could be facing a fixture headache as their European and domestic cup commitments threaten to impact on an already disrupted campaign. It is clear reaching the group stages will have major repercussions domestically.

Reaching the group stages this year could create a fixture nightmare for Aberdeen.

The first of the three postponed matches, the trip to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone, which was due to be played last weekend, has been rescheduled for Thursday.

But when the two games postponed this week – Wednesday’s home match against Hamilton and tomorrow’s trip to Celtic – will be rescheduled for is unclear – and the number of outstanding matches will increase.

Aberdeen’s Europa campaign gets under way on Thursday August 27. Should McInnes’s men reach the group stages, they will not have a free midweek for the rest of 2020.

September midweek dates are taken by the international break and the second and third qualifying rounds of the Europa League, while October is full due to three European club dates and another international break.

The Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic will be played on the weekend of October 31 and November 1, which means – yet again – another Dons league fixture will have to be rescheduled, the planned trip to Hamilton that weekend.

You cannot help but feel the SPFL will be secretly hoping the Dons do not reach the group stages of the Europa League as, not only will an extended run in Europe take up several free midweek dates, the schedule will add to the number of outstanding fixtures for McInnes’s men.

Matchday three of the Europa League is scheduled for November 5 before another international break followed by three consecutive midweek Europa League matches.

December 17 is a date where no European football is planned, but that has been earmarked for the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup and with domestic matches scheduled for December 23 and 30 it takes us into 2021 before they can be played.

If your head hurts just processing this then bear in mind there could be one final sting in the tail too – yet another league match will need to be rescheduled in the event Aberdeen beat Celtic in their Scottish Cup semi and reach the final.

We discussed the potential fixture headache on this week’s Northern Goal podcast:

The delayed showpiece at Hampden has been pencilled in for Sunday, December 20. If Aberdeen reach the final, then their trip to Kilmarnock on December 19 will of course be postponed.

Look on the bright side – if all these matches are delayed until 2021 then it increases your chances of being able to watch them in person.

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