Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes fears the 12-month football calendar is leaving Scottish clubs under-prepared for competing in Europe.
The Dons will play fellow Europa League qualifiers St Johnstone at Glebe Park, Brechin, tomorrow in the final preparation match for both clubs before they go into their first qualifying round ties on Thursday.
Aberdeen travel to Macedonia to play KF Shkendija, while Saints face Armenian club Alashkert in Yerevan.
McInnes has prepared his side as best he can but believes the lack of time between campaigns is becoming an issue for Scottish clubs.
He said: “I’m hoping we will start to get a longer break and can have a more measured pre-season in the future. For us to bring the players back 23 days after the domestic season finishing has been tough.
“We want to help all Scottish clubs to progress and I understand the season running into June because of the national team. But every season is rolling into one and it is difficult for us to try to prepare properly. We haven’t done anything close to what a normal pre-season is like for our players.
“When I say I want a more measured pre-season I mean having the time to prepare for a new season properly by doing the work we should be.”
Dons attacker Niall McGinn will return to the side tomorrow after missing Wednesday’s 8-2 win against Brechin.
The forward is one of the players who has suffered most due to being on international duty with Northern Ireland in the last two summers and the Aberdeen manager has had to manage his rest and recovery carefully.
He said: “Niall flew back on Tuesday and returned to training yesterday. All being well he will be in the squad for Sunday.
“When he was with Northern Ireland he played in a closed-doors game against the Republic of Ireland and was part of the squad for the (Euro 2016) qualifier.
“He had a week off after the international games and due to the lack of time between the internationals and the new season we gave him 10 days of a break before the season ended.”
Despite the logistical issues facing his club McInnes hopes both he and St Johnstone counterpart Tommy Wright will benefit from a competitive fixture in Angus tomorrow.
He said: “It made sense to help each other out as it has been difficult to get games at this stage of pre-season.
“St Johnstone have been in Belfast, while we were grateful to Brechin to get a game even though it was early for them.
“They’ll be tough opposition for us as we will be for them.”