By Wayne Veysey

30th Mar, 2020 | 12:16pm

New season return date to be announced as Celtic & Rangers title hopes iced - Sources

Scottish football set to follow the lead of England by announcing this week that matches will not resume before June as Celtic and Rangers title hopes are put on hold, Football Insider has learned.

The SFA is holding extensive talks behind the scenes after insisting the aim is to complete the fixture programme and fulfil broadcast contracts and contractual obligations.

A Scottish source has told Football Insider that the hope of football chiefs is to restart the season at the beginning of June and cram the remaining matches into a six or seven-week schedule.

This comes as the Premier League and EFL are set to announce a new return date after they meet later this week.

Officials have accepted that, with the country in lockdown and players only able to train alone, the current April 30 target is completely unrealistic.

There is an acceptance that teams would require at least three to four weeks of training in what would effectively be a new ‘pre-season’ before playing competitive matches.

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There will be dialogue between the Premier League and EFL this week, and an announcement about further delaying the season is likely to follow.

Scottish football is likely to fall in line with the plan from the top leagues south of the border, and announce similar intentions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced strict new curbs on UK life last week that placed the entire country in virtual lockdown for a minimum of three weeks, and there is a strong possibility that will be extended.

Celtic released a statement two weeks ago via chief executive Peter Lawwell insisting that “our strong preference is, of course, to complete all remaining matches” and that voiding the season would be too “severe”.

Rangers’ public stance is that the “final standings can only be confirmed when all games have been completed” and “any attempt to finish the season with a significant amount of games still to play, impacts upon the integrity of sport in Scotland”.

In other Rangers news, Darren Bent has urged Glasgow giants to seal Premier League deal as exit plan REVEALED.