By Wayne Veysey

24th Mar, 2020 | 9:08am

New season return date revealed as Celtic & Rangers title hopes on ice - Sources

The Scottish season is not expected to resume before June as Celtic and Rangers title hopes are put on ice, Football Insider has learned.

The SFA has ruled out the possibility of voiding the season and insisted the aim is to complete the fixture programme and fulfil broadcast contracts and contractual obligations.

A Scottish source has told Football Insider that extensive discussions have been held behind the scenes about recommencing the season at the beginning of June and cramming the remaining matches into a six or seven-week schedule.

That would see the campaign continue into possibly the third week of July and nearly two months beyond its initial scheduled completion point.

Under this plan, ‘pre-season’ programmes would start at the beginning of May, with players going back to their normal routines at training grounds.

In the meantime, players at elite clubs including Celtic and Rangers will be confined to training alone at home and following individual tailored fitness programmes.

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The Scottish leagues’ run-ins would be in line with that of the Premier League and the other English leagues as ruling bodies make plans behind the scenes over how to finish the campaign in line with updated government rules over dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced strict new curbs on UK life last night that placed the entire country in virtual lockdown for a minimum of three weeks, preventing social gatherings of more than two people at one time.

Celtic released a statement last week via chief executive Peter Lawwell insisting they are looking for “a fair and reasonable solution” to the league campaign.

Manager Neil Lennon has said that Celtic should be declared champions if the campaign is not completed.

But Lawwell explained 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”.

Ibrox chiefs have also been active behind the scenes to keep the pressure on the SPFL, which runs all the professional Scottish leagues and cups, and the SFA.

In other Rangers news, Football Insider have delivered a major update on the club’s hopes of signing Ianis Hagi permanently this summer.