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Scorn on the 23rd of July.

Byline: Gordon Waddell

PETER HOUSTON doesn't believe starting the SPL early on the 23rd of July will make a blind bit of difference to the Euro chances of Scottish teams.

But he DOES reckons a switch to summer football would.

The Dundee United boss will be the first SPL manager in the dugout in the new season when the Arabs face Slask Wroclaw on Thursday night.

And he admits he's a convert. He said: "I was never a great advocate of summer football before - I was always the old-fashioned type. But a few things have made me examine it in a different light. I look at the Irish league and see how well they've done and I have to say I'm now on board for the change.

"Our winters are getting more severe, we're being forced to play in stupid scenarios, our fans are suffering with call-offs and travelling in terrible weather and we're playing on diabolical pitches.

"I look at the amount of games we lost in the winter, I look at the stupid number of games we had to cram into the space of about 18 days and I don't think that benefits us as a nation."

And Houston doesn't believe simply tinkering with the start time of the season will help. He shrugged: "Would the start of July make a difference? We'd only be a fortnight in anyway.

"You either commit yourself to summer football or you don't.

"If we were to have a vote on it, I think I'd be a guy who would put his hand up for it, experiencing what we did last year.

"The irony is we played our best football when we were rammed with injuries and facing fixture congestion last season. We got momentum and won them all.

"But I feel if we did what the Irish have done it would benefit us in Europe early doors. And let's face it, our teams are always going to be playing early in these competitions. You have to be open-minded to change."

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Summer switch: Houston
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 10, 2011
Words:344
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