Football - McCall backs Celtic for late return

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall will be backing Celtic against Hibernian in the William Hill Scottish Cup final later this month as he looks to extend his club's close season.

PA Sport

The former Rangers midfielder has been confirmed as Clydesdale Bank Premier League manager of the season on the back of the Fir Park side's second-placed finish in the SPL which has brought with it a Europa League place.

Which qualifying round McCall's side will enter, and therefore which date they will return to pre-season, will be determined by Hibs' result against the SPL champions at Hampden in a fortnight's time.

If Pat Fenlon's side take the cup back to Leith for the first time in 111 years, they will enter the third qualifying round which starts on August 1.

If Hibs lose they will enter the second qualifying round on 18 July and Motherwell will enter the third qualifying round.

"We have a rough idea when we will go back," said McCall, ahead of the awards dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.

"Obviously when we go into Europe depends on the cup final result. If Celtic manage to beat Hibs we will go in a bit later.

"So it's possibly the first time I have ever been cheering Celtic on at a cup final. But we are all looking forward to Europe."

Acknowledging that keeper Darren Randolph is set to leave the Fir Park club with Birmingham favourites for his signature, McCall confirmed his interest in St Mirren number one Craig Samson.

"The boy Samson is on our radar but I will leave that to Gordon Marshall (goalkeeping coach), that is his specialist subject," he said.

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