FREDERIC FRANS has urged Scottish football to follow Belgium’s lead by declaring Celtic champions and embracing Premiership reconstruction. 

The former Dundee United and Partick Thistle defender could become one of the major beneficiaries after the Jupiler Pro League chiefs sent shockwaves across Europe by becoming the first country to cancel their campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been recommended that Club Brugge are handed the title and that decision is set to be ratified by the Belgian FA general assembly on April 14.

Relegation and promotion issues will be ironed out at that crunch meeting but, under mooted plans, bottom club Waasland-Beveren would be spared, while second-tier sides OH Leuven and Beerschot - where Frans now plies his trade - are expected to go up. 

The Pro League would then be expanded from 16 to 18 clubs.

And Frans believes now is the perfect opportunity for Scottish football to follow suit.

Glasgow Times:

The 31-year-old said: “My team, Beerschot, reached the promotion playoff final against Leuven. We won the home game 1-0 but we cannot play the second leg because of the virus.

“But it looks like, based on the suggestions this week, that both teams are going to get promoted and no team will be relegated from the top-flight.  

“So, we would go from 16 teams to 18 teams and I don’t think there will be many unhappy people. 

“If you look at the league in Scotland, it is very similar. Let’s be honest, Celtic have won the league - so just say so. 

“Dundee United have won the Championship so they should come up. 

“But it would be so harsh to relegate Hearts, so why not look at reconstruction? It’s a great chance to be brave and shake up the league - go from 12 to 14 teams.”

Club Brugge were 15 points clear of nearest challengers Gent with one game to play before the league splits into a top six, and Frans is adamant there were scant dissenting voices when the decision to crown them champions was made. 

He reckons it should be the same in Scotland - even if the intensity of the Glasgow rivalry complicates matters. 

Frans continued: “We have no rivalry like Celtic and Rangers in Belgium so, although there will be a few people who say ‘no, this is not a full season, it does not count’, 90 per cent will accept it. 

“All of Belgian football can see Club Brugge is well ahead of the rest, surely Scotland must accept that about Celtic?

“If Rangers were two points behind, you could say ‘everything is still to play for’. But that’s not true.”

Glasgow Times:

Should Dundee United and Beerschot win promotion due to the cancellation of their respective campaigns, Frans concedes some of the ‘magic’ will have been lost. 

However, he will still still toast a double celebration. 

Speaking from his apartment near Antwerp, where he is now 21 days into lockdown, Frans added: “In my view, Dundee United are the champions and they will be a great addition to the Premiership. 

“I’ve really enjoyed seeing the changes in Dundee United and, since I left in 2019, they are a very different football club. They have quality players, the fans are behind them and there is so much positivity. 

“I saw the a recent Dundee derby and the passion of the supporters and thought ‘this is big!’

“Imagine them back in the top-flight, with a good owner; they have all the potential.”