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About this blog

Looking for some insight and debate about Scottish football? Don't get your hopes up. If you want to hear from a cynical, whinging Caley Thistle fan, on the other hand, you're in luck...

Entries in this blog

Picking Scotland's Euro 2024 squad...again

Steve Clarke has till 6 June to name his Euro 2024 squad. We had a go at predicting it all the way back in November; since then UEFA have confirmed that 26 players can be named - just like at the last Euros - and we have lost Lewis Ferguson to an ACL injury. Here's who I think Clarke will pick, with my thoughts. I'm not expecting any 'October surprises' so there's no Harvey Barnes or Tino Livramento here, sadly... GOALKEEPERS On the plane: Angus Gunn, Craig Gordon, Zander Clark Missing out:

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

Worst signings of the 2023/24 Premiership season (part 2)

Here's part 1, the countdown from 25 to 11. And here's the top 10. Who will succeed Anthony Stewart as the 'winner'? 10. RILEY HARBOTTLE (HIBERNIAN)According to Harbottle, he was so strongly encouraged to join Hibs by then-Forest teammate Scott McKenna that McKenna "seemed more excited about it than I was". I wouldn't take advice from him in the future, Riley. Harbottle joined Hibs on a three year deal for "an undisclosed fee", made one league appearance (a defeat at home to Livingston) and di

Worst signings of the 2023/24 Premiership season (part 1)

Ah, it's that time of year again. I don't have much time for blogging these days, but I will always try and make an exception for this. The eleven previous 'winners' of our Worst Signing award: 2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock) 2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren) 2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County) 2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United) 2016/17: Joey Barton (Rangers) 2017/18: Eduardo Herrera (Rangers) 2018/19: Umar Sadiq (Rangers) 2019/20: Madis Vihmann (St. Johnstone) 2020/21: Shane Duff

Picking Scotland's Euro 2024 squad

It's still more than six months until Euro 2024, and the draw hasn't even been made yet. So of course it's far, far too early to think about who will be in Steve Clarke's squad for the finals. But I'm not going to let that stop me. Rather than just list twenty-three names (current info suggests that the squad size will be cut back to what it was before Covid and Euro 2020), I'm going to break things down by position and look at what options there are, as well as who is most likely to be on the p

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

Dodds was a symptom of Caley Thistle's problems - and this is their last chance to fix them

Maybe it was the realisation that Billy Dodds couldn't even beat Raith Rovers that was the end of him. For what it's worth, Caley Thistle only lost to a late goal away from home to a club who went top of the Championship as a result of their victory. And by all accounts the visitors put on their best performance of the season and squandered numerous chances of their own. But Inverness had this absolutely mental record against Rovers where in twenty-three years and thirty-four competitive match

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2023/24 Scottish Premiership preview

The Premiership increasingly feels like three separate leagues due to the vast financial disparities...so that's how I'm going to treat it for this season's preview... THE OLD FIRM/GLASGOW DERBY (delete as applicable) TIER  (Finishing outwith the top two, or even less than ten points ahead of third should result in manager and entire squad being hanged, drawn and quartered) CELTIC: they say you should never go back, but for Brendan Rodgers I think an exception can be made. Celtic can be pret

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2023/24 Scottish Championship preview

God, I hate the Scottish Championship. My club have been stuck in this particular circle of hell since 2017 and I'm desperate for us to get out of it. And the more time that passes the more likely it is that my wish will be granted...but with a move downward rather than up. After all there's always someone worse off than you...and it's Falkirk. The usual script for this league is as follows; one club has a decent financial advantage over all the others, and that club gets promoted. The last co

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2023/24 Scottish League One Preview

Whereas in League Two the difference in budget between richest and poorest is pretty minimal, League One has four clubs who are full time - Cove Rangers, Falkirk, Hamilton Accies and Queen of the South - and six clubs who savour bloodying their noses regularly. So while I make no apology for my choice of the top four it is quite easy to see it going spectacularly wrong for each of them. Take FALKIRK, for example. It's like the Bairns have been given a special demotivational plaque by Mr Burns.

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2023/24 Scottish League Two preview

With no moneybags team in League Two right now it's decidedly harder to predict who is going to win it. Last season I suggested Forfar Athletic, who ended up looking like relegation candidates until they changed manager. Having a good (or terrible) boss, or being the team with the striker that scores twenty goals are the sort of factors that can have an exponential effect at this level. And so we segue rather clumsily straight onto ELGIN CITY, who nearly finished bottom last season and have ma

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

The sixteenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team Of The Year (part 2)

I said I'd get it done 'eventually', didn't I? CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS: CALLUM MCGREGOR (CELTIC), REO HATATE (CELTIC) Honourable mentions: Leighton Clarkson (Aberdeen), Ylber Ramadani (Aberdeen), Cammy Devlin (Heart of Midlothian), Ryan Jack (Rangers), Keanu Baccus (St. Mirren), Mark O'Hara (St. Mirren) I desperately wanted to not flood the team with Celtic players. And reader, I failed miserably. Trying to shoehorn anyone in ahead of McGregor and Hatate here would have made me a laughing stock.

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

The sixteenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team Of The Year (part 1)

I've done this every year for sixteen years, and to be honest it's never felt more like a chore. When you don't have any skin in the game - that's six years Caley Thistle have been stuck in the Championship - it becomes even harder to be motivated by watching Celtic and Rangers pump everybody. It's also more difficult than ever to pick players from other clubs for this XI, because I'm very close to crossing the 'taking the p***' line' by doing so. Still, I've tried my best. For historical reco

Worst signings of the 2022/23 Premiership season (part 2)

Top ten time! Here's the countdown from 25 to 11, if you missed it. 10. JOHN SOUTTAR (RANGERS) There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and John Souttar getting injured. Inevitably Soapy got crocked on his Rangers debut and was missing for eight months; giving him an Old Firm game at Celtic Park for his first start felt like a disaster waiting to happen and so it proved with the centre-back gifting a goal with a dreadful backpass. Rangers need a reliable partner for Connor Goldson; Sou

Worst signings of the 2022/23 Premiership season (part 1)

So I don't have the time to blog much these days. But this series has been going on since 2012/13 and I'm worried that the world will end if I stop. Also, people tend to enjoy it; there's something so very Scottish Football about fans complaining that their team's duffer isn't at the top of my list. The ten previous winners, by the way: 2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock) 2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren) 2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County) 2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United) 2016/17:

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

The state of Scottish football going into 2023

At one end of the scale, Scottish football finances are in rude health. Celtic and Rangers both reached the promised land of the Champions League group stages this season, which means megabucks. Whilst Rangers have had some interesting spending habits over much of the last decade, this along with the sale of Calvin Bassey will surely leave them no longer dependent on the riches of Douglas Park. But 2023 could be a very difficult year for a number of Scottish football clubs. The main reason for

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2022-23 Premiership preview

To be honest, these days the Premiership preview is a slog to write. That's partly because my own team aren't in it, partly because I don't have the time to do pieces on individual clubs anymore and partly because for my entire football life it has been either a one horse or two horse race. And a race like that isn't interesting unless you're backing one of the two horses, So I'm happy to accept that this is a bit thin and fully expect to be quickly proved wrong on most of it before the clocks g

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2022-23 Championship preview

Here we go then. The Scottish Championship is my bread and butter, by which I mean that I make the same blunders as in all the other previews but with much more confidence. Allegations that I predicted Arbroath to finish bottom last season and Dunfermline to make the playoffs (no,not those playoffs) are absolutely outrageous and completely true. In recent times this division has tended to be dominated by a single club who clearly have more cash to throw at the squad. Out of the last eight cham

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2022-23 League One preview

As someone with a wicked sense of humour and a deep love of schadenfreude, League One will doubtless bring me lots of joy every season as long as my own team aren't stuck in it. It's a beautiful combination of full-time clubs who feel the seaside leagues are beneath them - and whose players too often play as if they feel the same - and part-time sides who range from battle-hardened, dangerous units to a complete omnishambles (sometimes both in the same season) with everything in between. It se

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2022-23 League Two preview

Those of you who have read my previews before (all three of you) will know that I put a large onus on budget as a factor in how well clubs will do. And with good reason. After all, last season League Two had Kelty Hearts; the season before that there was Queen's Park, who won the title by 16 points in a campaign only 22 games long; in 2019-20 Cove Rangers were 13 points clear when the final quarter was written off.  And for 2022-23 we have, well, nobody who really stands out. Which should mean a

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

The fifteenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team Of The Year (part 2)

The keeper and back four can be found here. We're going 4-2-3-1 this year, as for some reason none of the strikers in this league could hit Adam Rooney levels of goalscoring, let along Michael Higdon levels. On the other hand, the midfield could get a bit over-run and there may be more wingers than there are wings. Still, it's my site and my rules, so there. CENTRAL MIDFIELD: CALLUM MCGREGOR (CELTIC), JOE ARIBO (RANGERS) Honourable mentions: Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen), David Turnbull (Ce

The fifteenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team Of The Year (part 1)

So when I first did one of these, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, I had a hairline that was still within communicating distance of my forehead and Allan McGregor was playing for Rangers. What? Oh.  Anyway, this is the fifteenth annual Team Of The Year. Here's the previous fourteen. I regret nothing. Except Daniel Majstorovic, but that goes without saying. 2007/08: Allan McGregor (Rangers), Alan Hutton (Rangers), Carlos Cuellar (Rangers), Lee Wilkie (Dundee United), Lee Naylor (Celtic),

Worst Signings of the 2021/22 Premiership season (part 2)

The players ranked 25 to 11 can be found here. Before we move on, there has to be an honourable mention for Caleb Chukwuemeka, whose exploits for Livingston had escaped me before I published the first part of this double-bill. Chukwuemeka, on loan from Aston Villa, suffered the ignominy of being subbed just seven minutes after coming off the bench against Aberdeen with David Martindale criticising his work-rate. That was less than a month after arriving; the forward has made a couple of appe

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

Worst Signings of the 2021/22 Premiership season (part 1)

Ten years I've been doing this. Man, there have been some duffers. Here, for the record, are the nine previous 'winners': 2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock) 2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren) 2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County) 2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United) 2016/17: Joey Barton (Rangers) 2017/18: Eduardo Herrera (Rangers) 2018/19: Umar Sadiq (Rangers) 2019/20: Madis Vihmann (St. Johnstone) 2020/21: Shane Duffy (Celtic) Here we go for year 10, with the countdown from 25

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

The Championship - Second Quarter Report

I did it for the first 9 games, so the law dictates that I have to do it again: here's a look at the second quarter of the Championship season. ARBROATH    A+ First, a caveat: whilst Arbroath are indeed part-time, this is not a bunch of guys playing for expenses money and a post-game booze up. Dick Campbell's squad contains plenty of players who could - should - be at full-time clubs but who probably make more money from the combination of football and a day job than plenty of ful

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

The Championship - First Quarter Report

I don't care what anyone else says, the Championship is the most interesting division in the SPFL. What's that you say? "You're only saying that because the team you support is top of the table"? That's an outrageous allegation that I can neither confirm nor deny at this time. We are now nine games, or one quarter, of the way through the season. So here's a breakdown of how the ten clubs are faring, with a grading system shamelessly stolen from the legendary Tell Him He's Pele site of years

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hislopsoffsideagain

What we (and Steve Clarke) learned from the Scotland games

Lyndon Dykes will be missed in Moldova Dykes reminds me of the character in the Monty Python 'Upper-Class Twit Of The Year' sketch who "doesn't know when he's beaten, this boy, he doesn't know when he's winning either. He doesn't have any sort of sensory apparatus". I had no doubt at all that the naturalized Ozzie would be unfazed by his penalty miss against Israel, and there was something very Dykes about scoring a goal by essentially karate-kicking the ball. But whilst he remains somewhat lim

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain



  • Blog Comments

    • Sorry to be a pedant but Ryan Gauld is playing in Canada for Vancouver. MLS is North America not just the states. He has been their lynchpin and made what was a notoriously and consistently underperforming team look pretty good. Similarly, Lewis Morgan is one of those who just goes about things under the radar. Messi and the circus in Miami might get all the headlines, but Morgan has been consistently good for New York for a few seasons now.   
    • When others keep posting the news like an interview, these long-read make me feel a little better. Just cause somebody still can writing some useful notes ore posts. When I was reading your text, it seems I've appeared on that stadium and feel the wind by my skin. Thanks to the author for such content! I will try to be a helpful person, so when I and my friends were traveling to the last one football match, there was something with me in my bag that brings my car to live again and gives us an op
    • "County don't really need to worry about money" Now that's the Ross County Way! Apart from Sevco our losses do stand out quite a bit...wf!!
    • My favourite old word is 'yonder' and it has an e in it right eenuff
    • One word blog review - wordy.
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