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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

 

Worst Signings of the 2018/19 Premiership season (part 2)

If you haven't read part 1, you can find it here. Lots of folk who did read it complained...about crap players from their own club who weren't on the list. That was invariably because said players were in the top ten. Any one of the top five could, I think, have been number one. Argue amongst yourselves as to whether they are in the right order. 10. NICOLAI BROCK-MADSEN (ST. MIRREN) Yes, it's another Alan Stubbs signing. Would you believe this player was once signed by Birmingham City f

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Worst Signings of the 2018/19 Premiership season (part 1)

Wow, so this is the seventh season we've done this. It does seem to give people a laugh - except for Dapo Kayode, who complained on Twitter when I ranked him 21st in 2016/17. It's also fun to see who has proved me wrong a year down the line - Mickel Miller of Hamilton clearly shouldn't have been on last year's list, though all the St Johnstone fans who thought I was grossly unfair on David McMillan have been quiet. The six previous 'winners' of this prestigious award: 2012/13 - Rory Boulding (
 

Should Celtic and Rangers stick or twist?

All in all, it's practically pre-season already for Celtic and Rangers. The former's victory over the latter last weekend all but guaranteed them the title. Rangers, now eleven points behind their rivals but eight ahead of the chasing pack, are almost nailed on for second spot. They have only one match left that really matters - a home clash with Celtic. In addition to that game Celtic have their remaining Scottish Cup tie(s) to focus on. Aside from those matches the two clubs can pretty much ph
 

Scottish football finances

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I'm a bit geeky about the financial side of Scottish football. That's partly because it is a simple way of judging who is over- and under-achieving, as well as being a pretty good indicator of which clubs are well-run and which aren't. Moreover I increasingly worry that it is only a matter of time until another Scottish football club ends up in an administration event. Very few are self-sustaining. As I previously blogged it feels like most Champi

Scotty

Scotty

 

You can't take your eyes off the Scottish Championship

I know I keep banging on about it, but the Scottish Championship really is a compelling league. As we enter the final quarter of the season, all ten clubs have something to play for. Inconsistency has been the dominant theme as teams go from periods where everything goes in to ones when they seem to have smashed a mirror over a black cat whilst walking under a ladder, or vice versa. The table is so tight that some teams who were in the promotion playoff hunt a month ago are now looking over the

Scotty

Scotty

 

Is the Championship a ticking time bomb?

It may not have Rangers or Hearts or Hibs in it any more, but the Championship is still a league worthy of plenty of attention. Firstly, there's a title race (no, there isn't one in the Premiership. Rangers being six points behind does not a title race make). Whether Ayr can sustain a challenge is unclear but Ross County are good value for top spot and Dundee United have used their new American money to buy an entire new team in January as they look to pull back the current six point deficit to

Scotty

Scotty

 

Martin Canning and Hamilton. Being crap is bad enough, but being boring is unforgivable

After Brendan Rodgers told the media that Martin Canning "has done a wonderful job" at Hamilton, one couldn't help thinking of the bit in Return Of The Jedi when Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to convince Luke Skywalker that his claim that his father was dead "was true, from a certain point of view". That point of view is certainly held by Canning's employers. They are quick to point out that this is the fifth consecutive season that Accies have spent in the top flight, no mean feat considering that as r

Scotty

Scotty

 

How to fix Scotland's referee crisis, in several hard steps

Who'd be a referee? The aftermath of the Old Firm game and the treatment of John Beaton - regardless of how you felt about his performance - has not been a proud moment for Scottish football. And it follows on from four months of seemingly endless refereeing controversies and criticisms. According to several managers and clubs, there is a real problem with the standard of officiating. According to the officials, it is harder than ever to do their job right, and they are being given an unfairly

Scotty

Scotty

 

Looking ahead to January

The January transfer window always seems a bit mental. With it being the last decent chance to bring in new players, we often see managers panic and bring in an entire team of players, the footballing equivalent of throwing a ton of stuff at a wall and hoping some of it will stick. There are also inevitably some unexpected arrivals, and some unexpected departures too. So frankly, predicting what will happen is a mug's game. But we're going to do it anyway, because, you know. Let's have a look a

Scotty

Scotty

 

In defence of Liam Polworth

In the Spring of 2015, I was lucky enough to be on a city break in Barcelona right on time to take in the second leg of Barca's Champions League Quarter Final against Paris St. Germain. You may well remember the home side's opening goal; facing his own goal, midway inside his own half, Andres Iniesta took a pass into feet with a PSG player steaming in to close him down. The crowd collectively took a deep breath, only for Iniesta to spin 180 degrees and leave his opponent for dead. The 80,000 che

Scotty

Scotty

 

Thoughts on the Israel game

Ladies and gentleman, the James Forrest Show Few players are more frustrating to watch than nippy wingers who are playing badly. Conversely, few excite quite as much as nippy wingers who are in top form and oozing confidence. Step forward James Forrest, who has now scored five goals in two Scotland games - and 11 in 11 games for club and country. There was more than just the hat-trick to savour; his decision-making, so often erratic at best, was perfect again and again as he weaved in and out of

Scotty

Scotty

 

Thoughts from Tirana

Fraser was the spark Ryan Fraser started the match like a man with something to prove - and maybe he did, given that injuries have prevented him from repeating his outstanding Bournemouth performances for the national team. Within seconds of kickoff he had nicked the ball and raced into the box; whilst that didn't lead to anything it was a taste of things to come. In addition to a fine goal he set up the fourth for James Forrest and was not so much a winger as a blur of energy throughout. And hi

Scotty

Scotty

 

Thoughts from The Championship - 10/11/18

AJ under pressure at Dunfermline? So many of Dunfermline's home games this season have ended with the sound of booing, so Allan Johnston may be immune to it now. But a derby defeat to Falkirk was the lowest ebb of the Pars' season so far, one in which they've managed just one win and two goals in seven league matches at East End Park. No wonder the fans are revolting (no, not in that sense). This one might have turned out differently had Andy Ryan not missed the mother of all sitters for the ho

Scotty

Scotty

 

Thoughts from the Championship - 22/10/18

Falkirk at least have an excuse to change goalkeeper Sending out new signing Prince Buaben with his name spelt 'BURBAN' on the back of his shirt really doesn't help dispel the general feeling of incompetence surrounding Falkirk at the moment. But in the hostile Cappielow atmosphere, stoked by Morton's feelings of betrayal towards Ray McKinnon, the Bairns gave as good as they got in the first half; whilst Gary Oliver hit the post for the hosts, Zak Rudden - who looks like a real prospect - should

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

The stats suggest the Premiership title is up for grabs

For those of us bored to tears by Celtic's seven consecutive and pretty much unchallenged titles, and who grew up during the era of Rangers' nineties nine in a row, the current Scottish Premiership table makes for good reading. League Table Scottish Premiership Team P GD Pts 1 Hearts 8 8 19 2 Hibernian 8 13 17 3 Celtic 8 9 16 4 Kilmarnock 8 6 16 5 Livingston 8 3 15 6 Rangers 8 10 14 7 Aberdeen 8 2 12 8 St Johnstone 8 -11 8 9 Hamilton 8 -10 6 10 Motherwe

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Israel embarrassment leaves Eck in shoogly peg territory

The natural instinct of the football fan is of course knee-jerk reactivity. A big win? Everyone's a genius. An embarrassing defeat? Sack the manager, drop everyone and play the youth team. So when my gut feeling after a result is as black and white as that, I try to repress it. Resist the urge to put out a Twitter call for heads on a plate, I tell myself. Sleep on it, then re-evaluate the situation the next day. But after a performance like Scotland's in Tel Aviv, the lust for bloodshed has ba

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Takeaways from the Championship - 30/9/18

Life after Laszlo begins now Dundee United fans had predicted a day like this for a long time. Recent results may have been acceptable, but sooner or later a half-decent opponent would rip up the facade and show them for what they really were. Whilst Ross County were far better than 'half-decent', in truth they only needed to be two things - professional and ruthless - to annihilate United on their own patch. Whether bad attitude or low confidence (or both) were to blame, this was the sort of re

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Semi-final controversy deserves only a shrug of the shoulders

Does a season go by without Scottish fans getting angry about a cup semi-final kickoff time? Well, for the upcoming League Cup semi-finals we have two clubs, and their supporters, up in arms. Aberdeen face a Sunday lunchtime kickoff at Hampden against Rangers. Hearts have a 1945 start the very same evening to take on Celtic. Neither are happy campers. The Dons have certainly been here before. Their issue is not really the distance - it's 150 miles from Pittodrie to Hampden according to Google

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Takeaways from the Championship - 22/9/18

Another week, another strange Ross County lineup Are two heads really better than one? That's a reasonable question to ask of Ross County's co-managers after yet more chopping and changing to the starting lineup did more harm than good. This time it was the benching of Iain Vigurs, so often able to control Championship games on his own, and Josh Mullin, the team's only quick wide player. It was no surprise that County were too narrow yet unable to dominate in the centre of the pitch; for the fir

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Takeaways from the Championship - 15/9/18

Archibald running out of time to kickstart Thistle's seasonYou know that old adage about players coming back to haunt their former clubs? In Inverness it only worked in one direction. Sean Welsh is remembered rather more fondly at Partick Thistle than Mark Ridgers, who shipped eight goals in one and a half games at Firhill. Welsh netted a penalty against his former club while Ridgers saved one at the other end. Ridgers' stop came from ICT old boy Miles Storey who had one of those days where not

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Stronger or weaker?

With league action returning this weekend after the international break, and the transfer window shut - except for free agents - till January, now seems like a good time to look back at each Premiership club's summer activity and decide who has strengthened and who looks worse off... ABERDEEN BEST SIGNING? Lewis Ferguson was supposed to be one for the future, but he's already established himself as a first choice in midfield and that goal against Burnley will be remembered for years to come. Gi

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Takeaways from the Championship - 1/9/18

Another week, another episode of the Stephen Dobbie show If you looked up 'futility' in a dictionary, you might find the clip of a drunk Ayr fan - at least, we hope he was drunk - invading the pitch as Stephen Dobbie missed a penalty (QOS were 4-0 up at the time, and it wasn't even half-time yet). Or you might find Daniel Harvie, shown a second yellow for dissent in the second half. Harvie has given away a penalty and been sent off in each of his last two league appearances for Ayr. Or you migh

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Paul Hartley has left Falkirk in a fankle

It is hard to believe that just over three years ago Falkirk should have won the Scottish Cup. Having matched top flight Caley Thistle from the off, they took control after Carl Tremarco's sending off and deservedly equalized against the ten men; at that point Inverness were out on their feet and there was only going to be one winner. Then Jamie MacDonald gifted a goal to James Vincent and Caley Thistle nicked the victory and the glory. It's also hard to believe that the following Spring Fa

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Takeaways from the Championship's opening day

United in crisis...and we've only just started If Dundee United were to put a motto on their club crest, I would eschew the traditional latin for something French - 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose', perhaps. A new season, plenty of new players - eight were making their first league starts for the club - and yet it felt like nothing had changed since the campaign...nor the previous one.  United toiled badly and were lucky to scramble their way in front before the break; when they conce

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

2018/19 Premiership preview - Rangers

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: Second LAST SEASON: Third, 70pts NOTABLE INS: Scott Arfield (Burnley), Connor Goldson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), Nikola Katic (Slaven Belupo), Allan McGregor (Hull City), Jamie Murphy (Brighton & Hove Albion, loan made permanent), Lassana Coulibaly (Angers, loan), Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool, loan), Ryan Kent (Liverpool, loan), Umar Sadiq (Roma, loan) NOTABLE OUTS: David Bates (Hamburg), Bruno Alves (Parma), Fabio Cardoso (Santa Clara), H

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

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