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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

 

The summer transfer window - a question for every Championship club

Alloa Athletic: what will life after Goodwin be like? Jim Goodwin's successor will join the Wasps at an awkward time, in that the club have signed up a load of players that Goodwin wanted; in fact the squad now is about the same size as it was last season before it was augmented with savvy loan signings. The new Alloa boss will need to decide whether he can pull off the same trick with temporary transfers or convince the chairman to find the money for a few more new faces, as well as ponder what
 

The summer transfer window - a question for every Premiership club

Aberdeen: how hard will this window hit them? Graeme Shinnie has gone. Gary Mackay-Steven has gone. Max Lowe's loan spell has finished. And Celtic are sniffing around Scott McKenna again. It felt like the Dons took a small step backwards last season, and the same could happen this time around unless Derek McInnes has some decent signings up his sleeve - Craig Bryson counts as one, though on last year's showing James Wilson wouldn't. Celtic: do they have a plan? There may well have been a bit o
 

Scotland's strengths and weaknesses

Steve Clarke's first couple of games in charge will have given him an idea of what he has to work with. In some areas he is pretty well off, but in others he's either going to have to hope some players really improve or he's going to have to compensate for the deficiencies. Here's how his options look at each position, going from our strongest area to our weakest... LEFT-BACK Greg Taylor did himself proud in Brussels with a tenacious, committed performance. He's got a bright future ahead of hi
 

Talking points from the Cyprus game

We won This is the most important thing to take away. Realists would acknowledge that Steve Clarke has had barely any time at all to get the hang of this international management malarkey and has been denied the luxury of training camps and friendlies to get his ideas across before competitive action; therefore a lack of cohesion was inevitable. You don't find many realists in football crowds though, as the half-time jeers indicated. The Tartan Army's patience has long been exhausted and just b
 

Can McPake take Dundee back up?

At the end of April, as relegation - and the departure of Jim McIntyre - became increasingly certain, Dundee issued a statement on their website to reassure fans about the present and the future. Among the topics touched upon was the process used to appoint McIntyre. Following McIntyre's exit, Managing Director John Nelms confirmed that, essentially, the next manager would be recruited using similar criteria. That is presumably how the club came to the conclusion that John Robertson should be
 

Appointing Lennon permanently puts Ten In A Row at risk

A treble is a pretty impressive feat. A treble-treble is cause for a massive blowout. One wonders though whether Celtic's decision to announce their intention to keep Neil Lennon as manager, just minutes after the Scottish Cup Final finished, will have enhanced the celebrations or tempered them? Back in mid-February, when Brendan Rodgers suddenly legged it for Leicester, bringing Lennon in as 'a safe pair of hands' made sense. With the club eight points clear in the league with just eleven
From a cup final to a Banter Year: the fall of Falkirk

From a cup final to a Banter Year: the fall of Falkirk

Four years ago Falkirk were preparing for a Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.   Three years ago they came mightily close to promotion to the Premiership, losing the playoff final to Kilmarnock despite a first leg lead.   Two years ago they came second in the Championship and got another pop at the playoffs.   Today, they are preparing for life in League One.   There have been no financial problems, no administrations, no unusual or unforese
 

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

I like to think that the lack of outrage I've received over my choice of keeper and back four suggests that I've got it right...but it probably means that nobody gives a s***.  Oh well... Here, to try and wind folk up further, is the midfield and attack. CENTRAL MIDFIELD: CALLUM MCGREGOR (CELTIC), DAVID TURNBULL (MOTHERWELL) Honourable mentions: Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian), Stevie Mallan (Hibernian), Alan Power (Kilmarnock) Even at left-back against Rangers
 

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

What do you mean, you weren't around for the first 11 years I did this? Let's look back at the previous ones, not least because many of them make me cringe. PREVIOUS TEAMS OF THE YEAR 2007/08: Allan McGregor (Rangers), Alan Hutton (Rangers), Carlos Cuellar (Rangers), Lee Wilkie (Dundee United), Lee Naylor (Celtic), Barry Robson (Celtic), Stephen Hughes (Motherwell), Barry Ferguson (Rangers), Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Scott McDonald (Celtic), Steven Fletcher (Hibernian) 2008/09: Lukasz Zalusk
 

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
 

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

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