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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

 

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

 

Worst Signings of the 2019/20 Premiership season (part 2)

Part one of this, which counts down from 25 to 11, can be found here. As ever, the top ten is dominated by whichever club has drastically underachieved that season. No prizes for guessing which side occupies more spots than any other, though not the top one. And for the first time in four seasons, it isn't a Rangers player who 'leads' these standings. Onward... 10. SIMEON JACKSON (KILMARNOCK) The Canadian international hardly impressed at St. Mirren last season, but Kilmarnock were so des
 

Worst Signings of the 2019/20 Premiership season (part 1)

This is the eighth season we've done this. Whilst football has come to a standstill I don't believe it entitles these players (or the clubs that signed them) a stay of execution. The halt to matches has probably spared some - particularly January arrivals) - from appearing on this list simply because there wasn't enough evidence of them being crap. But that didn't mean we were short of folk to choose from... As a reminder, here are the previous seven 'winners': 2012/13 - Rory Boulding (K
 

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 (

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Where do Scotland and Steve Clarke go from here?

Another international week endured, and the national team came remarkably close to accomplishing an impossible task - increasing the apathy already surrounding them. It started in Moscow on Thursday night, where Scotland survived a first half onslaught mostly through luck rather than ability and then started the second period with purpose. And inevitably their best fifteen minute spell of the match culminated in a goal...for Russia. The subsequent collapse felt like just another humiliation to

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

What's gone wrong with Aberdeen?

To be fair, Aberdeen fans probably aren't alone in suffering from a kind of collective footballing dementia. On the one hand, their long-term memory is generally outstanding, especially when it comes to the 1980s and the word "Gothenburg" is mentioned. More Aberdonians claim to have been there than hippies at Woodstock. And you can hardly blame them for suppressing any recollection of the early part of the 21st century, the era of managers such as Ebbe Skovdahl, Steve Paterson, Jimmy Calderwoo
 

Twenty Premiership players who need a move in the next ten days

At the time of writing we're ten days away from Deadline Day - in Scotland it's midnight on Monday 2 September. Plenty is going to happen between now and then. For a start, the window has been closed for English Premier League and Championship clubs for more than a fortnight and so there are players who (in the Fraser Forster style) need to get out if they are to play at all between now and new year. That should mean some decent pickings on loan or permanently for Premiership sides. The flip si

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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 on the Championship - 21/9/19

Why would McCall want to leave this behind? Ayr United are in glorious form right now. Ian McCall said himself afterward that their first half performance at the Indodrill was as good as any he'd ever managed. Alloa were completely outclassed, unable to cope with United's passing and movement in open play or their physical presence at set plays. If anything, the 4-0 half-time score flattered the home side. As their victory over Dundee United last week showed, this sort of performance is current

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Thoughts on the Championship - 13-14/9/19

McCall enjoys getting one over Dundee United and Shankland As post-match trolling goes...wow. Just, wow. Aye, so Ian McCall really doesn't like Robbie Neilson then. He certainly seemed to rather enjoy shackling Lawrence Shankland, who was anonymous against his former club; I bet other Championship coaches will be taking note. Shankland wasn't the only ex-Ayr player feeling grim after this one. Liam Smith got burned badly by Daniel Harvie when the left-back metamorphosed into a rampaging centr

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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 - 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

 

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

 

This summer's out of contract Premiership players

So there's only, what, three months of the season left? We're getting to that time where managers are beginning to think of who will be in next season's squad, where some players are either getting their agents to try and get them a move or panicking that they might be unemployed by the end of May. Going by the information available, 117 players with first team experience are out of contract in the summer. Let's break them, and their likely fates, down... ABERDEEN Luc Bollan, Tomas Cerny, Dan
 

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

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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 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

 

The SPFL's biggest challenge is yet to come, and there is little to suggest they can face it down

The phrase 'club statement' now fills one with almost as much dread as 'root canal surgery', or 'Andy Halliday at left-back'. There have been exceptions - Stenhousemuir and Kelty Hearts leading the way - but most cases have involved people who think they're cleverer than they are and who have too much time on their hands using the word 'dignity' whilst throwing it away spectacularly in a multi-paragraphed ranting word salad. It would be nice to think that the result of today's vote on having
 

The Russia post-mortem

It's the hope that kills you. Any Scotland fan knows that all too well. And yet, and yet. For the first ten minutes last night, Scotland ripped into Russia. The sheer energy and will took the visitors - and the Hampden crowd - by surprise. The full-backs flew down the flanks; Callum McGregor demanded the ball at each stroke; John McGinn snapped at every Russian heel; Scott McTominay bestrode the midfield like a colossus. Steve Clarke's lineup and plan were absolutely perfect for the occasion.

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

The Championship at halfway

Aside from a game between Morton and Queen of the South that needs rescheduled, the Scottish Championship has reached its halfway point. Eighteen games down, eighteen to go. It would be a stretch to say there is a title race. Thirteen points clear with eighteen games left? Surely Dundee United can't blow this. United haven't been perfect (their three defeats include a loss to Alloa and a 4-0 trouncing in Dumfries) but they have been close enough. At the time of writing they've won nine st

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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
 

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

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