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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 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

 

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

 

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

 

Rangers' accounts: is it 'help ma boab' time?

So yeah, this tweet about Rangers' finances got some serious traffic and clogged up my mentions for a couple of days. Is it worth noting that not one of however many hundred people who saw that tweet noticed the mistake? Apparently I'm not the only one who can't count to seven... The numbers there though. Ooft. You don't have to be an accountant - and I'm not - to know that companies don't publish accounts late on a Friday evening if they want attention drawn to them. Though last year Ran

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

Ranking Scotland's qualification campaigns 1990-2020

Scotland's Euro 2020 campaign was pretty much a disaster. The only thing good about it is that it's over now. It's now twenty-two years - nearly two-thirds of my life - since Scotland made it to a major tournament. That's eleven qualifying campaigns we've failed in. But was the most recent debacle the worst of the lot? My own football awakening was in 1991, aged seven. I'm not old enough to remember Italia '90, but I am old enough to remember what came after it. So let's rank, and remini

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
 

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

 

2019/20 Premiership preview - St. Mirren

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: TWELFTH LAST SEASON: 11th, 32pts NOTABLE INS: Tony Andreu (Coventry City), Oan Djorkaeff (Nantes), Ilkay Durmus (Wacker Innsbruck), Sam Foley (Northampton Town), Dean Lyness (Raith Rovers), Sean McLoughlin (Hull City, loan) NOTABLE OUTS: Adam Eckersley (Airdrieonians), Mateo Muzek (Sheriff Tiraspol), Laurentiu Corbu (Dinamo Bucharest, end of loan), Anders Dreyer (Brighton & Hove Albion, end of loan), Lee Hodson (Rangers, end of loan), Jordan Holmes (Bournemouth, e

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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
 

2019/20 Premiership preview - Kilmarnock

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: SEVENTH LAST SEASON: 3rd, 67pts NOTABLE INS: Mohamed El Makrini (Roda JC), Laurentiu Branescu (Juventus, loan) NOTABLE OUTS: Daniel Higgins (Cove Rangers), Jordan Jones (Rangers), Daniel Bachmann (Watford, end of loan), Conor McAleny (Fleetwood Town, end of loan), Liam Millar (Liverpool, end of loan), Youssouf Mulumbu (Celtic, end of loan), Mikael Ndjoli (Bournemouth, end of loan), Aaron Tshibola (Aston Villa, end of loan), Kris Boyd (retired), Scott Boyd (retired),

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

2019/20 Scottish Premiership preview - St. Johnstone

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: EIGHTH LAST SEASON: 7th, 52pts NOTABLE INS: Wallace Duffy (Celtic), Elliot Parish (Dundee), Max Johnstone (Sunderland), Madis Vihmann (Flora, loan) NOTABLE OUTS: Blair Alston (Hamilton Academical), Aaron Comrie (Dunfermline Athletic), Brian Easton (Hamilton Academical), Joe Shaughnessy (Southend United), Tony Watt (CSKA Sofia), Olly Hamilton (Brechin City, loan), John Robertson (Cove Rangers, loan), Cammy Bell (Partick Thistle, end of loan), Sean Goss (Queens Park Ran

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

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
 

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

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

2019/20 Premiership preview - Aberdeen

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: THIRD LAST SEASON: 4th, 67pts NOTABLE INS: Funso Ojo (Scunthorpe United, £125k), Luc Bollan (Dundee United), Craig Bryson (Derby County), Ryan Hedges (Barnsley), Curtis Main (Motherwell), Michael Ruth (Queen's Park), Ash Taylor (Northampton Town), James Wilson (Manchester United, loan made permanent), Jon Gallagher (Atlanta United, loan), Greg Leigh (NAC Breda, loan) NOTABLE OUTS: Gary Mackay-Steven (New York City), Mark Reynolds (Dundee United, loan made permanent),

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

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

 

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

 

Scottish football finances - 2020 edition

On the one hand, it must be noted that these figures are essentially a year old, as they are for the 2018/19 season. There can also be pretty legitimate reasons for clubs either losing money or not making as much as expected, such as investment in infrastructure. On the other hand, we now have access to the 2018/19 season accounts for eighteen of Scotland's twenty-two full-time SPFL clubs (assuming no-one is counting Airdrie as full-time yet). We also have an idea of what's to come in two other
 

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

 

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

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

 

plus ça change: the decade in Scottish football

Outgoing Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne gave an interview a few weeks ago where he criticized the refusal of Rangers and Celtic to allow change in Scottish football. It was almost as ridiculous as the toupee he sported at the start of his 21 year reign at Pittodrie. Many, including former St. Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour, were more than willing to lay into Milne for his hypocrisy and his apparent attempts to rewrite history. It's no secret that other Premiership clubs were willing to use Ra
 

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

 

Fans would rather stay at home when Rangers and Celtic are in town, and that's not a good thing

The reaction to St. Johnstone's decision to give three McDiarmid Park stands to Rangers and Celtic fans was somewhat mixed. There was, for example, this piece from the Daily Record's Michael Gannon claiming that they were trying to 'make a quick buck' by exploiting the biggest supports in the country - because giving said supports more tickets is, apparently, 'exploitation'. Especially when said tickets are £28 a pop. Sure, we'd all like to pay less for football tickets, but criticizing the pr
 

2019/20 Premiership preview - Hearts

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: FIFTH LAST SEASON: 6th, 51pts NOTABLE INS: Craig Halkett (Livingston), Steven Naismith (Norwich City, loan made permanent), Jamie Walker (Wigan Athletic), Conor Washington (Sheffield United) NOTABLE OUTS: Arnaud Djoum (Al-Raed), Ryan Edwards (Burton Albion), Marcus Godinho (FSV Zwickau), Conor Sammon (Falkirk), David Vanecek (Puskas Akademia), Daniel Baur (Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, loan), Alex Petkov (Clyde, loan), Demi Mitchell (Manchester United, end of loan), Conor

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 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

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