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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...

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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




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 (
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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




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

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

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),

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),

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




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




2019/20 Premiership preview - Hibernian

PREDICTED LEAGUE POSITION: Fourth LAST SEASON: 5th, 54pts NOTABLE INS: Christian Doidge (Forest Green Rovers, £250k), Scott Allan (Celtic), Steven Bradley (Queen's Park), Adam Jackson (Barnsley), Tom James (Yeovil Town), Joe Newell (Rotherham United), Josh Vela (Bolton Wanderers), Chris Maxwell (Preston North End, loan) NOTABLE OUTS: Lewis Allan (Raith Rovers), Marvin Bartley (Livingston), Ross Laidlaw (Ross County), Mark Milligan (Southend United), Thomas Agyepong (Manchester City, end of loan

2019/20 Scottish League Two preview

The addition of a relegation playoff has changed the dynamic of Scotland's fourth tier dramatically. No longer can a club coast along, safe in the knowledge that being the SPFL's bottom club is the worst that can happen. As the hapless Berwick Rangers found to their cost, there are well-funded, hungry teams looking to get out of the regional leagues. Stagnate at your peril. At the other end, last season was ultimately one for the 'haves' - those who could afford impressive part-time wages to

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
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