It's still more than six months until Euro 2024, and the draw hasn't even been made yet. So of course it's far, far too early to think about who will be in Steve Clarke's squad for the finals. But I'm not going to let that stop me. Rather than just list twenty-three names (current info suggests that the squad size will be cut back to what it was before Covid and Euro 2020), I'm going to break things down by position and look at what options there are, as well as who is most likely to be on the p
Maybe it was the realisation that Billy Dodds couldn't even beat Raith Rovers that was the end of him. For what it's worth, Caley Thistle only lost to a late goal away from home to a club who went top of the Championship as a result of their victory. And by all accounts the visitors put on their best performance of the season and squandered numerous chances of their own. But Inverness had this absolutely mental record against Rovers where in twenty-three years and thirty-four competitive match
The Premiership increasingly feels like three separate leagues due to the vast financial disparities...so that's how I'm going to treat it for this season's preview... THE OLD FIRM/GLASGOW DERBY (delete as applicable) TIER (Finishing outwith the top two, or even less than ten points ahead of third should result in manager and entire squad being hanged, drawn and quartered) CELTIC: they say you should never go back, but for Brendan Rodgers I think an exception can be made. Celtic can be pret
God, I hate the Scottish Championship. My club have been stuck in this particular circle of hell since 2017 and I'm desperate for us to get out of it. And the more time that passes the more likely it is that my wish will be granted...but with a move downward rather than up. After all there's always someone worse off than you...and it's Falkirk. The usual script for this league is as follows; one club has a decent financial advantage over all the others, and that club gets promoted. The last co
Whereas in League Two the difference in budget between richest and poorest is pretty minimal, League One has four clubs who are full time - Cove Rangers, Falkirk, Hamilton Accies and Queen of the South - and six clubs who savour bloodying their noses regularly. So while I make no apology for my choice of the top four it is quite easy to see it going spectacularly wrong for each of them. Take FALKIRK, for example. It's like the Bairns have been given a special demotivational plaque by Mr Burns.
With no moneybags team in League Two right now it's decidedly harder to predict who is going to win it. Last season I suggested Forfar Athletic, who ended up looking like relegation candidates until they changed manager. Having a good (or terrible) boss, or being the team with the striker that scores twenty goals are the sort of factors that can have an exponential effect at this level. And so we segue rather clumsily straight onto ELGIN CITY, who nearly finished bottom last season and have ma
I said I'd get it done 'eventually', didn't I? CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS: CALLUM MCGREGOR (CELTIC), REO HATATE (CELTIC) Honourable mentions: Leighton Clarkson (Aberdeen), Ylber Ramadani (Aberdeen), Cammy Devlin (Heart of Midlothian), Ryan Jack (Rangers), Keanu Baccus (St. Mirren), Mark O'Hara (St. Mirren) I desperately wanted to not flood the team with Celtic players. And reader, I failed miserably. Trying to shoehorn anyone in ahead of McGregor and Hatate here would have made me a laughing stock.
I've done this every year for sixteen years, and to be honest it's never felt more like a chore. When you don't have any skin in the game - that's six years Caley Thistle have been stuck in the Championship - it becomes even harder to be motivated by watching Celtic and Rangers pump everybody. It's also more difficult than ever to pick players from other clubs for this XI, because I'm very close to crossing the 'taking the p***' line' by doing so. Still, I've tried my best. For historical reco
Top ten time! Here's the countdown from 25 to 11, if you missed it. 10. JOHN SOUTTAR (RANGERS) There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and John Souttar getting injured. Inevitably Soapy got crocked on his Rangers debut and was missing for eight months; giving him an Old Firm game at Celtic Park for his first start felt like a disaster waiting to happen and so it proved with the centre-back gifting a goal with a dreadful backpass. Rangers need a reliable partner for Connor Goldson; Sou
So I don't have the time to blog much these days. But this series has been going on since 2012/13 and I'm worried that the world will end if I stop. Also, people tend to enjoy it; there's something so very Scottish Football about fans complaining that their team's duffer isn't at the top of my list. The ten previous winners, by the way: 2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock) 2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren) 2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County) 2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United) 2016/17:
At one end of the scale, Scottish football finances are in rude health. Celtic and Rangers both reached the promised land of the Champions League group stages this season, which means megabucks. Whilst Rangers have had some interesting spending habits over much of the last decade, this along with the sale of Calvin Bassey will surely leave them no longer dependent on the riches of Douglas Park. But 2023 could be a very difficult year for a number of Scottish football clubs. The main reason for
To be honest, these days the Premiership preview is a slog to write. That's partly because my own team aren't in it, partly because I don't have the time to do pieces on individual clubs anymore and partly because for my entire football life it has been either a one horse or two horse race. And a race like that isn't interesting unless you're backing one of the two horses, So I'm happy to accept that this is a bit thin and fully expect to be quickly proved wrong on most of it before the clocks g
Here we go then. The Scottish Championship is my bread and butter, by which I mean that I make the same blunders as in all the other previews but with much more confidence. Allegations that I predicted Arbroath to finish bottom last season and Dunfermline to make the playoffs (no,not those playoffs) are absolutely outrageous and completely true. In recent times this division has tended to be dominated by a single club who clearly have more cash to throw at the squad. Out of the last eight cham
As someone with a wicked sense of humour and a deep love of schadenfreude, League One will doubtless bring me lots of joy every season as long as my own team aren't stuck in it. It's a beautiful combination of full-time clubs who feel the seaside leagues are beneath them - and whose players too often play as if they feel the same - and part-time sides who range from battle-hardened, dangerous units to a complete omnishambles (sometimes both in the same season) with everything in between. It se
Those of you who have read my previews before (all three of you) will know that I put a large onus on budget as a factor in how well clubs will do. And with good reason. After all, last season League Two had Kelty Hearts; the season before that there was Queen's Park, who won the title by 16 points in a campaign only 22 games long; in 2019-20 Cove Rangers were 13 points clear when the final quarter was written off. And for 2022-23 we have, well, nobody who really stands out. Which should mean a
The keeper and back four can be found here.
We're going 4-2-3-1 this year, as for some reason none of the strikers in this league could hit Adam Rooney levels of goalscoring, let along Michael Higdon levels. On the other hand, the midfield could get a bit over-run and there may be more wingers than there are wings. Still, it's my site and my rules, so there.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: CALLUM MCGREGOR (CELTIC), JOE ARIBO (RANGERS)
Honourable mentions: Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen), David Turnbull (Ce
So when I first did one of these, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, I had a hairline that was still within communicating distance of my forehead and Allan McGregor was playing for Rangers. What? Oh.
Anyway, this is the fifteenth annual Team Of The Year. Here's the previous fourteen. I regret nothing. Except Daniel Majstorovic, but that goes without saying.
2007/08: Allan McGregor (Rangers), Alan Hutton (Rangers), Carlos Cuellar (Rangers), Lee Wilkie (Dundee United), Lee Naylor (Celtic),
The players ranked 25 to 11 can be found here.
Before we move on, there has to be an honourable mention for Caleb Chukwuemeka, whose exploits for Livingston had escaped me before I published the first part of this double-bill. Chukwuemeka, on loan from Aston Villa, suffered the ignominy of being subbed just seven minutes after coming off the bench against Aberdeen with David Martindale criticising his work-rate. That was less than a month after arriving; the forward has made a couple of appe
Ten years I've been doing this. Man, there have been some duffers. Here, for the record, are the nine previous 'winners':
2012/13: Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock)
2013/14: Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren)
2014/15: Jim Fenlon (Ross County)
2015/16: Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United)
2016/17: Joey Barton (Rangers)
2017/18: Eduardo Herrera (Rangers)
2018/19: Umar Sadiq (Rangers)
2019/20: Madis Vihmann (St. Johnstone)
2020/21: Shane Duffy (Celtic)
Here we go for year 10, with the countdown from 25
I have been taking pictures at BMO field, in the stands since the opening season in 2007. Getting the camera into BMO Field has always been an issue, so much so that for the first few seasons I carried not only a printout of the BMO and TFC camera policies but also a letter from Paul Beirne specifically noting that cameras were permissible for personal use and that my use had been verified as such.
This website exists for friends and fans alike, its personal rather than professional and I never
I did it for the first 9 games, so the law dictates that I have to do it again: here's a look at the second quarter of the Championship season.
First, a caveat: whilst Arbroath are indeed part-time, this is not a bunch of guys playing for expenses money and a post-game booze up. Dick Campbell's squad contains plenty of players who could - should - be at full-time clubs but who probably make more money from the combination of football and a day job than plenty of ful
I don't care what anyone else says, the Championship is the most interesting division in the SPFL. What's that you say? "You're only saying that because the team you support is top of the table"? That's an outrageous allegation that I can neither confirm nor deny at this time.
We are now nine games, or one quarter, of the way through the season. So here's a breakdown of how the ten clubs are faring, with a grading system shamelessly stolen from the legendary Tell Him He's Pele site of years
Lyndon Dykes will be missed in Moldova
Dykes reminds me of the character in the Monty Python 'Upper-Class Twit Of The Year' sketch who "doesn't know when he's beaten, this boy, he doesn't know when he's winning either. He doesn't have any sort of sensory apparatus". I had no doubt at all that the naturalized Ozzie would be unfazed by his penalty miss against Israel, and there was something very Dykes about scoring a goal by essentially karate-kicking the ball. But whilst he remains somewhat lim
We head to Arbroath on Saturday, the scene of Big Dunc's first game in charge of the Caley Jags, where we earned our first win of the season in our seventh Championship game and his tenure at the Caley Jags began with only one point on the board prior to this game. We now sit on twenty-five points, but still perilously close to the relegation zone, unable to put a consistent run together to climb the table like others have done (Morton the prime example). Max Anderson is suspened and something like five definite outs and another five struggling with knocks. Nothing new there then!
Cammy Kerr opened the scoring half an hour in to open his own account at Inverness, a welcome goal for the home fans, albeit at the South Stand end of the stadium. Be patient I hear you say and we were rewarded with a North Stand goal from Remi Savage ten minutes after the interval. Another ten minutes later and Fitzpatrick shot in from twelve yards to throw Partick a lifeline. Brian Graham converted a penalty but Nathan Shaw restored our advantage two minutes later. Unfortunately, the man we love to hate, Brian Graham, slammed in a volley after some head tennis to end the scoring and Max Anderson saw red in time added on. Meh, some game but a disappointing outcome despite the goals at the home end.
Home team is normally the best indicator in these fixtures. We suffered a couple of heavy away defeats a year or two ago but other than that most of these fixtures have been close affairs and usually favour the home side. Both games this season ended all square, although it's fair to say that Inverness shaded the play but our lack of penetration in the final third is a continuing problem.
Scottish Cup. Itr's not for everyone: Having matched Hibs for almost an hour a massive deflection enabled Maolida to open the scoring. Slack defensive play set Martin Boyle on his way to double Hibs advantage before a late goal set up by Boyle saw Youan tap in. Game over but Aaron Doran notched an injury time consolation for Inverness.
Hibs have won the Scottish Cup three times, the last one being the year after Inverness beat Falkirk 2-1 to lift the trophy in 2015, Hibs first win came in 1887 when they beat Dumbarton 2-1 followed by 1-0 victory over Celtic in 1902. Hibs have been runners-up 10 times with Inverness losing out once.
We will need to wait for Duncan Ferguson to announce his plans. We barely know half the squad; not sure if Duncan does either since the transfer window shut. A major worry is on loan striker Alex Samuel who has broken his hand and faces the possibility of being out for a few weeks. Doctors are looking to see if he can get away with a lighter cast, but that's in the balance right now. Luis Longstaff is out after twisting a knee in training.