Jump to content
  • entries
    148
  • comment
    1
  • views
    12,135

2021/22 Scottish Premiership preview


hislopsoffsideagain

1,596 views

Are we ever going to have a battle for the league title again?


A two horse race isn't much more exciting than a one horse race when you don't have a stake in either, but last season some thought Rangers might be able to push Celtic a bit. Not too many expected them p*** all over Celtic's ten-in-a-row dream. Steven Gerrard's side won the title by 25 points. Can Celtic turn that back around. The evidence of their opening European games was not encouraging.

As for the other ten, we're very much back to a situation where the ceiling is third place. Hibs managed it last season, but Aberdeen are reinventing themselves, Hearts are back in the top flight and St. Johnstone will look to carry the momentum of two cup wins into the new campaign. At the other end of the table, Hamilton's relegation means that for the first time in years we don't have a clear and obvious favourite for the drop (the fact that Accies kept proving everyone wrong is by the by...)



ABERDEEN (2020/21: 4th; 2019/20: 4th; 2018/19: 4th)
Derek McInnes and Stephen Glass have very different ideas of how football should be played. Aberdeen had unquestionably gone stale by the end of McInnes' tenure but Glass has inherited squad with some young talent in Ross McCrorie and Lewis Ferguson and solidified the backbone with the signings of Scott Brown and Declan Gallagher. The Dons often looked toothless up front last year, and they'll be looking to American striker Christian Ramirez to solve that issue.


CELTIC (2020/21: 2nd; 2019/20: 1st; 2018/19: 1st)
How the mighty have fallen. Assuming Odsonne Edouard will be out the door imminently, they still need at least a goalkeeper, two full-backs, a centre-back, a defensive midfielder and a striker. The Champions League exit reduces the budget by a significant amount. Ange Postecoglu has been asked to win a poker game with a two-seven off-suit hand, and he's not even bluffing about it. The business they have done so far looks pretty decent at least, but it could well get worse for Celtic before it gets better. And yes, I know how daft that sounds when their floor is still second place, but that's Scottish football for you.


DUNDEE (2020/21: 2nd in Championship; 2019/20: 3rd in Championship; 2018/19: 12th)
Has James McPake found his feet as a manager, or did Dundee just go on a streak at the end of last season and luck into a playoff with a joke of a Kilmarnock team? We'll find out soon. A lot of their transfer activity has been about improving depth though Ryan Sweeney and Corey Panter will compete for a place in the centre of defence. Charlie Adam will be eyeing this season up as something of a swansong. There are a lot of players here who have previously flattered to deceive at this level though, particularly up front. And can they get something consistent from Jason Cummings?


DUNDEE UNITED (2020/21: 9th; 2019/20: 1st in Championship; 2018/19: 2nd in Championship)
United fans are filled with trepidation after a summer which saw them promote Tam Courts from the youth academy to be new head coach and only two new signings so far (one is a backup keeper and the other is 168 year old Charlie Mulgrew). There is going to be a clear emphasis on playing youngsters here, and there are high hopes for defenders Kerr Smith, Flynn Duffy and Kieran Freeman, midfielder Chris Mochrie and forward Logan Chalmers. But it's a risky strategy, though if Courts can get Lawrence Shankland scoring regularly again they should be okay.


HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN (2020/21: 1st in Championship; 2019/20: 12th; 2018/19: 6th)
Hearts somewhat underwhelmed despite cruising the Championship last season, too often playing down to the opposition. The question is whether they can step it up again, and the return of John Souttar and exciting arrival of Beni Baningime should help with that. Liam Boyce is a top class striker and should be amply supplied by Gary Mackay-Steven and Josh Ginnelly. If Souttar and Peter Haring can stay fit then they actually should be in very good nick. And if worse comes to worse they've still got Loic Damour...


HIBERNIAN (2020/21: 3rd; 2019/20: 7th; 2018/19: 5th)
Hibs have only lost Ofir Marciano and Jackson Irvine from the side that finished third last year and with Jake Doyle-Hayes arriving to bolster the midfield there's no reason for expectations to be lower. A bit more consistency from young talents Josh Doig and Ryan Porteous in defence, midfielder Kyle Magennis and new winger Daniel Mackay would make this team rather dangerous. Striker Kevin Nisbet deserved his Euros call up, and the electric Martin Boyle could (should?) be playing for a bigger club than this.


LIVINGSTON (2020/21: 6th; 2019/20: 5th; 2018/19: 9th)
We all know Livi will do things differently from everyone else, and so far that's worked for them. But they won only one of their last fifteen games last season which was alarming. There's been lots of squad turnover although only the loss of Jon Guthrie seems a particular blow and Tom Parkes should replace him in defence. Bruce Anderson looks like a fine signing up top and loan players Adam Lewis and Ben Williamson look like useful midfield additions. Can David Martindale blend this unusual looking squad together though?


MOTHERWELL (2020/21: 8th; 2019/20: 3rd; 2018/19: 8th)
Graham Alexander has not beaten about the bush when it comes to recruitment; eighteen players left this summer and there are nine new signings (and he wants more!). Getting Liam Kelly back in goal is a coup and Callum Slattery should add quality to the midfield. Can one of their four new strikers score consistently though? Well also seem to be completely devoid of wide players. Alexander is clearly a man with a plan, but to the uneducated such as myself it's not totally clear what the plan is...


RANGERS (2020/21: 1st; 2019/20: 2nd; 2018/19: 2nd)
The Champions will essentially go again with the same squad that won the league last year, with midfielder John Lundstram and forward Fashion Sakala adding slightly more depth. There's not much talk of their top players legging it - though that might change if they falter in the Champions League playoffs - and unless motivation is a problem (which seems unlikely) they should walk the league again.


ROSS COUNTY (2020/21: 10th; 2019/20: 10th; 2018/19: 1st in Championship)
Having managed to stay up, County gutted the squad (correctly), replaced the manager (harshly?) with Malky Mackay (controversial) and then spent the time they should have spent on recruitment on trying to explain to everyone why the appointment wasn't controversial at all. And then they had a Covid outbreak. Given that they're never short of cash, it's concerning that they've only brought in five new faces to replace the fourteen they chucked, though full-back Jake Vokins is a good pickup on loan. While one would assume Mackay will have them well-drilled, more signings are surely needed.


ST. JOHNSTONE (2020/21: 5th; 2019/20: 6th; 2018/19: 7th)
Make no mistake, they were really, really good in the second half of last season, and most of the cup winning players are back again. If they can hold onto Jason Kerr and Shaun Rooney the defence will remain strong and David Wotherspoon continues to fly under the radar but the midfield could maybe do with another set of young legs alongside the outstanding Ali McCann and having lost Guy Melamed they could do with a reliable goalscorer. They should have enough to have another tilt at the top six though.


ST. MIRREN (2020/21: 7th; 2019/20: 9th; 2018/19: 11th)
Jim Goodwin has quietly done a very good job of making the Buddies just a little bit better each year, partly through excellent recruitment. Curtis Main seems a striker tailormade for the club and who might bring the best out of Eamonn Brophy, while Greg Kiltie may thrive away from Kilmarnock but hopefully won't have to fill the shoes of the much-sought after Jamie McGrath. Scott Tanser should improve a decent defence further and whilst Tony Fitzpatrick's dreams of them winning the Champions League, curing cancer and solving climate change are a bit optimistic, another step a little further up the table is a fair aim.


And here's the predicted table:

1. RANGERS

2. CELTIC
3. HIBERNIAN
4. ABERDEEN
5. HEARTS
6. ST. MIRREN

7. ST. JOHNSTONE
8. MOTHERWELL
9. DUNDEE UNITED
10. ROSS COUNTY

11. LIVINGSTON

12. DUNDEE

As ever, I expect to be proven very, very wrong...


Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.

View the full article

0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Topics

  • Posts

    • It would not surprise me that Dunc will go for the same starting X1 as Hampden. That has positives, maybes and negatives. Playing the same 5 at the back will provide the stability required and hopefully another shut out. I can see this allowing Harper to be more of a wing back but Kerr is not really that type of player. Anderson and Longstaff ran and ran and tackled and tackled. But they are stuck in the middle of the park and with only Samuel as the forward option. Starting Doran and Billy is risky. Both can produce something different, especially from free kick positions, but they need to support Samuel more. That's why I would play Doran alternating wide right and left. Billy did have a couple of chances at Hampden but I would play him closer to Samuel. As for the Tinkerville Taz then same again please. He will not give the Raif defence any breathing space and he is a cert to win free kicks. And with Billy ploughing likewise for an hour both may get more clear cut opportunities. What we can't allow to happen is giving away an early goal. Raif at home is a far more difficult task than the Spiders away. But I reckon Dunc and his dogs of War will be howling at the end of 90 minutes AND I would take a point if offered now ūüĎć
    • The motivation is very high for us. ¬†Primarily, of course, to stay out of the relegation play-offs, but also to get as high up the league as possible. ¬†It is still quite possible to end up 5th which would give us ¬£50K more in prize money than finishing 8th. ¬†We need all the pennies we can get. ¬†It is worth noting that the prize money of ¬£250K is less than a quarter of the prize money Livingston look set to "win" by coming bottom of the Premiership. ¬† Raith are guaranteed at least 2nd spot but seem to have blown their chances of the title. ¬†But they have to believe they have a chance until Dundee Utd prove they don't. ¬†I would therefore suspect that Raith will not be resting players with the play-offs in mind and will, instead, be focussed on getting the win they need to stay with a chance of the title. ¬†Psychologically though, the fact that they have dropped so many points recently must affect them and as a result, I actually have a good feeling about this one.
    • HT. 1-0 FT. 2-0 ICT. Alex Samuel RR. ¬† Vaughan Crowd. 2012
    • We really need a win on Friday, not just for our position but to show Raith that normal service has resumed, which is an important physiological statement for the inevitable meetings next season again. With Dunfermline & Morton still to play, its very much now a battle to get up the table and be 'best of the rest' since the play-off places are essentially decided.
    • Where's yer paragraph for the preview...
√ó
√ó
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. : Terms of Use : Guidelines : Privacy Policy