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What we (and Steve Clarke) learned from the Scotland games

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

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2021/22 Scottish Premiership preview

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 muc

2021/22 Scottish Championship preview

For the first time since 2014, there isn't a club in this division that could be considered a Scottish football heavyweight - yes, I'd still refer to Dundee United as such, even if they are a bit flabby with bingo wings and move slower than a week in jail. There's also not a club like Dundee or Ross County who have significant financial backing from a benevolent millionaire. So in theory at least the Championship is up for grabs. However Kilmarnock - back at this level for the first time sin

2021/22 Scottish League One preview

Given that League One is still mostly the domain of part-time clubs, any full-time teams should always be considered favourites. Partick Thistle lived up to that billing last season, eventually. Falkirk on the other hand collapsed like a house of cards in a hurricane; if missing out on promotion was a catastrophe, slumping to fifth place is, er, something worse than a catastrophe? For 2021/22, the Bairns, Airdrie - who have a bit of a hybrid model in their squad - and Queen's Park, who are

2021/22 Scottish League Two preview

In recent seasons Scottish League Two has been dominated by clubs that have been rather flush with cash for this level - Queen's Park last season, and Cove Rangers the year before. At the other end of the table, the addition in 2015 of a relegation playoff has forced smaller sides who have cruised along at this level for aeons to either ship up or ship out; league mainstays East Stirlingshire and Berwick Rangers have languished in the Lowland League after dropping out of the SPFL, while Brechin

The Euro dream turns into a nightmare: Scotland 0 Czech Republic 2

We waited twenty-three years for this, and what did we get? An endless barrage of mediocre nausea-related puns regarding the name of the Czech goalscorer. What we didn't get was the epic, all-action, never-say-die, no-one-lives-forever performance from the home side that we were looking for and, frankly, expecting. Heck, no-one even got booked. Don't forget that Scotland were the home side here. Opportunities to play at a major tournament are like hen's teeth for us; to do it on our own

The fourteenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team Of The Year (part 2)

The keeper and back four can be found here. Here's the midfield and attack. This season I've gone for a 4-2-3-1. CENTRAL MIDFIELD: STEVEN DAVIS (RANGERS), ALI MCCANN (ST. JOHNSTONE) Honourable mentions: Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen), Hakeem Odoffin (Hamilton Academical), Joe Newell (Hibernian), Allan Campbell (Motherwell) When Davis returned to Ibrox in 2019 he looked woefully unfit and I don't think I was the only one who thought his legs were gone; now 36, he looks as sprightly as ever and

My 26 for Euro 2021

Okay, since it's only two days till Steve Clarke announces his Euro 2021 squad, maybe it isn't too early for me to speculate anymore? So here's who I think - not necessarily who the boss thinks - will be the twenty-six players who will wear the Scotland shirt at a major tournament for the first time since France '98. It'll be interesting to see who benefits from the decision to increase the squad size from twenty-three, given that the three fortunate so-and-so's are virtually certain not to

The fourteenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team Of The Year (part 1)

Aye, it's that time again. Fourteen years we've been doing this, and frankly I'm worried the universe will end if I shirk my duties. No surprise that there's a lot of representation from the blue cheek of the Glasgow arse this year. For posterity, here's the previous thirteen editions: 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 (

Worst Signings of the 2020/21 Premiership season (part 2)

The initial countdown from 25 to 11 can be found here.   This is the ninth time we've done this. The eight 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) You'll note that we've never previously named a Celtic player at the top of

A far-too-early attempt at predicting Scotland's Euros squad (take two)

We already tried this in January, but it seems reasonable to update it after the recent international break. Not that there are many changes - the number of 'certainties' has gone up from twelve to sixteen, mind - but the emergence of Che Adams was the big talking point. It will be interesting to see what strategy Clarke uses when putting together his twenty-three man squad. Many international coaches have in the past just picked two players for every position, but a more progressive plan wo

Worst Signings of the 2020/21 Premiership season (part 1)

It's always fun being a critic, and even more so when it comes to Scottish football. In previous years the criticism of these articles has generally been along the lines of "you didn't rank our s*** player high enough". Except for the season I included St. Johnstone's David McMillan...but who was proven right then, I ask you? So this is the ninth year we've ranked the duds signed by Scottish Premiership clubs. Rory Boulding, Stephane Bahoken, Jim Fenlon, Rodney Sneijder, Joey Barton, Eduardo

Caley Thistle are collapsing towards relegation

Legend has it that Harold MacMillan, Prime Minister in the late nineteen-fifties, was once asked what is most likely to blow a government off course and replied "events, dear boy, events!" As in politics, so in life. And so in football, at least in Inverness. Make no mistake: Caley Thistle, their players and those who run the club have significant responsibility for their current plight too, but it has taken a perfect storm of factors, many of which are out of anyone's control, to leave them

Premiership out of contract players: who will stay and who will go?

We have only a couple of months of the season left, and by my count there are - at the time of writing - 141 Premiership players whose contracts are up in the summer. With Covid having impacted finances there are going to be some big budgetary decisions at some clubs to come. And there are many well-known names - often club stalwarts - who may be at risk of the axe. Here's my take on who will stay and who will go...(as ever, I look forward to being proven completely and utterly wrong)  ABERD

Celtic need to make sure this crisis becomes an opportunity

Right, the Neil Lennon era is finally over. The lame duck of the last several months has quacked its last. It would seem a bit cruel for someone to recount how it came to this, to rub salt into the wound... So now the question is: where do Celtic go from here? They are a distant second to Rangers, eighteen points adrift. They have no manager, no Director of Football and the new Chief Executive does not start until the summer. They have several key players likely to leave at the end of

Aberdeen have gone stale under McInnes

Back in the olden days, when everything was in black and white - or maybe it just felt like that in Aberdeen at the start of the 2000s - I was a regular visitor at Pittodrie. One season under Ebbe Skovdahl the Dons finished fourth in the league; later on under Jimmy Calderwood they came fourth three times and third once. Other league finishes in the early years of the twenty-first century include eighth, eleventh, ninth, ninth, ninth, eighth. And of course there was Skovdahl's first campaign, wh

Scottish football is (still) at a Covid crossroads

It is ten months since Covid forced Scottish football into lockdown. After all this time we still have no fans at matches, all divisions from League One downwards have been stopped until at least the end of January and the Scottish Cup has been halted. How depressing. And that is of course because of the even more miserable fact that Covid is still out there. Vaccination will hopefully provide a light at the end of the tunnel. But for Scottish football clubs that light cannot be reached quic

A far-too-early attempt at predicting Scotland's Euros squad

It would be absolutely typical if having qualified for Euro 2020, with two games in Glasgow, Scotland weren't allowed to play in front of fans...or worse, that the tournament gets wiped out due to the ongoing pandemic. Still, here's hoping. There's still five months to go, but that hasn't stopped me taking a look at the candidates to make the final twenty-three man squad. I've broken it down by position and taken a look at who is already (injury permitting) certain to be in that twenty-t

At last, Scotland are glorious without the failure

To be honest, I was ready to just pack it in. When Luka Jovic's header flew into the net, it felt like one heartbreak, one Glorious Failure too many. I just could not do it anymore. As Jovic celebrated, my mind was already racing ahead. The heads would be gone. We'd get creamed in extra time. If somehow we didn't, we'd screw up the penalties. I just couldn't be having with the agony of supporting Scotland any more. My wife is Northern Irish - perhaps I could just bring up my boys to support th

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

At last, Scotland are glorious without the failure

To be honest, I was ready to just pack it in. When Luka Jovic's header flew into the net, it felt like one heartbreak, one Glorious Failure too many. I just could not do it anymore. As Jovic celebrated, my mind was already racing ahead. The heads would be gone. We'd get creamed in extra time. If somehow we didn't, we'd screw up the penalties. I just couldn't be having with the agony of supporting Scotland any more. My wife is Northern Irish - perhaps I could just bring up my boys to support th

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

Ten In A Row is in jeopardy - must Celtic switch manager to save it?

The last time Celtic lost three consecutive home matches, Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, Kylie Minogue was at number one with 'Tears On My Pillow' (no, I've never heard of it either) and Rangers were on their way to Two In A Row. Admittedly in the subsequent thirty years there won't have been many times when Celtic played back-to-back-to-back games at Celtic Park against teams of the quality of Rangers, Milan and, um, Sparta Prague, but still. How has it come to this? Yes, Ran

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

Ten In A Row is in jeopardy - must Celtic switch manager to save it?

The last time Celtic lost three consecutive home matches, Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, Kylie Minogue was at number one with 'Tears On My Pillow' (no, I've never heard of it either) and Rangers were on their way to Two In A Row. Admittedly in the subsequent thirty years there won't have been many times when Celtic played back-to-back-to-back games at Celtic Park against teams of the quality of Rangers, Milan and, um, Sparta Prague, but still. How has it come to this? Yes, Ran

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain

2020/21 Scottish Championship preview

I did kinda already look at the Championship sides a month ago. What's changed? Not a lot. Hearts should stroll this. Even if their entire starting XI were ruled out with Covid the next eleven players up would still be stronger than everyone else. There has been a worrying hint of the same trait that dogged Robbie Neilson's Dundee United team last season - doing just enough to win and not a lot else, rather than blowing away opponents - but if that's the most negative thing I can come up

hislopsoffsideagain

hislopsoffsideagain



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  • Our picks

    • Inverness CT -V- Morton - Preview
      After the international break it's back to the Championship on Saturday as Morton come to the Caledonian Stadium looking to lift themselves up the table and clear of the bottom places. The game kicks-off at 3:00pm with Inverness hoping to put the defeat to Hamilton behind them.
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    • Elgin City 2-4 Inverness CT - Ch/Cup
      He scores when he wants: Elgin City raced into an early two goal lead through a Tom Grivosti header and a great finish from Brian Cameron as City hit on the counter when Connor O'Keefe did well down the right before Cameron hammered a tremendous shot high into the net from just inside the box. Just when it looked like Elgin were cruising, Billy Mckay took matters into his own hands when he fired home from sixteen yards and then grabbed a second two minutes later as pressure mounted on the home goal.

      Half Time: 2-2

      After an even opening to the second half, Billy Mckay got his hat-trick before a great through ball from McAlear put Lewis Jamieson through to dink his shot behind McHale for the fourth Inverness goal as Elgin heads went down. With the wind now out of the Elgin sails, Inverness saw out the game comfortably to progress into the next round to face Raith Rovers.
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    • Elgin City -V- Inverness CT- Ch/Cup
      Olde rivalry renewed: Its not often we get the opportunity to renew acquaintances with one of our, (especially Caley), main adversaries in ye olde Highland League, but this Saturday we will travel to Borough Briggs for a Challenge Cup tie against Elgin City. This season it's called the SPFL Trust Trophy. Don't forget this game is an early kick off at 2:00pm.
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    • Hamilton 2-1 Inverness CT - Report
      Accies did inflict the first reverse for Inverness, as the Caley Jags drowned at the fountain of youth, and they did it with ten men for over an hour after Reegan Mimnaugh was sent off for a second bookable offence. They opened the scoring when Lewis Smith thumped the ball into the net after only five minutes. Andy Ryan added a second as Inverness crumbled and failed to trouble the home keeper. 2-0 at the break and Inverness bossed possession after the interval but never made Fulton work for his money. Harper hit the bar as the pressure mounted and Michael Gardyne scored a late consolation in injury time, but it was too little too late. With Raith beating Killie and Arbroath drawing, no major damage was done with Raith and Partick the big winners this weekend.
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    • Hamilton -V- Inverness CT - Preview
      No Rice: We would have locked horns with one of our olde gaffers sidekicks this weekend as Inverness travel to the Fountain of Youth Stadium (NDP) in South Lanarkshire. Brian Rice was the man who took Accies down, and not before time if you ask me as they have been flirting with relegation for years,
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