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Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Predictions 2019/20

4 Aug
spfl prem
1 Rangers Rangers
2 wpid-2014-10-30-16-42-23-1807006305.jpeg Celtic
3 Hibs Hibernian
4 Aberdeen Aberdeen
5 St J Saint Johnstone
6 mwell Motherwell
7 HMFC Heart of Midlothian
8 RC Ross County
9 Killie Kilmarnock
10 accies Hamilton
11 livi Livingston
12 STM Saint Mirren


Well another Season and another chance to laugh at the idiot who makes predictions. Now in my fifth year of this madness it’s time to harden my neck and put it on the chopping block. I will be wrong I may also be right but just for fun here it is. No one has 2020 vision but here is my Mystic Meg Impression for 2019.


Rangers – This is not a season for Dave King not to buy Brasso. The pressure and expectations at Ibrox means this is make or break for Steven Gerrard. The squad now looks like it could last a season and with additional support in Mid-Season I feel that Rangers will be celebrating title number Fifty Five.

Steven Gerrard © Ronny Davies 2019



Celtic – Neil Lennon has the scope and skills to win a championship (he has done it before) but I got the feeling that Celtic towards the end of last season were operating on memory not endeavour. I am not sure that Neil Lennon has enough to beat a fully functioning league as comprehensively as his Predecessors and his previous tenure. Will be interesting but Celtic in second.


Neil Lennon  Ronny Davies 2019



Hibernian – Higgingbottom has installed a discipline and a style that has been refreshing and winning Hibs certainly finished last season with momentum and I think they will carry it through to this season.

Aberdeen – With all eyes on new stadia and a Chairman saying increased funding for football it was a shock to see the Dons fall to 4th in last year’s standings. Losing your Captain and the same set of circumstances seem to make it a simple choice to place The Pittodrie side in same position.


Derek McInnes   © Ronny Davies 2019



Saint Johnstone – Two mediocre Seasons by Tommy Wrights Standards usual means the same thing this season will be a top six finish for the Perth Club. It the law of averages but seems an easy choice to place them in fifth.


Tommy Wright © Ronny Davies 2019



Motherwell – As with Saint Johnstone last year was terrible for the fir park side. Stephen Robertson did a revamp mid-season and reaped the rewards I would have placed the Steelmen higher but losing Hastie and the Turnbull saga and Injury means I really don’t see Motherwell Rocking the league but they will finish top six.


Steven Robertson ©Ronny Davies 2019


Heart of Midlothian – There is something from the outside that stinks at Tynecastle. Great Squad amazing board room but a shocking lack of brilliance on the pitch. On paper Hearts are Top Six but in practice Hearts scrape seventh.

Ross County – New boys looking to make up from their disastrous relegation season and bounced back with vengeance. Strolled the Championship and with that will go far be safe and slot into eighth.

Kilmarnock – Simply Put Ninth. Steve Clarke has left the building and took the secret formula with him. A calamitous European campaign bodes badly for this season.

Hamilton – Safe in tenth but it will be tight but mission accomplished for Brian Rice. Without a new Academy Starlet to excite the New Douglas Park Crowd then its only cause there is worse teams that keeps the Accies in the top League.

Livingston – Worse away record last year and teams are used to the terrible Plastic Pitch now so their home form won’t be as good. Play offs for the Almondvale side and pot luck in that battle.

Saint Mirren – Much like Kilmarnock their wonder kid manager left and now on the third pick since Jack Ross they are still a club in freefall saved only by Dundee being so awful last year. This job has come too early for Jim Goodwin Championship for Paisley next year.



Officially Crisis

10 Jan

Let’s get the elephant in the room out the way. Keyboard Gangsters and Death Threats involving Police Scotland to advise and Protect Officials and Pundits is frankly an embarrassment for the whole of Scottish Football. Personally I do not agree with BT Sport’s Chris Sutton on most things but give the Englishman credit he may be wrong he may need to correct some of his methods of delivery could even become slightly less bias in his Apparent Hate everything but one of his former Employers but he makes you think and consider. I was once told that the best thing you can do is read a newspaper you do not agree with because it will allow you to form a rounded opinion. The Norfolk Tractor boy often barely hides his alegancies but he joins the debate and allow fair minded people not only to dismiss his opinion but form or cement their own opinions. In any debate there is always a lunatic Fringe take Brexit for example seems the Extremists have squeezed out the common ground in the middle. Polarisation is rarely the way forward. Ask Teresa May

And I guess that’s the point. Please by all means disagree with Mr Sutton or anyone. Feel free to use his views as a basis for your own. Agree disagree think he is Cutting through the Crap or convince yourself he is full of S**t by all means sign up or sign out. But death threats, I imagine that Mr Sutton’s thick skin was not concerned with being called an Ar**hole I would also envisage that Police Scotland thought there was enough Creditable Risk to become involved themselves. Threats against a person any person is simply not the way to behave or is it just me that considers that resorting to low life low level Terrorism is wrong. If I am wrong in this then I really don’t want to be right.

Do I think there is a Conspiracy or agenda held against any Club by any official? I think some officials seem to have more regular bad days when officiating some clubs? Yes do I think that is a reason to question their motives? NO and sometimes in life we just encounter situations that bring out the things we didn’t want. They are pubs I personally have never enjoyed being in even though Freinds think the Bar is amazing. This is same for all Humanity sometimes we just hit same barriers no matter how hard we try to avoid them. As stated above I do not think that it’s a reason to threaten or cause fear.

For me it’s very simple Officials will make errors, they will apply rules in different ways in different circumstances. The same way a Player will make errors, passing to the right when the better pass is to the left, mistiming a tackle when holding off would be more appropriate. Managers will make errors playing a formation that weakens their chances of winning, selecting a starting line up and keeping star striker on bench. And Chairman and Board Rooms well hindsight is perfect vision if some of the clowns who inhabit the Directors Box think for one second they are beyond scrutiny then ask your self one simple question. Have they Sacked a Manager? Binning a Coach they employed to provide success is clearly the Board Room admitting they made a mistake employing the Person in first place. How many points has a woeful and lengthy Board Room deliberations cost a Club. Many more than a simple error in a split second that is for sure.

To return to Officials. These highly motivated People are in fact the bedrock of the Game. No Officials no Game! Does it mean I think the current crop of Officials are beyond Criticism? Not in the slightest. I do actually have some questions that need answered.

So where to begin seems to me that since Linesmen were replaced by Assistant Referees on Touch Line that we have a major failure. Too many times I have witnessed these Flag Jockeys doing anything but Assist the Whistler. A ball goes out 3 metres from the Assistant Referee,. The Assistant has clear view the Referees view is obscured by two or three players and the Referee is 12 metres away. All common sense says the Assistant is best placed to make the call you would think. Yet time and time again the Assistant refrains from making the call pointing the flag in air and Assisting the referee to enter into what looks like asking for advice from the Whistler before making what everyone can see is a simple call. What is stopping the Assistant doing the Job of assisting the Referee? Is it a fear of removing the Referees Authority? I seem to remember Linesmen having no trouble raising their flags and Referees believing their Colleagues without discussion. No these flag Jockeys are wired up on intercom system with buzzers, voice and digital communications yet the basic running the line determining if ball had left field of Play and whom got last touch (basic Linesman duties). Has turned into asking the one person who is in worse position to determine what they think? Where is the assistance?

The fourth official, A bouncer and display holder? Possible sub should an Official go down with a torn Hamstring? Is this their purpose?

Additional Assistant Referees. A great idea badly delivered. Surely they run the wrong by-line. I mean why have the Assistant Referee and the Additional Assistant converge at same Corner Flag surely it’s advantageous in assisting in reaching a higher standard if this official stood on the other side of the Goal than currently. It’s maybe the emergence of that rarity of Common Sense with this one. For me potentially we have a minimum of two officials with different angles looking at Play in addition to the Fourth Official and at least one other with a wider view of what’s happening. Remembering we also have the eye in the sky. The Mysterious Referee Supervisor. This person seem to be there to grade officials performance.

Love then or loath them the Officials are being hampered by Powers in Authority.

Expensive VAR I have heard talk of Clubs baulking at potential loss of income due to paying for this and we then are faced with more officials who seem to have to slot into the In Play Referee Command Structure that plainly is already flawed either by Guidelines (FIFA, UEFA or SFA) or by what can only be classed as Whistler Ego.

Quick Idea NFL has SEVEN Officials on the pitch and some Video Officials. Any one of the Seven in field can Flag Foul Play. This is then communicated to main Umpire who communicates the decision. Now I totally understand that Soccer is more Fluid than American Football but surely with now a minimum of 4 Officials plus Supervisor and prospect of 2 AARs. We are getting into territory of each Official having the same skills to judge any incident on its own merits and alert the Lead Official (Referee with Whistle) to act accordingly and the Main Umpire Referee to believe their Colleague. After all they are all in constant Radio Communication. The command Teirs of Referee being in sole charge of a game has lead to Castrated Officials with Flags, in track suit in technical area or worse standing on wrong side of the Goal.

I have sympathy for officials they do the most difficult of jobs in a game that although remaining true to original rules drawn up in 19th Century have been let down as the speed of the game increases in the 21st Century. Scrutinised via television in super slow motion by so called experts who possibly requires a sharp eyed member of twiterati to highlight a possible Referee Error who probably like the officials did not see any infringement in real time.

Referees do not help themselves with a failure to engage after the match hiding behind Compliance Officers and official SFA statements.

It’s aloof at best and problematic. If the officials are being microscopically critiqued then it’s only fair that the Officials have a right to reply. Not answer a barrage of questions but at least defend their actions even if the reply is in the speed of the game and heat of moment I decided …… Subsequently I was shown to be wrong/right.

Finally and this probably does not affect you. To paraphrase Dennis Nordon “If you are the type of person who…” threatens when they cannot construct an arguement and seeks retribution via cowardly acts then you do realise that evolution has left you behind. Your presence is not wanted in any connection with Football, in fact society has left you in the gutter.

Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Predictions 2018-19

5 Aug

spfl prem

Well in what is now becoming a tradition? Once again it’s prediction time. With the skin of a hippopotamus and the bravery of a Lion I will once again stick my neck out like a Giraffe and try not to make a pig’s ear out of it. (Editor Note no more Safari Animal References Please).


















Heart Of Midlothian





St J

Saint Johnstone






Hamilton Academicals



Saint Mirren




First of all Rangers sleeping giant with its troubles not to seek. From the Mexican Experiment of Pedro Caixinha moving glasses about a table to Jimmy Nichol looking after last games, including an honourable mention to Graeme Murty. It has to be said with all that on the touchline and off the field Legal Cases the writers of Hollyoaks must have been wondering who was writing the script and the Cast must have wondered how they didn’t get an audition for a part. Throw in a the mass Google of “concomitant” and safe to say the Ealing Farce fulfilled all of Lord Reith’s values to Educate, Inform and Entertain. Steven Gerrard has been given some funds to spend, investing wisely as well as releasing some of the lesser performing inheritance he got on his first day. Goldstone and Katic look solid with Croatian Katic looking a decent goal threat at set prices and Corners. Allan McGregor brings a solidity and trust between the sticks. Ryan Jack looks like he is spending every waking moment picking his Gaffers Brains. A little shy on the Striker with Morelos seemingly continuing his wasteful efforts in front of goal. The Ibrox faithful demand success and will not accept the sloppy loss of valuable points like last season. This time for Dave King and Rangers it has to work.

Celtic. Brendan Rodgers has had a quiet summer don’t be fooled by Back to Back Trebles it was a slog last season with records broken yet domestic defeat creeping into Celtics games. Domestic Football immediately after Big European Games being a particular sore spot for Hoops fans. The minimal action in the transfer market meaning that at time of writing Celtic effectively had the same squad as last year a squad that had not quiet reached the standards of the previous seasons Invintrebles. It will be incredible to see if Brendan Rodgers methods that failed at Liverpool will be beaten by Steven Gerrard’s instinctive Anfield boot room methods. Will Celtic concentrate again on Champions League trusting no one domestically can touch them or will this confidence be shaken by Rangers? They say winning is a good habit and it is but losing is not something domestically Celtic have been used to and whatever way you slice it the hoops will lose more points this season than last three seasons.

Hibernian. Hat tip to the Leith side. Neil Lennon has got the Huber’s playing some scintillating football. Keeping a hold of John McGinn is important and firming up their defence would be great moves for the Easter Road Squad. Free Scoring and questionable in defence makes Easter Road the place to go for Goals. But this type of play backfires as much as it works running the risk of losing five goals and scoring three. Never the less I predict Hibs in third.

Aberdeen. It’s strange but last season’s second placed team seemed to be there by default as much as effort. In the run in while Celtic cantered and Rangers faltered the Dons seemed to run away from grasping the nettle. Very much a transition season with Key players leaving Derek McInnes seemed to be developing a new game plan. Niall McGinn returning mid-season is a boon and eighteen year old Lewis Ferguson is showing signs of brilliance but he is only eighteen and can hardly be relied upon over the course of a season. Kenny McLean left for Norwich reportedly quadrupling his wages and in a strange move talisman striker Adam Rooney was sold to Salford City no doubt both will do well in England. Aberdeen need a defined Striker Stevie May is not it. Goals from Midfield won’t be enough. With strict budgeting restraints and a new stadia complex being built the question is can Aberdeen keep hold of second place, Players and indeed their manager. Last year’s approach by Rangers for McInnes was Keystone Cops stuff all round. The board saying No to Rangers then giving McInnes and Docherty two days off to think about an offer that the board had rejected. That does not imply clear thinking in the wood panelled Pittodrie Board Room. As a note George Yule leaving the Board due to Health reasons is a massive blow to Aberdeen he was The Dons Mr Fixit an energetic operator who would be missed by any Club.

Kilmarnock. Steve Clarke quietly revolutionised Rugby Park. Turning Killie from mid table to shock troops. His tactical organisation made Kilmarnock more than the sum of its parts. Difficult to beat and free Scoring. The issue is with few new parts and the organisation tactic becoming predictable then Shock and Awe will be replaced by knowing Steve Clarke’s hand. They are few Aces available to Clarke so fifth place it is.

Heart of Midlothian. A wonderful Tale tags to riches the last few years with Hero’s and Villains. The problem with Hearts is you are never sure what team will come out like their Manager Craig Levin will you get mean and Moody Tyncastle or will you get smiley happy Gorgie. Some great youths mixed with experienced Pros exciting to watch and after an unregistered player incident and last year’s attempts to intimidate Scott Brown it will be interesting to see if Hearts can make the grade. I think they sneak barely into sixth.

Motherwell. Workmanlike, Robust Hard to play against and Harder to Beat. All terms used by fallen Managers about Stephen Robinson’s Well. The team that effectively Ended Pedro Caixinha’s term at Ibrox in a League Cup Semi Final was also subject to extreme scrutiny regards tactics. I do not think Scottish Referees will so understand this term and the absence of Louis Moult will consign Well into bottom 6. Some fine players at Fir Park but just not enough quality for top six and given their bad boy reputation I think seventh is about right.

Saint Johnstone. It’s very difficult to see the Perth Saints improving after last year’s fall out of top six. It’s a lot easier to see them stagnating mid table. So I took the path of least resistance. A small squad and really at times towards last season a tired looking Manage devoid of the ideas that brought European Football to Perth. It’s really difficult to see MacDiarmid Park ushering in the good times again. Too Many maybe men and maybe performances to think anything other than bottom six.

Dundee. Neil McCann has energised invigorated berated and at least tried to introduce consistency of performance into the Dens side. Satisfied Dundee are better than their City Rivals and with a miniscule Budget then Survival and bottom six suits most Dark Blues. Always able to provide a shock but never seemingly able to go on a run of victories a comfortable ninth seems a good season for Dundee.

Hamilton. Secure and organised Marin Canning has secured Accies future with sale of Lewis Ferguson. Will continue to survive in Premiership and hopefully develop another sale to secure next season. It’s the Accies way they make no bones about it and they on the whole are very good at it. Billy Reid started it and only when the stars go against them and they lose two prospects in a close season do they seem to struggle. Always hovering with disaster but staying up just in ninth.

Saint Mirren. Jack Ross their talisman Manager heading south and installing Alan Stubbs an untried manager at this level. Losing numerous of their best players and seemingly trying to copy Accies in the selling stakes. Fan ownership or not the departures from Paisley with untried Manager seems to put the writing on the wall. With just enough Quality as a hangover from last season’s Championship Victory the playoffs and roulette for Saint Mirren.

Livingston. Another promoted side this time despatching Partick to Championship. Again Untried Manager with meagre resources and not that much quality to start with. It difficult to imagine Kenny Millers first Managerial Job not ending in automatic relegation. The income will secure the club with Central Belt fans enjoying the short trip to away visits. That will bode well for the Club in its quest to financial security but sadly a quick return to the Championship with a nice Bank Balance.

Kingsford Stadium Aberdeen’s Last Hope

17 Aug

I have real issues with Anti Kingsford protesters. I have lived within a mile of Ibrox for 22 years. Never have fans rioted past my house. 

Traffic congestion is manageable and predictable. Rangers Games keep the area vibrant and functioning. If you look around Ibrox you see many more thriving small businesses ran by Local People than anywhere else in Southside. As a Former Westhill Academy Pupil I understand the local area as good as any. I am not a Dons fan but I do believe that Kingsford is an ambitious project that will benefit Aberdeen Football Club, enhance Scottish Football and give the area the kind of Profile it deserves.

Strikes me that the people who complain actually do not like any football probably visit Westhill Golf Club thinking this counts as Sport or support Sir Andy Murray as long as he didn’t bounce a Tennis Ball in their Street. Everything by Proxy. 
It’s a Strange fact that no one complained when a Post Box in Westhill was painted Gold to reflect Tim Baillie’s Gold Medal. Snobbery is not an excuse; Elitism is not a valid Planning concern. 

Infact the only concern I would pass on to the ANTI stadia folk is not football related. By far the biggest issue with having a stadia and events on your doorstep is not to worry about football it is strangely the other events that can appear. The biggest hassles living in this area with events that have impacted on Freedom of Movement, Noise Pollution, security, litter and property crimes has been; Pope’s Visit, Commonwealth Games Rugby, Glasgow Sessions, Great Scottish Runs, 10ks, fun runs. Eminem is playing next week in Bellahouston Park and I am already worried. History says it will be carnage. 

It is a disgrace not unexpected as AWPR NIMBYs have caused many deaths due to their holding up a Bypass. As a City Aberdeen wants to looked on as Modern Metropolitan City yet is dragged back into dark ages by small minded. 

Not since 1903 when Football Authorities had to invite Orion FC, Aberdeen Victoria FC and Aberdeen FC to form a Senior Football Club has the rest of Scottish Football looked on the North East as a special case. The decisions took in 1903 have arguably lead directly to Aberdeen’s greatest days. Gothenburg in 1983, league Championships, Scottish Cups and League Cups. Days of Unity.  Not to mention Aberdeen being seen as a valid venue for Scottish international matches in both Football and Rugby. Putting Aberdeen firmly on the Sporting Atlas. 

Just as the AWPR will reduce congestion, lower inner city pollutants; reduce injuries and deaths, improving The City.  A new home for the Dons will drive Aberdeen FC, The City and Shire from the machinations of Edwardian times into the 21st Century. 

As a last point why are the property values going to drop with the infrastructure of an area receiving hundreds of Millions of Pounds of Investment then any estate agent would tell you that unless the investment is a nuclear power plant House prices will only rise.
Aberdeen and the Shire have to wake up the specter of Aberdeen Football Club playing European Fixtures out with the City and Shire even in the Central Belt this defies reason. Pittodrie is a stadium in need of demolition it is simply uneconomic to bring up to specification and in fact given its location it is simply impossible to expand. Following the shambles of the Lorrison planning application and now the Kingsford complaints the impression that Aberdeen is not open for inward investment and development is a real possibility that will directly harm Jobs and all so that some locals do not have to drive past a Facility. 

Kingsford is not in any Westhill Back yard it’s not even in the same Postcode. It is time that sections of the Oil Capital of Europe sucked it up and realised that money won’t just bubble out of the ground anymore. Aberdeen needs to become a Modern City with a Modern Outlook or it will become a DRY COUNTY of Despair. 


City’s only get one chance in a generation failure this time round will cut Aberdeen (shire) adrift in North Sea for many years.

Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions 2016-17

30 Jul


It’s that time of the year where fools go and the devil fears to tread simply put its prediction time.  Season 20016-17 can not be understated.  The return of Rangers and the massive additional fan base this gives the league generates interest in every game every week.  Only time will tell on how accurate this prediction is but anyway here goes.


Ladbrookes Scottish Premiership Predictions

1 Celtic
2 Aberdeen
3 Rangers
4 St Johnstone
5 Hearts
6 Ross County
7 Dundee
8 Kilmarnock
9 Partick Thistle
10 Inverness CT
11 Motherwell
12 Hamilton
Bren Rog

           Brendan Rodgers               ( © Belfast Telegraph)




 Can’t really be a surprise to pick Celtic to win this season.  Brendan Rodgers simply has to win or be judged a worse failure than he was at Anfield.  There can be no slip ups.  Interesting signings belay the fact that there is simply too many Players on Celtics books. The Wage Bill is enormous and even reopening areas of the Stands and the new still to be tested Standing area will not reduce the pressure of paying wages for no return.  The embarrassment of Lincoln Red Imps shall be the fired at Rodgers if his Hoops lose in Any Match.  Celtic to win but not by Much certainly not more than 10 Points.


Derek McInnes   (© Ronny Davies)



Aberdeen in Second seems an easy pick too.  Oh how every Dons Fan wants to forget October 2015.  The usual Consistency Question Mark sits over a soon to be demolished Pittodrie.  The Squad seem to take their eyes off the ball for long periods of the season.  Draws at Home to Partick and Inverness seem to compound the maintaining of Standards set so High by Derek McInnes who has to be attracting other Clubs wishing a vibrant Manager to reverse their Clubs Fortunes.  A Massive season for Aberdeen they simply have to impose themselves as valid Championship Contenders on the Field before as you would expect the Old Firm begin to resume pass the Cup across the Clyde Game they play so well.  In addition Aberdeen’s Board have to not focus so much on the New Stadium In Westhill so that they lose sight of the actual business of Playing Football.

New AFC Westhill

New Aberdeen Stadium Plans          Westhill Aberdeenshire              (©


Rangers in Third seems like a newly promoted clubs Dream but Rangers are not really comparable to the usual promoted Teams.  Rangers have a Squad littered with International Class Players,  have a well-respected and feared manager in Mark Warburton.  Also lets mention the Elephant in the Room have more than a point to prove against Clubs whom in the eyes of Rangers Fans and Board were heinous in their victimisation of Rangers in last five years.  As Criminal Proceedings continue it would be unwise to comment but as the dust settles most fair-minded Commentators realise the fervour that was aimed at Rangers and placing the club in the lower divisions was short-sighted and fuelled by Jealous and Hatred.  Almost Every Game Involving Rangers in the Premiership will have this edge.  The Important things for Rangers Fans is to curb this enthusiasm so its channelled positively and not into any Rod Petrie Style Exuberance.  Dave King has Talked the Talk its time he Walked The Walk.  The stage is set for him to back himself and his words the question is will he?


Mark Warburton 

(© Ronny Davies)

Saint Johnstone in Fourth seems a push but I like Tommy Wright,  he has a workmanlike Managerial style that is displayed by His team week in week out.  Perth is blessed with a good tried and tested Squad that can easily spring surprises in the league and should unspectacular hit fourth with no real sparkling individual displays but a great team ethic.  To my mind it’s really that short and sweet.

Hearts in Fifth,  the Gorgie Club flattered to deceive last year poor in cups and disappointing in the games that mattered.  Letting Neil Alexander go seemed fuelled by either lack of ambition or an unwillingness to Pay a seasoned Professional the going Rate.  The loss of some experienced players in Tynecastle’s home dressing room will only be exposed in the games when Craig Levine And Co can’t walk onto the Pitch during games and look out for Graeme Hogg style targets.  The Fan ownership model and Ann Budge have yet to display that no matter how ethical everything financial is at Hearts it’s yet to deliver anything notable in terms of pure footballing success.  Winning the Championship in 2014-15 will not keep Jam tarts fans happy for much longer.  A long season ahead for the Maroon Legions.

Ross County In Sixth again much like Saint Johnstone the Dingwall side just seem to consistently be there or there about. Mid Table far from mediocre more secure in knowledge they are safe might interfere with European places might change the destination of the Title and might be the team that pushes a Club mathematically into the Championship or play off place.  They will do all this without actually being the club in any of the places neither at top or at bottom.

The  City of Discovery’s only representative in the top league in Seventh place.  Following James McPake’s horror injury the Dark Blues seemed to be in shock for most of the season afterwards.  I witnessed Paul Hartley in a Post Match Press Conference looking like a Crime Watch Victim reliving a Mugging.  Too many times last season Dundee were Mugged, robbed of valuable points and the sparkling performances from Gary Harkins shall not be so easily done with the loss of the Highly talented Kane Hemmings.  I imagine a tight race for seventh place in a league within a league  with Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle.  The lack of Dundee Derby’s will give the Dens fans the chance to lord it over their City Rivals in Pubs and Clubs and at work but the missing sparkle and excitement of the rivalry will detract from the feeling with in Dens Park.


Paul Hartley post Match

(© Ronny Davies)



Kilmarnock in Eighth. It is a punt in the dark. Lee Clark has signed a whole new starting eleven!  How quickly they gel and how easily they are accepted is of paramount importance to The Rugby Park faithful.  With their own Celebrity You tuber ready to fire off vitriol from the Rugby Park  Car Park even before the final whistle its very much up to Lee Clark and Co to silence the uneasy dwindling masses who have more than enough to throw at everyone at Rugby Park.  Kilmarnock are a club on precipice of Board room troubles and Player Revolts hand in hand with a Fan Base that is near the end of its tether.

Partick in Ninth for me the best organised team in the league. Alan Archibald has no star players he has a well-drilled squad that collectively is greater than the sum of its Parts . How no Club from down south has whisked Alan away to  pastures new is beyond me. Quietly Spoken and intelligent When you look at the Firhill Teamsheet the twelfth man is listed as head Coach because you play twelve when you play Partick. Hard to break down but the rest of the Clubs have seen chinks in the Harry Wraggs armour the question is has Thistles brilliant manager identified them too and filled them with his excellent organisational tactics for the new season.

Inverness  Caledonian Thistle in Tenth for no other reason than the departure of the vibrant John Hughes and the installation of a Player direct from the Dressing Room as Manager Rarely works  even the Great Kenny Dalgleish struggled and he was the only real successful transition from Pitch to Dug Out in recent times . Saint Mirren suffered Humiliation and relegation two seasons ago following this route, and it is only the bottom twos making better cases to be in these positions that to my notion prevents Inverness following out of the Premiership.  I very much doubt Calley will be out the bottom Six past September and will flirt with Playoff and Relgation all season sure they will still spring a surprise result here and there but not in a way that will propel them up the league.

Will deal with Eleventh and Twelve together or the Lanarkshire derby Hamilton look like their Luck has run out with no new Wonder Kids coming out of their usually Prolific Academy the season looks like a journey back to the Playoffs for The New Douglas Park Club where their Playoff History makes them a force to be reckoned with. Motherwell have the same feel as Dundee United had last term no new blood same old same old for Mark McGhee to pick from and like their Neighbours across the M74 no real exciting Youth prospects to display or even some one in the pipeline.  The New Ownership Model seems to strangle Scotland Assistant Coach McGhee’s ability to raid the transfer market and from disappointing survival last season to automatic relegation seems the most likely outcome in May 2017.

Exuberance – Shock and Awe

24 May

There was a time not so long ago that no matter what accusation was placed at the Doors of Ibrox the Club would remain silent.  Silence is Golden as they say.  It may of been golden but it left the Rangers Loyal adrift.  The dark days of the now defunct ‘Rangers Tax Case’ internet domination with its made up facts and defamation being given free reign to say anything and go unchallenged are thankfully gone. 

The PR operation at Rangers has gone from a shy retiring librarian cowering in the corner in the basement of Ibrox to a Professional well run machine.  The Press Office is a joy to deal with.  The Public Relations Department outsourced to a PR Company have not only tackled the tricky issues but have released competent cohesive statements. 

In the last few days since the William Hill Scottish Cup Final the public face of Rangers have not only proudly represented the Club but have provided a voice that the Rangers Fans have been able to agree fully with.  A difficult balancing act but one skillfully managed by Rangers Football Club. 

A immediate After match statement delivered by James Traynor in Collaborative tones with hint of righteous anger juxtapose favourably with the Car Crash Conference given by Rod Petrie some time later. 

Where James was succinct to the point, Petrie was rambling and borderline offensive.  Petrie could of in fact should of taken a page out of the  Rangers book of 5 years ago and said nothing. 

Rangers said their piece and also said no further statement from the club would be forthwith until at least Monday.  Then quietly left to no doubt bandage up the wounds.  A key factor is that Saturday Night was silent from Ibrox not even a Player Tweet.  Rangers shut down and shut up.  Nothing required to be added, a all points shut down in the media. 

The events were discussed at length on Radio, Television and newspapers.  Thee vast majority of Journalists agreeing on events.  Certainly all the Journalists in attendance with the exception of One agreed.  One Man who was there no Lover of Rangers found excessive fault in a small section of Rangers Fans behaviour.  This man is shunned by colleagues within the Press Pack he cuts a isolated figure sitting alone and never engaged in long conversations with others as is the Norm.  I won’t name him as he is indeed a Victim of his own press and I for one do not like to Bully sad and lonely figures.

Some appeared on Radio being petty and illinformed using hastily cut away television pictures as their guide.  Again a untrustworthy source given a platform to spout his skewed views. 

The vitriolic biased view of these two and selected others.  The lack of common decency from Hibernian Football Club to enquire about the well being of fellow members of the Football Family.  The words of the Scottish PFA stand as a damning indictment of the simple task of checking on a Man’s health. 

The lack of a Statement from Scottish Government so vocal in previous Football issues lead Rangers to feel forced to issue an additional Statement.&nbspGone are the days when you could say what you want about Rangers and go without challenge. 

The SFA are in the midst of their biggest crisis since Jock Stein died.  As Hosts, Promoters and Up keepers of the laws. Stuart Regan and co can not charge, blame or blame themselves themselves for failure to Police or Steward a game appropriately as they will learn lessons no doubt about it.  In my opinion there was amply Stewards and Police in  attendance.  Let’s face it no one at 1455 looked about and thought there is not enough fluorescent  jackets.  If anything one though maybe too many. 

The lessons learned in this regard in my view is how can you get a quick reaction to events such as the ones following the final whistle.  The sight of professional Footballer being rescued from assault by their own Clubs staff and Match Officials while the majority of Police and  Stewards awaited orders or guarded the Tunnel was a disgrace. 

Rangers have consistently Praised the majority of Rangers fans for showing restraint.  Accepting the fact some who would claim Self Defence or Provocation shamed the Govan Club with their actions. They are no excuses no justification for any fan to invade the pitch.  No colours no over exuberance no lengthy period of joylessness.  Self defence only cuts so far. Falling victim to being provoked even extreme provocation still makes you wrong it won’t stand up as a defence in Court. 

The pictures show that substantially more Green was on the pitch than Blue.  It was clearly Hibs fans damaging Goal Posts.  For any student of history would direct you to Wembley 1977 for how fragile the Goal Frame actually is. So it was hardly surprising the frame lay in ruins as David Grey lifted the Trophy.

The ramifications and punishments shall drip into Public Domain.  It seems unlikely the Cup will be ripped from Easter Road. The calls for Hibernian to be stripped of Europa League Place more than likely to only gain volume with the beneficiary not going to Rangers but to League position.  This would mean St Johnstone would play in Europe. This would have to fixed quickly as Tommy Weight surely needs time to Plan. 

Prize money would indeed should be withheld for no other reason than the Branded pictures with Sponsors William Hill appearing in newspapers and television simply don’t exist.  Additional financial payments should be levied because of Damage to pitch this should be reflected in costs incurred.  Remember William Hill were deprived of several Money Shots, Rangers were robbed of public awarding of Runners Up medals, Match Officials were not rewarded publicly for their excellent handling of the game. They did not collect their Accolades in as the Trophy gleamed in the May Sun. The absolute minimum of what happens after a final was ruined, stolen in over exuberance. After being jostled, Assaulted and spat on its only natural for Referees and Rangers Staff alike to immediately think of getting Home safe. The Referees Report should be in Hampden now. Would love for it to be made Public too. You could as we have all done now redact the Match element and just concentrate on the Post Match incidents.

The most immediate lesson for all is don’t be like Rod Petrie SFA official as well as Hibernian Chairman make sure your breifed before opening your mouth. Don’t be like The Scottish Government and Govan MSP Nicola Sturgeon who as first Minister Tweeted her pleasure for Hibernians achievements. This is a Government who had high level Crisis Meetings following a Old Firm debacle bringing in new Laws, condemning a solo lunatic trying to attack Neil Lennon. All old firm fans want is equality, anything less is looked on as anti Old Firm and in law you can’t use laws specifically like that. In government you represent all people not just the ones you like. The Rangers and Celtic do not want special treatment they want equal treatment. Rangers specifically don’t want universal Love, the Club and its Fans know they are roundly hated but all Rangers Staff And fans deserve to have their Safety being a Priority and expect to be treated fairly.

The SFA immediate statement from Stuart Regan as good and well informed as was clearly possible to be hit a tone.  Maybe the crisis meeting agreed no further statements should be issued.  One would imagine SFA officials burned midnight oil and maybe wanted a Sunday of reflection and realisation, allowing the events to be filed in a order without the fog of shock and awe.

Aberdeen Celtic Match Report

14 Sep

Aberdeen stormed two points clear at top of Premiership with a two one victory over Celtic.

The early kick off saw both teams field attacking set ups. The first half was a battle of wills as much as skills as Celtic tried to bully and dominate a defiant Dons. The fans in the paddock may of sung stand free but the Reds on the pitch stood firm. Neither keeper was really troubled by anything other than goal kicks. Although Leigh Griffiths deflected free kick hitting the crossbar could of changed the face of the game had it deflected lower.  A penalty converted by Leigh Griffiths following a foul by Andy Considine on the Celtic number Nine.  Griffiths assertion that Considine should of been sent off as He (Griffiths) would of scored belies his own confidence but is also a tad disrespectful to Danny Ward who has saved Aberdeen more times than not this season. The Celtic strikers post match remarks will no doubt be subject to a review by the SFA compliance officers this week. 


Halftime score flattered Celtic neither team deserved a lead at the interval. Some would say the game got bogged down in midfield but I personally loved the battles in the middle. The second half started in much the same manner although Derek McInnes halftime chat must of reminded his Dons they were playing in their house.  They looked more purposful in attack and probed into dangerous areas.

A massive Penalty shout for the Dandy Dons was turned away as Officials deemed the ball striking former Don Charlie Mulgrew’s arm accidental. This may of been playing on the officials mind Celtic’s Boyata clashed legs with Greame Shinnie in the area for a foul tackle that in all probability did not need to be made. Craig Thompson pointed to the spot to the delight of the hone support.  Adam Rooney equalised and eleven minutes in the game was all square. Both Penalties were correct if not soft and how the Mulgrew Handball was not given living by the standards set by the four SFA appointees is a point of debate. The bookings were strange and the red card that followed for Jonny Hayes was perplexing from my angle of looked nothing to report indeed twenty years ago it would of been a run of the mill tackle.   Personally speaking I think Craig Thompson will regret being hasty when he reviews the incident.  He may also want a second chance at his decision to not punish Aberdeen’s Kenny McLean for a impatient kick that caught ball and a prone Lustig in front of both dougouts and fourth official.

In spite of the red card Celtic then concietitly expected victory to just come without really exposing Aberdeens one man deficit. The lack of imagination and flare showed Celtic to be one paced and predictable. Scotland Skipper Scott Brown snarled and looked to inspire even though it looked more like a man trying to do everything. Aberdeen on the other hand boosted by a full house went even more attacking after the Red Card.  Urged on by Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty the Dons doggidly defended and probed the increasingly desperate hoops. The winning goal exposed Celtics defence everyone including Paul Quinn himself was surprised the looping cross fell right at him. Quinn took the chance beautifully leaving Scotland Goalie Craig Gordon rueing his decision not to come and claim. Celtic Captain Brown lost his man (Quinn) this just increased the thought that Brown was nothing more than a headless chicken.

Andy Considine redemed his penalty foul in first half by clearing almost off the line in the dying minutes as a stung Celtic chased a equaliser in vain. At times Celtic looked like they were chasing shadows of their own imagination. Even three minutes of torcurous additional time could not defy the Dons a historic start to the season.My man of match Ryan Jack the Aberdeen Skipper was inspirational in just keeping everyone on track while doing everything in his brief perfectly. Not a showy performance but one that shows Aberdeen are more real deal title contenders than the nearly there at Easter of last season.

Ronny Delia takes his Celtic team to Amsterdam on Thursday where Ajax await uncomfortable in the knowledge that if Aberdeen beat Hamilton on Tuesday by the next time the hoops kick a league ball in anger the Dons could be five points in front at the top of the league.  

It says more that at the final Whistle the Reds squad to a man went to the crowd and thanked them for their support while Celtic either slipped up the tunnel or surrounded Craig Thompson for reasons it is difficult to fathom.  The two thousand far travelled fans got no recognition from their heroes. As Aberdeen made history of six straight victories in the start of league campaign it became obvious that only one team could sing ‘here we go for ten in a row’ and it was not the team from Glasgow.  With the biggest scalp out of the way Aberdeen could easily set a 10 victory league start.  Where as Celtic with a diversion of Europa League could find themselves watching the league title leave Glasgow for first time in thirty years from the prime seat of second behind the Rampant Red Roar of Aberdeen.