Tag Archives: Celtic Football Club

Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions 2016-17

30 Jul

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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.

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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              (© http://www.afc.co.uk)

 

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?

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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.

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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.

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Manager Report Cards March 2016

13 Mar

When you examine the season so far only really one thing stands out.  The performance of Managers.  With only a few stand out players and a couple of memorable games what you are left with is how well the Coaching staff have done. So in view of  this I have complied a Top Twenty Managers.
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