Tag Archives: Dundee FC

Ladbrokes SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP PREDICTIONS

10 Aug

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Ladbrokes SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP PREDICTIONS

1
CELTIC

2
ABERDEEN

3
DUNDEE

4
ST JOHNSTONE

5
HEARTS

6
MOTHERWELL

7
INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE

8
ROSS COUNTY

9
PARTICK THISTLE

10
KILMARNOCK

11
HAMILTON ACADEMICALS

12
DUNDEE UNITED

Once again The Scottish Premiership is upon us and only a fool would tip anyone but Celtic to win it.  Ronny Delia can hardly be flushed with a League, League Cup double and an insipid European adventure that had everything in its story including Lawyers.  Delia has a very tricky job he is not only expected to win the league before the spilt but he has to do this in a style that pleases a massive fan base.  It is very difficult to predict what kind of season Celtic will have but you can say they win this league.  Virgil Van Dyke is a talisman but a failure in Europe will mean that he simply makes the club a nice profit following transfer window.
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Aberdeen in Second a lack of silverware last term did not lose Derek McInnes the fickle Dons Fans support.  Intelligent clever signings like Graeme Shinnie in addition to January signing Kenny McLean adds freshness to the squad as well as increasing the skill level.  A very pacey talented squad with a Manager proving to be in the frame for any bigger job. The big question is have Aberdeen got the bottle to stay in the hunt and run Celtic close.  Drawing at Pittodrie against Partick and dropping points after good results was their downfall last term.  If this club needed a theme tune, it has to be Journeys “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Third Place for me is a surprise and controversially I am pluming for Dundee.  Paul Hartley has managed to turn Club 12 round, the attacking style with solid defence for me is a potent mix, and if you are going to offend a city, you may as well offend half the City.  A visit to Dens dripping in History is a tricky experience and gives the Dark Blues fans something to come out for and Dens is a tricky place that will steal points from any team at any time.

Perth with a couple of years of fleeting European experience comes up with a pleasing fourth for Tommy Wright’s Saints.  The phrase workmanlike is easy on the mind with St Johnstone Scottish Cup Winners in 2014 they seemed to miss Stevie May last year but just when they needed to get it together after Christmas that’s exactly what they did.  Any team that includes veteran James Mc Fadden passing down knowledge to younger players has to be included in your thoughts for good cup runs and occasional shock results.  As soon as they become consistent then they could even challenge higher but a sturdy fourth place.

Robbie Nelson might talk the talk but his Hearts will be broken in a very creditable fifth place.  Edinburgh’s only representative in the top League will be looking to bring some Capital Gains to Old Reekie.  The rampaging style of last season will be thwarted by more drilled skilled teams shutting down the free scoring Jambos.  Losing Danny Wilson and Jason Holt will hurt. Maroon fans have to hope that the latest crop of youth and experience shall keep them in this league and maybe even challenging for cups and looking to stabilise.  The key to smiles in Gorgie this season is post Christmas.  Keeping in the mix will be important to a team that already looks like its running on adrenaline.
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Escaping Relegation last season Ian Barrowclough will look to push on from the lucky escape last year.  From Ugly scenes to a beautiful sixth should please Motherwell.  With a crop of great young players and experience of Stephen Pearson, David Clarkson all bodes well for The Well.  I get a feeling that sixth is as good as it will get for Motherwell with a touch of claret and amber luck they may just trouble the cup semis but a consolidation season safe mid table.

John Hughes has his doubters and fans never not with something to say and always good value and his personality has infused every team he has been connected with.  The Scottish Cup Holders will miss Shinnie as he moved down the A96.  The fear of complacency runs through the Highland capital.  Caledonian Thistle shall do well at Home as the wind blows in off the Morey Firth and will give a good game away too.  Nevertheless, for me they will struggle to hit the highs of last season but again a solid mid table not really challenging but not in any danger of falling out the League or even flirting with the playoff place.

Ross County in eighth is a bit of a punt with several players joining Jim McIntyre’s squad.  Richard Foster tormented at Rangers last year must be trying to regain professional pride for one.  The problem is that as hard as you look at the Dingwall squad you cannot find any real class so you have to look for a well-drilled well-organised team.  Sadly, for the Victoria Park side that given the last couple of Years Foster does not bring that to the table.  A troubled season for Ross County the only saving grace is that there is worse in this league to stop their slide down into the danger zone.

Partick will need more than a scary mascot to survive and in Matthias Pogba they might just have enough to secure survival. He may not be as good as his brother but he is good enough to please the well-worn Maryhill Faithful.  As you would expect Firhill will supply thrills, spills and some skills hand in hand with Lisa Simpson on acid and surprises too.  Staying up with the big boys is all this club wants they will sacrifice cups to simply stay in this league and they will.

Kris Boyd, Lee McCullough join Gary Locke in a Kilmarnock team that looks on paper tired and plays worse shipping goals and looking disjoined its going to be a long season on plastic at Rugby Park.  With Questions still being unanswered in the boardroom and seats going unsold in the stands this is a club in free fall.  Like Partick above them, the numbers game means that teams worse than them will save them. Ayrshire fans must hope that. Something like a foundation lying season is in front of them and all eyes shall be on season 2016-17.  There is enough talent at this club but a lack of gelling and cohesiveness will be the failure.

Hamilton will want to forget 2015 already and I feel this year will not appear in any big selling DVDs at the club shop Martin canning has simply not been able to keep up the standards of Norwich’s Alex Neil.  There may well be a new sensational young player bursting from the most productive youth system in Scotland but August to January saved this club last season and without a great start like that again then this club will simply slip quietly into eleventh and the play off position.  With my other prediction for the Ladbrokes Scottish Championship a rematch against Hibs seems likely and that tie if it occurs already has the mouth watering.  A lowly position but without any light it seems a dark season is in the offing for Accies.
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Twelfth place in my predictions goes to Dundee United.  I simply do not care how financially greedy the club was.  I also do not care how much commission Jackie McNamara got if you lose Makay-Stevens, Armstrong and Cifti then it is no wonder you lose games.  I am not saying these players are bigger than the club is but as a collection of loses it means you lose and lose badly.  United look disjointed without a direction and a shambles of the side that started last season.  I predict also that the Manager must be favourite to be sacked this season.

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SPFL Premirship Predictions for 2014 -15

9 Aug

Lets start with a disclaimer.  This is opinion published to make you the reader consider your own views.

My predictions for season 2014-15
1. CELTIC
2. MOTHERWELL
3. DUNDEE UNITED
4. INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE
5. ST JOHNSTONE
6. KILMARNOCK
7. ROSS COUNTY
8. ABERDEEN
9. PARTICK THISTLE
10. DUNDEE
11. ST MIRREN
12. HAMILTON ACCADEMICALS

Lets start with what is by far the most boring looking league in the set of four in Scotland. 

PREMIERSHIP

Celtic will win at a canter even with no significant new signings, a new manager and do it in front of a growing number of empty seats every second week. Celtic fans will like the statistic of another title but they are not liking the entertainment that their beloved hoops are providing in the bread and butter of the league.

Motherwell are my tip to be second again.  Stewart MCall has no budget has lost a few players and his Chief Exec yet will still just do enough to be the best of the rest. The addition of a Lanarkshire Derby will increase interest.

Dundee United my tip for third. They have lost some of their starlets but with additional working capital taking some of the finiancial strain away from the club an allowing some luxuries to enter Tannadice then in addition to not having the distraction of European football in June, I feel that United are quietly good for third.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle for fourth no one likes going to The Tulloch. No one like the uncomptemising style that John Hughes will have ICT playing.  After a Yogi preseason no player will be in any doubt what their job is.

St Johnstone Stevie May or not Tommy Wright has quietly taken Steve Lomax’s left overs and with good young players mixed with experienced older heads Wright has shown that on their day the Perth Blues can beat anyone.

Kilmarnock The addition of Gary Locke into the Coaching staff at Rugby park says more to me than any signing.  Locke has not been demotivated by his season from hell as manager of Hearts and the frankly disgusting treatment he received from the new owners at Tynecastle.  Free from the extra pressures I am sure Gary will exert his influence and secure a nice top six position for Allan Johnstone’s Ayrshire club.

Ross County Big season for the Victoria Park club and after flattering to decieve I feel seventh is as good as this club could get.  Derek Adams growling presence on touchline has stopped being intimidating and the difficult third album from Dingwall may well dissapoint Derek.

Aberdeen I know eighth! If you think of the later part of 2013 then you have the dons second, easy not even a blink.  Sadly I am going with the later part of last season after the Pitrodrie side won the League Cup.  The collapse of form and energy must of worried anyone at the club.  In fact the most fickle fans on Scotland would not of acceipted post March performancies had it not been for a lump of Silver in the cabinet. Starting their season in June with a small squad albeit with only real addition of David Goodwillie makes me think come the cold winter winds of December that any form shown by the Reds will be a memory. Then the fans will turn and the house of cards collapses.

Patrick Thistle Partick don’t need to do much just keep doing what they do and get by.  Ninth is a perfect place for the Jags.  Alan Archibald tamed his team’s attacking oft at all costs instincts to at least provide a more solid defensive look about the team.

Dundee Tenth for the dark blues in the shadow of their noisy neighbours deserve a good season after being club 12 and frankly being dropped in the smelly stuff in order to fulfil a fixture list.  Two managers later will Paul Hartley pull any surprises? Some but they won’t be top 6 but deserve to survive.  Looking forward to some combative Tayside Derbies.

St Mirren Eleventh and a play off place that is what I think the Paisley club will achieve.  Sacking Danny Lennon and replacing him with his assistant may well be a continuety move but is hardly a display of loyalty to players etc.  The Pandas board obviously unhappy with the direction the team were going sack the man at the tiller and promote the Navigator giving him the first and second officers. Sad to say I can’t see this club win a play off either.

This leaves Hamilton can’t see any club in top division taking the Accies as lightly as Hibs in play offs.  The plastic pitch should not be as big an issue.  The absolute lack of any investment in the team trusting that as you sell the youth you developed you will create new young players to fill the space on the shelves.  The owners of this club have a strict no frills zero investment business plan that does not depend on what division the club plays in.
 

I foresee a incrediable boring processional league with it’s only highlights being the Dundee and Lanarkshire Derbies. The media has joined me already in scrabble away from this league to the more attractive looking Championship. It is often not the prizes on offer that makes a league but the participants. Few outwith the twelve clubs fans in this league will actually look on with interest.

Like Flies?

21 Aug

Have you noticed?

Unless you look carefully I bet you haven’t.

If you allow the media agenda, usually set by editors not individual journalists, to direct your thoughts then you miss a lot.  As I write this there is two stories emerging from Ibrox and a defeated Celtic in Europe.

Yes big stories Charles Green, Ian Black and Scotland’s sole representatives in Europe being beaten by an unheard club way down the rankings. All worthy of reflection and discussion.

The generally lazy direction of Scottish Sports Journalists obediently following instructions churning out the same old same old.

It surely is a profession where bucking the trend is not an option.  Standing out from the crowd, such an easy thing to achieve in the chinless wonders of the Scottish Football Press pack is banned by some kind of NUJ rule.

Like flies round proverbial the press boys travel in packs they should share a taxi in fact such is their conjoined nature why have by lines just send the one journalist and print a single story.   Spoon feed a Football nation mass-produced mush dressed up as facts complete with artificial additives.  That is the fare presented to football fans.

Take today the (w)hoards will gathered round Ibrox looking for board room insights.  The rest will swarm round Neil Lennon looking for his latest golden nugget that will propel Celtic into the Champions league.

The regional media will gather round their local team trying to get a few more bums on seats as they assume that local sports teams and the customers of both their media and club are tied in a cabal of convenience that to be negative is seen as treason. Local press for local folk. A local media scape that has to be as positive as it can be regards its local team or else!

While the locals exhort Local Football Club and the Nationals are distracted by the shiny often whiney objects in their sights, there appears to be no one looking at the stories just out of the cross hairs.

The thorny chestnut of what Neil Doncaster is doing?
In now five weeks all Mr Doncaster seems to of done is get his Crayons out and copy the English Premiership Branding adding a Lion. All the time bemoaning that the landscape of Scottish football is neither Stable or Secure for big business to invest in or sponsor.

CUE FOR MEDIA TYPES AND EDITORS HERE – MAYBE YOU SHOULD ASK WHY?

Then we have the events at Hearts.
Still reeling from administration fans are attempting to rip off a Nation (Lithuania) by buying what remains of their club on the cheap. The Preferred bidders for Hearts sounds good but the big stumbling block is the Lithuanian administrators of UBig. Failure to pay the massive debt means the Lithuanian Tax Payer gets stuck with the bill. Currently it is believed that the Prefered bid is around the £5 million mark. With fans effectively looking to be in full control of shares in 5 years. Great plan to be commended and a Fans trust will be welcomed. It’s a shame though that the bid is around 20% of the debt and in breakdown means most debtors will get less than 4p in the pound. Also £5 million barely covers the price of the land Tynecastle sits on. Taken as a whole the land assets are worth more than the offer and Lithuanian Administrators will want a land asset in Edinburgh to achieve its full market value. That is before the value of the buildings on the land or the value of the club brand. You could double the prefered bid before you will get close to what is close to  acceptable.  is not grade one listed it is not protected, a supermarket could still stand where maroon heroes once played.

No one seems to be interested in what David Southern said to the SPL tribunal regards Heart of Midlothian being financially independent of UBig when Vladimir Romanov’s empire when onto administration.

Hind sight tells you that whatever Mr Southern and by default Hearts said it was wrong and possibly untrue.

David Southern and Members of the old Hearts Board should be joining Craig Whyte on the list blackballed from Scottish Football.
No one seems interested in the fact these at best dodgy statements from Hearts relegated Dundee FC or even that there is a case regards St Mirren receiving less prize money.

Even this years point deduction (last year’s league total divide by three) can be questioned because given what we now know did Hearts really want to win all their games post split last year certainly the last away game in Aberdeen is suspicious regards the trouble Gorgie club. Winning would be gaining three points useless last seasons final league table but meaning additional points deductions in this season’s league from the start.

This is not a witch hunt against Hearts I wish them well hope they survive but the path to security is twisted. Also the hangover from the last days of the Romanov empire will not neatly be swept to one side.

So next time you read Ian Black, Rangers and Celtic European dismay think what else is a story that no one wants you to read.

Heart Broken?

13 Jun

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The situation at Heart Of Midlothian gives me no pleasure.

(http://www.heartsfc.co.uk/articles/20130613/board-statement-financial-and-player-update_2241384_3208756)

To witness another Scottish Football Institution going through the financial mill is painful.  Hindsight as they say is a form of perfect sight but I wonder if David Southern and his team wish they could turn back the clock to 2012.  Maybe given their recent statement regarding the loss of Rangers from the SPL they would have preferred to be more supportive of a fellow club going through the tribulations of financial meltdown.

It is entirely possible that right now in between answering calls from clubs offering knock down prices for the undoubtedly talented young players on the books at Hearts Mr Southern is going through his emails from so-called fans of Hearts from last year urging the harshest of treatment be dished out to Rangers.  It would not be morally wrong for Mr Southern to ask the vast majority of this constituency of loud dissenters from last year.  “where were you?” Fans promises are fickle but Hearts fans have spectacularly abandoned their club week in week out. When the Club was banking on large gates the noisy section of their fans where elsewhere.  The Club obviously needed money from its fans or its Lithuanian backers.

This is the same Club that as recently as last month stated it did not require any financial assistance from Ubig Group as it had not received any for the last year and was managing ok.  This was a statement given to a SPL board to avoid a points penalty that would relegate the Edinburgh club from the SPL.  One wonders how the people who bought this as true feel now.  How can the members of this board look Dundee Football Club in the eye.  I do wonder if St Mirren now feel morally entitled to a larger prize money from last years League Prize fund.

No one likes to see a club in trouble it simply does not sit well with fans.  We need rivalry, competition is king.  Add a dash of history and any Fan will wax lyrical about games from the past.  That is in every way footballs currency.  I mean seriously even on the Hearts own website all the signs were there look at the advertisement in the centre of this story. See the photo above. (http://www.heartsfc.co.uk/articles/20130612/no-reason-or-desire-to-harm-hearts_2241384_3208073)

 

Sadly this comes a day after a league reconstruction plan goes through.  The new SPFL should be interesting.  It’s a simple plan of many compromises for sure but its exciting to think just how well this could work in practice. Given proper management.

I am not one for advocating redundancies or people losing their jobs but the return to two bodies begs the question why not just have one.  Economies of scale dictate this it has worked for the Scottish Police and Fire Services.  The more money taken from administration at Hampden and invested in Clubs with good youth systems the better, I can’t remember the last time an Office worker scored a hat trick for the national Team. While we are at it how can we trust Stewart Regan, Neil Doncaster and the like to run Scottish football when it seems at every turn they mess it up, believe half-truths and lies and as my wee Granny would say “couldn’t run a ménage” New structure new leaders clean slate and all that. For some people sitting in ivory towers with barely hidden aroma of Jim Farry this means simple quietly leave the arena go back to Gardening and bring in new brains with less coloured history.

 

I wish Hearts all the best I do but they have to remember they set out the template with several willing partners.  If they fall foul of the same template they only have their selves to blame.  The more interesting issue is will the newly formed authorities take the same actions again or will they move the goal posts?