Tag Archives: Motherwell 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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30 Oct

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The four teams that remain in hat for The Scottish League Cup Semi finals have it has to be said a look of familar suspects about them.  Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United and Rangers.  All uniquely motivated to reach the Final at Hampden on March 15th 2015.  All hoping for the impossible a favourable Draw.  In the world of the “Hot Ball” Consipracy theorists this draw will be big news.  Ties to be played on the 31st of January and 1st of Februry, so that is nearly three months to look forward to the semis.

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Holders Aberdeen must be thinking they can beat the other three.  A bit of history beating Celtic last year in Cup competitions. 

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Dons Boss Derek McInnes

They will fancy beating their erstwhile “New Firm” compagnions and will want to play Rangers just even to see if they can.

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Celtic will fear no one and look to give Ronny Delia his first trophy as boss and make up for the lack of cups in their recent history. 

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Celtic Boss Ronny Delia

Their fans will scream for a Old Firm match they have been missed by most.  Aberdeen in a semi would be a good game, the open space of Hampden suiting both teams ethos of attack.  Dundee United wary of a repeat of the drubing they recieved in the league would be a more defensive opposition.

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Dundee United will hope for a Rangers tie in semi they are no strangers to Rangers having beaten the Ibrox team in cups the last two seasons.  

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United Manager Jackie

A New Firm tie would probably be the most entertaining and a tie against Celtic would be a park the bus job.

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Rangers are not anywhere near the standard required to compete regularly at this level yet. For the Ibrox loyal a sense of invincibility is at least two years away. It is a complete turn around in fortunes and mentality.  Rangers are underdogs and as Rangers have in 143 years of history a panchant for being included in underdog shocks albeit as the big team losers so maybe its time for Ally McCoist’s men to be the victors in a Cup surprise. 

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Rangers Gaffer won the League Cup as a player

The League Cup has been good to Rangers in all its guises so who knows.

That is of course a purely football matter of opinion as we know the off field ramifications of these four clubs being in the same hat with a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT chance of a Semi Final Tie with extra spice and a FIFTY PERCENT CHANCE of a FINAL with the same pleases only the Sponsors and Media. 

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The Police are for want of a better phrase CANCELLING ALL LEAVE the Last Weekend of January 2015. In addition to a added provisional cancellation on Sunday March 15.

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The reasons are simple for all to see. With the recent history of these four clubs as far as Police Scotland are concerned Aberdeen or Celtic or Dundee United can’t be trusted to play Rangers. The oxymoron called Police Inteligence will already be monitoring the internet. That special squad of Football Police based in the dungeons of Glasgow’s Helen Street Office will be racking up overtime. Shame is that any man in the street could tell you this, Police Scotland will decend onto Hampden in numbers resembling the Normandy Landings display their usual Guantamino Bay style courteousy to any Fan in the area.

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Using the power of Police Inteligence miss or be late for any incident inside or outside the ground. Arrest some people for singing the wrong words to the wrong tunes. Monitor the assault charge statistics post match. Then a day or so later congratulate themselves on a bad job well done blame alcohol consumption and send a bill to SPFL.

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There is a bonus of the games being played at Hampden. It will be good to see the pitch back after the commonwealth games. This neutral venue on Glasgow will of course upset one Chairman. Mr Moan will no doubt emerge from under the speccy stone in the Tangerine side of Dundee and suggest that it’s no fair on his fans to have to travel. Old firm fans won’t care where the game is played. With the resounding success of last year’s displaced final at Celtic Park, prints still on sale in the club shop Aberdeen won’t mind one bit.

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43,000 Dons fans League Cup Final 2014

Who knows Steven “huffy” Thompson might give his customers a break and go into the club officials area at Hampden rather than inflict himself on his fans because he didn’t like the owners of the neutral venue that was hired out to a organisation he sat on ruling body that actually approved the fixture.

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Petty and Illinformed

The man who must be spending the family silver bestowed on him by his bigoted Former Motherwell FC Supporting Father Eddie on a pipe dream must now be the definition of Petty.

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Former Motherwell Fan and Dundee United Chief Cheerleader

Even the poisoned dwarf of Lorraine “I support my home town team, oh no I dont” Kelly has removed herself from Stephen Thompson.

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East Kilbride Born Kelly

What can we expect from Rangers fans? Thousands of them no boycotts this time out. We all know the level of displeasure that Bluenose will direct at any of the three others fans whatever the draw throws up. This will undoubtedly create a atmosphere that we haven’t seen since some if the 1970’s Scotand England Matches.

I been to Old Firm games where you lost your voice, games where you shook for hours as adrenaline coursed through your body. Boring games where both teams cancelled each other out. Games where the fans created something beyond football, and not always the twisted voices so loved by Politician and Police alike.

In fairness I have been to games between Aberdeen and Old Firm that have came closer to this intensity than has been reported.

Make no mistake who ever makes the draw on BBC Sportscene Results on Saturday makes history. Then we wait like the surfer in the Guiness Horses in the surf advert.

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This wait will focus the mind of the four clubs whom I predict will forge on til new year fuelled by the prospect of these semi finals. There will be a lot of football to be played and a Transfer window to boot.

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.

Getting Away With It? Part 2

28 Nov

In part two of getting away with lets extend our eyes away from the East End of Glasgow. In some sort of order lets examine the S.P.F.L Premiership. The Getting away with it in this section of Scottish football is so prevalent that I am surprised that every team does not emerge from the tunnel at the start of games to the band Electronics song.

From Aberdeen to Motherwell and Inverness to Kilmarnock clubs have went from publicly deriding The Old Firm as bad for the Scottish Game to now appreciating that the old Firm provided a enormous income stream for EVERY club in Scotland. With Celtic fans becoming more choosy on what games they will travel to see and the lack of Rangers fans then what was three or four party pay days a season there is now a lack of interest. We are all waiting on the emergence of the race to challenge Celtic for the title. With every passing day this looks as likely as Celtic winning the Champions League! As for a race for second this has become as interesting as the race for third has been for many years.

The warnings offered to Fans who suggested that any shortfall in income or interest in the game post Rangers increasingly strange placement into the lower tier of Scottish football would be made up for by the other clubs themselves has became a running Joke. Celtic are spectacularly failing to sell out Celtic Park for anything other than a mid week European game. Attendances in the SPFL Premiership/SPL post 2011-12 have nose dived so severely it looks like Gerald Ratner has been put in charge of quality and advertising. With clubs in the SPFL Premiership mothballing areas of their stadiums due to costs and policing/stewarding costs remaining stubbornly high the clubs are faced with little other option. What is making this worse as this season continues. Its became clear that as Hearts slide often valiantly into relegation and Kilmarnock seem intent to press self destruct and join them instead of freeing up clubs and managers to become expansive and entertaining the opposite seems true. A Celtic fan said to me that it was up to the other clubs to open up and provide entertaining opponents for Celtic to beat. I having watched a lot of top division clubs this season feel that the fear factor has taken hold. The expected fun of the non Hoops has been nothing more than rehashed reheats of last seasons left overs.

It is incredibly strange that the Chairmen of these clubs have been conspicuous by their absence in engaging fans in dialogue. From Stewart Milne to Rod Petrie via Steven Thompson the men of Iron who clubbed together to punish an Old Firm Club under what is slowly being proved to be a victim of overzealous prosecution of a flawed case and a low grade two bit con man. The same Men of Iron who with the straight rod of sporting integrity so publicly hammered Rangers then meekly punished Hearts to end financial doping once and for all. Yes the mismanagement of Murray International Holdings, Craig White, Gavin Masterton, Ubig and Vladimir Romanov has been exposed, digested and proclaimed upon. The under reporting of Aberdeen Asset Management reducing debts at Aberdeen with Stewart Milne. Are we to simply believe that Milne and A.A.M simply reduced debts as a gift, I think that’s at best naive and at worse delusional. Milne is well known to be careful with money. E would not give a penny without demanding two in return. As for A.A.M shareholders in times of financial turmoil are not known for acts of charity to football clubs. You get nothing for nothing and something has been sold off at these clubs and fans are getting away with thinking every act done to and by their club is as they would do. Sadly as fans of other clubs will say often this is not the case and usually its nowhere near. The Boardroom events at Kilmarnock.

The income stream is waning the promised golden harvest has failed to materialise. A new league to solve all the issues has failed to deliver a Sponsor. A League body getting away with not providing for its members. At a time when income is required urgently some stuffed blazers sit in VIP areas living high off the land. While Clubs are forced to have stands free!

Currently rumours of debts owed to a bailed out institute by clubs who seemed to of received eye popping low interest rate deals.

(http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2514682/Co-op-Bank-slammed-cheap-loans-Celtic-Football-Club.html)

The newly formed management of this bank are looking to reduce liabilities and football clubs are prime targets for repayment or renegotiation. Failure to do this means publicity of the worse sort for clubs and institute a like and running the risk of waking the sleeping press pack with potentially a massive political story is a step too far for all concerned. For some reason being able link all of this together is either beyond the savvy of most of the cosy bunch of Journalists in Scotland or this is embargoed. Getting away with sharing taxis, Sources and contacts seems to en vogue for the lazy hacks. The same selection who believed fiction factories with H.M.R.C and Rangers now shy away from actual investigations regards the mire that constitutes the bank statements of every club in the Premiership. These clubs all know now that the last thing they can expect is support from their compatriots in the League. They may get a increasingly lenient sentence and be damned once rather than many times over but they will not be able to bank on anything regards what the SPFL will offer as support. That is the SPFL Getting away with it but that’s for another time.

So every club in the top division is getting away with either failure of ambition or woeful financial management skills or indeed both. If you look around at the landscape so helpfully approved for clubs by the SPFL management then it is hardly surprising that clubs are happy to reduce and stagnate. They are after all happy to get away with it. All happy to be sponsored or not by “dontrocktheboat.com”. In fact don’t rock the boat because when you stop getting away with it if you tow the party line like Hearts did you seem to get a lesser punishment. Rock the boat when you cease to get away you will be made to pay by those who continue to ride their luck.

The Championship Is Where it Is At

1 Nov

Lets make some large and some not so large assumptions.  At the end of the first Scottish Professional football League Season the tables and playoffs etc will be as follows.  Premiership Champions Celtic,  another statistic that history will cast its own interpretation on.  For me as I have said in the past Celtic winning the top league from 2012 to 2017 is the equivalent of myself beating Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and David Blunkett at a game of I spy.  The minor placings and with it qualifying for qualifying for Europe is almost a irrevelence but lets give it to the New firm and have done with it.  Sorry to any other team hoping to get this honour but as I posted on 31 October (https://ronnydavies1972.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/celtic-and-other-participants/) being second is hardly a prize of distinction either.  In the lower half of the Premiership we have Heart of Midlothian (hampered some would say handicapped by a 15 point deduction a transfer embargo and whatever the Lithuanian is for mismanagement) are relegated and I think its not to much to assume that Kilmarnock will be in playoff place and given the Rugby park clubs boardroom issues and form they too fall into the Championship. 

From the Championship lets assume that Hamilton and Falkirk go up to the Premiership.  Cowdenbeath and Morton fall from the second to third tier.  From the third tier Rangers fly up and are joined by Dunfermline.  So lets look at what the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Championship could without much imagination contain. 

Scottish Premiership

  1. Celtic
  2. Aberdeen
  3. Dundee United
  4. Inverness Caledonian Thistle
  5. Ross County
  6. Hibernian
  7. Saint Johnstone
  8. Saint Mirren
  9. Partick Thistle
  10. Motherwell
  11. Hamilton Academicals
  12. Falkirk

Scottish Championship

  1. Raith Rovers
  2. Dundee
  3. Livingston
  4. Dumbarton
  5. Alloa Athletic
  6. Queen Of The South
  7. Hearts
  8. Kilmarnock
  9. Rangers
  10. Dunfermline

 

Is this the SPL 2 touted for the last years?  I suspect it is definitely not as weak as the top twelve had envisaged.  Certainly I am sure that a SPL 2, second tier league or Championship was by definition meant to take second place to the main event (Scottish Premiership).  Imagine the discussion in the Sky, BT sport, BBC Scotland or even BBC Alba office come a scenario of choosing what match to cover.  Motherwell versus St Johnstone in front of a Half full Fir Park lacking in atmosphere or ambition from the teams (Not one of them are realistically going to win the Premiership) or a full Tynecastle for Hearts versus Rangers in a six pointer for the Lead in the Championship.  Tynecastle’s tight stadia alive, bristling with atmosphere, the teams playing for something tangible.  I suspect that Jonathon Sutherland, David Tanner will be itching to attend Gorgie with a cameras.  Rather than go to rather dull meaningless to the masses fixture in Lanarkshire.  Please don’t think I am anti Lanarkshire and Perth pick any fixture that the Scottish Premiership throws up next season and you can argue to any neutral that any game fits into the criteria of low attendance devoid of atmosphere and meaningless to even the staunchest fans.  The Premiership is in real danger of being football by numbers.  Look at the last two years Celtic have been plaugued by the empty seat brigade only turning up for full houses at certain European games,  the new firm both charging for second place and Europe next year could not sell out twenty thousand seats recently.  A distance of 70 miles saw United sell around twelve hundred seats and Aberdeen have a impressive away support in terms of numbers and miles travelled to away games but failing to get past 75% of tickets sold at Home games illustrates a malaise that is infecting fans up and down the Premiership.  Aberdeen can argue successfully as being the second best supported team in the Premiership yet they fail to fill a stadium that thirty years ago you required vouchers to buy tickets for games.  All this and if anything the catchment area for Aberdeen Football Club has grown in geography and population. 

 

The permutations of the Leagues of 2014-15 are varied but without a doubt the league to watch by fans and media will be the Championship and not the Premiership.  Rangers fan still defiant in their support for the club joined by fans of Dunfermline and Hearts doing the same for the same reasons.  It has became normal for the biggest crowd in Scotland to be at Ibrox selling out to the legions,  it has been dismissed as a joke to some not attached to Govan.  I wonder how this Joke will be laughed at when Sold Out Ibrox is joined by Sold out Tynecastle and Sold out East End Park.  All in the second tier of a league structure without a sponsor. The knives may of been out within the Premiership punishing instead of supporting blaming instead of assessing their own failings as a private members club/governing body. The failings at Rangers, Hearts and Dunfermline owned by unsavoury persons who strangely passed fit and proper persons tests is all in the past. But in the future the same clubs who have suffered at the hands of hidden agendas will be in what to many paying customers and media partners alike be the best league in Scotland.