Tag Archives: St Mirren FC

SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS 2015-16

7 Aug

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Ladbrokes SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS

1
Rangers

2
Hibernian

3
Falkirk

4
Queen Of The South

5
Raith Rovers

6
Dumbarton

7
Alloa

8
St Mirren

9
Livingston

10
Morton

Once again the Championship is where it is at.  Already taken up more column inches and the season has not started yet. 

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Rangers simple have to win this year. No one could have predicted the catastrophic events on and off the field last season and Mark Warburton has invested well yet kept enough experience to settle this side.  The Petrofac Training Cup demolition of Hibernian set a standard that might not always be held up but means that the no brainer is to back the Govan team to win this league and win it comfortably with or without Scott Allan.

This brings us onto Hibernian. Alan Stubbs seems more intent in kicking his rivals transfer bids than kicking his team into shape.  The only positive about the Scott Allan transfer saga for him is that it took away the pressure from losing at home to Rangers so badly in spite of taking an early lead.  Solid in second for the Leith side if they get their act together.  The Hibees have to hope that they will finally win a playoff tie in the new league set up.  Peter Houston’s Falkirk runners up in the Scottish Cup for me are solid in third a good cup team strengthened in right areas with a superb youth system and training set up.  Dangerous in playoffs given their cup record and always a tough proposition at the Falkirk Stadium. Third with a chance in Playoffs.

Queen of the South in fourth seems such a waste but its stable and that is exactly what the Dumfries side are solid dependable with enough skill to cause any team problems.  James Fowler has simply operated a business as usual police and you know for the Palmerston players same as last year and a good shout in play offs is not the worse result ever.  Good cup record too so always a danger.  Raith Rovers Grant Murray has that mix of youth and experience and looking at them it is another year in the Championship gaining experience with the occasional shock to build towards a genuine push next season.  Starks Park on a cold Tuesday in December is a cold and foreboding place and more than a few visiting teams will leave points in Fife.  For their part, blowing hot and cold away from home is a worry for the Kirkcaldy Side. 

Dumbarton in sixth Ian Murray may have departed on a ferry across the Clyde but Stephen Aitken has a solid well-drilled squad with a good mix and the shadow of the rock makes the sons a tricky proposition at any time.  Staying in Championship is their priority. Playing Rangers brings back the historical shared League title glory. 
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Alloa in seventh.  The much-maligned plastic pitch at Recreation Park is a great leveller whether there is anything that wrong with it or not.  It gathered a reputation that Hibs Fraser Fyvie can testify too and this fear makes teams travelling to play the Wasps wary of the sting in the tail.  Danny Lennon should enjoy his trips back to Paisley and his guile; self-assurance and need to get one over his former employers should place Athletic above St Mirren.

St Mirren Eighth.  A dismal season last year with a decision to release Danny Lennon compounded by a strange promotion of Assistant Manager then when he was sacked a senior player!  The only thing that distracted people from looking at the shenanigans in Paisley was the events happening just along the Paisley Road West in Ibrox.  Disastrous home form for the last two seasons and not much better away.  The League Cup Winners of 2013 have choked on the smell of Brasso and choked in the face of opposition from every league in all Cup competitions.  Ian Murray has jumped across the Clyde to sort it out but selling Kenny McLean might stabilise finances but hurt the team.  A year of rebuilding and should stay in Championship without challenging either the top four or endangering relegation spots. Important they keep the Buddies Fans onside too.
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Livingston ninth Mark Burchill is trying to rebuild a club that has been subject to more financial audits than is healthy for any club in recent years.  Do not get me wrong Burchie is the man for this job and although I predict a lowly finish, I do feel they have just enough to stay up. 

Morton Tenth.  The jump up is enormous they done well to beat Dunfermline last year to win promotion but it has to said there is really nothing that makes you think they will set the heather on fire.  Jim Duffy will enjoy the Renfrewshire Rivalry with St Mirren but Greenock will only be a destination in this league for one year.

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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.

Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word

1 Aug

Sorry is indeed the hardest word and in this litigeous world sorry seems to be a legal admission of liability.

This simple modern truth could well be the reason for the lack of appologies sent to Rangers Football Club.   The posse that found Rangers Guilty in their Kangaroo Courts in 2012 have been remarkably silent in the weeks since the UTTT found no real wrongdoing in Rangers FC use of Employment Benefit trusts. 

The real reasons for lack of words from Scottish Football are simple.  Rangers 1898 Ltd the former owners of Rangers Football Club are now debt free thanks to Ticketus, the RFFF and the soon to be defrosted accounts.  The money in the currently frozen accounts will pay the PAYE bill left by discredited Craig Whyte.  In fact I was recently told that Rangers 1898 Ltd will be one of the few companies that could emerge from liquidation proceedings and will simply be wound up similar to Celtic oldco (kelly’s and Whytes), Aberdeen oldco ( Donald Family), Dundee United oldco (Jim Mclean), Hibernian oldco (Tom Farmer) and St Mirren Oldco (Paton family).

You see the treatment of Rangers has raised so many questions that it would take a thousand articles to cover.  Saldly what’s done can not be undone but for the shareholders of Rangers 1898 Ltd compensation is surely justified. 

I still expect a raft of court cases.  From fraud to defamation via malicious prosecution. Remember Rabgers 1898 shareholders own no football asset, they sold it to the current owners of Rangers. So without breaking the rules of association this group of victims of fraud and defamation have free reign to sue SFA, SPL(including the ten club members individually), supporters groups (including individual spokespersons), media groups (including individual ‘Journalists’), web sites (including social media) and of course any individual who at anytine has published a lie that has hurt the finiancial wellbeing of the Club (Including Phil Threenames, Angela Haggerty, Greame Speirs). The fact that some of the above names continue to speak in terms of hate and ignorance even AFTER the latest judgements means that by association Rangers Football Club current owners have a real watching brief and can argue that current statements filled with hate and lies directly hurts Rangers International and Rangers Football Club in the here and now. Members of the current Rangers Board have been quick to engage lawyers to seek recompense from fans groups spokesmen, so it would be interesting to see if the same happens to others from outwith the blue umbrella.

Craig Whyte will be chased to the gates of hell by many including Ticketus.  How this shyster was allowed onto the same building as stakeholders of any company is a crime. I have heard many reasons “Rangers were owned by a Crook (Murray) and sold to a Crook (Whyte)” seems to fit the common misguided view. Well that is only half true there is no doubt now that Rangers were sold to a crook. The landscape for this was in no small point due to HMRC demanding monies that now not one but TWO Independant tribunals have thrown out the inflated demands of the HMRC. As a small aside David Cameron and Gideon Osborn have recently forced through a change in the law. Now if HMRC demand money and you think it’s wrong the rules are now Pay up then appeal. How different things could of been had this rule been inforce. How the enforced sale to Mr Whyte occured is another thing.  Sir David Murray received one pound sterling so in spite of everything you could hardly say that the Metal Merchant made a killing.  So who did benefit? The Bank Loydds/TSB/HBOS walked away with £38 million for a loan paid in full via Craig Whyte and his mortgaging of season ticket sales to Ticketus.  So just how much pressure was placed on Sir David Murray by the Bank’s representative on what turned out to be the penultimate Rangers 1898 Ltd board. The same banking group had a reasonable working relationship with the SFA and now defunct SPL, was any pressure placed on these organisations to ignore any concerns regarding Craig Whyte being a fit and proper person to have his hand in the tiller of a Sporting Institution like Rangers Football Club. It seems either this or the SPL SFA failed in their duty of care to protect all of our Scottish Clubs from falling onto the hands of Drug Dealers Fraudsters Con men or general Shysters. So for sure without doubt the SFA SPL FAILED in any test. Do I hear sorry from Regan, Doncaster and co? No!

Lets now look at the “Screaming Masses”

Stephen Thompson, Stewart Milne, Rod Petrie, David Southern, Peter Lawell, Neil Lennon, Stewart Gilmour and other Board memebers of clubs MUST now be revisiting their published comments and hoping that no one reads them out in court.

Sorry is hard to say but lessons learned mean that actions speak louder than words. First chink in the sorry we did that but we learned is the postponment of St Mirren v Aberdeen because Aberdeen have a couple of qualifying rounds in Europa League. How Rangers would of appriciated such common sense in Manchester UEFA Cup FINAL! Not a sorry but the different action means admission of wrong by default.

You see that’s the point we all know we won’t get a Sorry from any of the shouting clans but we all know that they won’t repeat their “hardline” again. That’s as good as a sorry as we will get. What we will get though is enforced comments as Judges order smart mouths to pay up and say sorry.

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?