2018/19 Scottish Football Thread (More open than the Premier League)

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Thread starter #1
The Scottish Premier League is probably going to be another bore with Celtic claiming the title before Christmas, but it could be a different story with the Scottish Championship, with no Rangers, Hearts or Hibs to skew the results.

The BBC commentators from article below believes this season could be the "toughest title race ever" and any number of teams with a genuine chance of winning promotion.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45022676

Scottish Championship: Derek Ferguson anticipates the toughest title race ever
By Clive Lindsay

BBC Sport Scotland

Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County are in the same league once more
No moneyed favourite and only one part-time club - this could be one of the closest, toughest, least predictable races ever for the Scottish Championship title.

BBC Scotland pundit Derek Ferguson says the lack of any "big-hitters" will be the "beauty of the Championship.

"All 10 of the teams will believe that, on any given day, they can beat each other. It is going to be a cracker," said the former Rangers, Hearts and Scotland midfielder.

In recent seasons, some of Scottish football's biggest clubs have found themselves in the second tier, leaving those less wealthy trailing in their wake.

That was supposed to be Dundee United last season, but St Mirren surpassed expectations by strolling to the title. United, instead, finished third for the second season running and lost in the play-off semi-finals to Livingston.

Nine out of the 10 sides will kick-off the season on Saturday with realistic hopes of at least making the promotion play-offs - if not winning the title itself.

Only promoted Alloa Athletic, who remain part-time, will be considering escape from relegation as their priority - and they too have shown themselves to be no pushovers in the League Cup group stage.

"Jim Goodwin is a good young manager, but I think being part-time could take it's toll in the end," Ferguson said.

"But it's a horrible place to go in the winter on the Astroturf and I think they've brought the width of the pitch in. Jim's going to play a style of football at home that a lot of teams will not enjoy."

'The pressure is on Dundee United'
Expectations will again be high at Tannadice despite Csaba Laszlo's side failing to qualify from a League Cup group containing Ross County, Alloa, Arbroath and Elgin.

However, if you examine the form of the 10 Championship sides in their last four games of last season and their four cup games and extrapolate for the rest of the campaign, United would face a play-off to avoid relegation.

By that measure, Inverness Caledonian Thistle would emerge as champions. Queen of the South, Ayr United and Dunfermline Athletic would be in the promotion play-off spots. And Greenock Morton would be automatically relegated.


"The pressure is right on Dundee United," Ferguson said. "People look at United as the benchmark, the one they want to get one over. I think they'll find it extremely difficult.

"The manager has been given another opportunity, which surprised me to be honest. He's brought in some good players, but there's something not quite right there and I don't know what it is."

Ferguson still expects United to finish as runners-up behind relegated County, who have retained Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson as a managerial team.

"Sometimes you wonder how that dual management is going to work, but they have retained a strong squad and shown their ambition," Ferguson said.

But Partick Thistle have lost too much quality since relegation - in Ferguson's opinion - to do anything more than challenge for a promotion play-off place.

Instead, Ferguson envisages a full-time Ayr United to build on their League One title success and secure a mid-table finish, with John Robertson's Caley Thistle among the promotion mix.

"It took a wee while to turn it around, but Wee Robbo's well respected, he knows the game inside out, has good man-management skills and he's got them playing," Ferguson said.

Elsewhere, he thinks Dunfermline Athletic will miss the goals of Nicky Clark - who has switched to Tannadice, Stephen Dobbie's contribution will not be enough to compensate for Queen of the South's suspect defence, while Falkirk might miss out on the play-offs again.


"And I still can't believe Morton let Jim Duffy go," Ferguson added. "I thought that was a huge mistake.

"I know in Ray McKinnon, they have a younger, fresher manager, but the job that Jim Duffy did at Morton was second to none with the resources they had.

"But, when you look at it, it's so hard to choose who are favourites to win the title and who will go down - they are so evenly matched."

Ferguson's seven to watch
Stephen Dobbie, forward (Queen of the South)

He's 35 now, but I watched him this season against Stranraer and he was just pure class and I'm really surprised that a Premiership club has not taken a punt on him.

Ross Doohan, goalkeeper (Ayr United)

Signing the 20-year-old on loan could be quite a shrewd signing as he has just signed a four-year contract with Celtic.

Jamie Lindsay, midfielder (Ross County)

I know his dad - his dad was at Rangers with me - and I was quite surprised when the 22-year-old made the move to County from Celtic. Jamie's a terrific player and was sought after by clubs in England.


Ruben Sammut is on loan to Falkirk from Chelsea
Ruben Sammut, midfielder (Falkirk)

If you are captain of Chelsea's Under-23s, you must be a bit of a player. Obviously he's a guy with potential, so maybe Falkirk boss Paul Hartley has unearthed a diamond in the on-loan Scotland Under-21 international.

Lawrence Shankland, forward (Ayr United)

The boy is a player. His talent has never been in doubt, he's a goalscorer. The issue seemed to be around his fitness. The 22-year-old is going to be one we are watching and hoping he does hit the heights.

Greig Spence, forward (Alloa Athletic)

I've rated him since he was a youth with Celtic and, having moved from Raith Rovers this summer, he has a chance to prove himself at a higher level again at the age of 26.

Tom Walsh, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)

He was earmarked for big things at Rangers and it hasn't quite happened for him, but I'm hoping this is his season. I think he will flourish under Robbo.
 

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aussiebob14

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#2
Anyone know if the Scottish Premiership will be shown anywhere on Australian TV? doesn't seem to be on beIN anymore
 

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Thread starter #3
I think most of people who would contribute to this thread (that's two of us:D) follow teams in the Championship, so the Premiership isn't of interest.:D

Ross County go into their first season back in the Championship on a 34 game unbeaten run in second tier football. The last time we were in this league we only lost one game, and that was in Round 2 2011.
 
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#4
I think the Prem will be very competive this season as well, Celtic will win it but I don't think by as much as previously.

Hibs & Hearts have both recruited well, and will be extremely close with Aberdeen and Rangers IMO.

I'm going to be at Tynecastle next week to see Hearts v Celtic - can't wait, first time back to Tynie since 2014.
 

Doctor Gero

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Lucky. They’ve been abject with a man advantage
 
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Established1870

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Checking in. Celtic need at least one more central defender to do anything respectful in Europe. They need to also take the money for Boyata as he is pants.
 

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#15
Celtic invincible goal is over in fixture 2
 

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Thread starter #16
3-1 win away at Dunfermline. The Staggies have now gone 36 games (a full season) without defeat in the tier two football.
 
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#17
The pitchforks are coming for the Celtic board, Euro window remains firmly open. Even if they fail to get past AEK Athens they can still make the Europa group stages, although (if I'm understanding the fixture correctly) they would face Atalanta in the next round.
 

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Thread starter #18
Ross County lost 2-1 at Morton, our first defeat in Tier 2 Football since a bizarre 5-1 defeat at Hamilton in August 13 2011.
 

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#20
Kyle Lafferty takes 3 points to Tynecastle again.
What a day! Atmosphere was electric - now seen us beat Rangers, Celtic and Hibs live :D

Good solid results to follow up in the Cup then away at Killie, Uche is a beast. Should make it 4 from 4 this weekend at home to St Mirren.
 

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#23
The SFA is considering leaving Hampden Park, which they don't own, for the Scottish Rugby Union's Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

The Scottish League Cup (run by the SPFL) would likely stay in Glasgow but at Celtic Park or Ibrox Stadium, depending on who's playing.
 
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So would Hampden just become a home to Queens Park or get bulldozed? Whatever happens I'm sure the SFA will once again make the worst possible decision.

Apart from the signing a decent keeper and some defenders the zombies are still awful.
 

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#25
SFA staying at Hampden Park and taking ownership in 2020.

The Scottish FA will be staying at Hampden after agreeing to buy the national stadium from Queen's Park.

A deal has been struck to pay the League Two club £5m for the Glasgow ground.

The SFA was contemplating moving to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish Rugby, once its Hampden lease expires in 2020.

But instead it will now take ownership of the ground in two years' time.

Half of the money to complete the cash takeover was pledged by Scottish businessman Lord Willie Haughey, with Queen's Park set to move their matches to Lesser Hampden.

The Glasgow side will receive £5m for the deal, with the SFA taking over £19m of liabilities, dating back to when the stadium was redeveloped, that will only be payable if matches are no longer played at Hampden.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell has promised that the body will now look at improving the stadium, which has been criticised by supporters during the process.

"Our mission is to inspire a nation to love the game and having a home that we can call our own is an important part of that," he said.

"While we are now committed to Hampden Park we also recognise that it needs to change. We have heard the fans' views throughout the process and agree with them that we need to improve access, transport links and the overall experience. We are committed to doing that.

"With that in mind, we need all of Scotland to pull together to make it Scotland's national stadium. We have heard many voice their support for the stadium. We need collective action, driven by the Scottish FA, to ensure it remains the beating heart of Scottish football."

'Once-in-a-generation opportunity' missed

The SFA commissioned a feasibility study to assess all the options and rejected a proposal in January from Celtic and Rangers to share hosting of internationals and domestic cup matches.

But various hurdles, including the cost of such a deal, ensured it was not a foregone conclusion.

The board met for several hours on 29 August but were unable to come to a conclusion and asked both bidders to provide more information before making a final decision.

Scottish Rugby's Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay said: "Scottish Rugby would like to thank the Scottish FA for the opportunity to bid to host future Scotland internationals and cup final matches at BT Murrayfield.

"We are naturally disappointed this once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a partnership for a true national stadium for Scotland at BT Murrayfield, which would have enabled the country's two largest sports to work side by side for the wider benefit of Scottish sport and society, has not been taken."

A Queen's Park statement added: "Queen's Park welcomes the Scottish FA's announcement today, whilst acknowledging there are still many complexities to be worked out with various stakeholders.

"This will undoubtedly have huge implications for our club and our first priority is to engage with the club membership which due to confidentiality clauses we have been unable to do thus far."

What are the benefits of staying at Hampden?

The stadium in Glasgow's south side has been hosting Scotland's matches for 112 years, as well as the majority of Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup finals - and latterly semi-finals too - since 1903.

It is regarded by many, including a majority of former players and managers, as the "spiritual home" of Scottish football.

But that emotional attachment is partially offset by complaints from fans about poor infrastructure and transport links, and a distance between the stands and the action when seated behind the goals.

However, Darryl Broadfoot, a former Scottish FA communications director, said "there is a mythology over Hampden's transport problems".

"There are actually three train stations in the vicinity," he told BBC Scotland. "The problem is enough trains going there, which is a conversation - or a demand - that has to be placed on the rail provider."

Hampden's current capacity is just under 52,000, but it is rarely full for Scotland games and some domestic cup semi-finals.

Some have suggested reducing the capacity to about 35,000 and bringing the two stands behind the goals closer to the pitch.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/45344645
 
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