Friday, 3 August 2012

It Starts Again...

(sigh) Football, here we go…

It doesn’t feel as if it has been 10 weeks since Hearts put Hib’s to the sword in the 127th Scottish Cup final to put the top hat and tails on a memorable end to a poor season.  Part of that is down to the implosion that has seen Rangers liquidated and the company set up from its ashes rightly forced to start life at the bottom of the “professional” food chain.  The consequences of this has filled the front and back pages of the Scottish Media while Euro 2012, The Tour de France, Wimbledon and now the Olympics have been going on. 

The fight to ensure credibility for Scottish Football (no sporting integrity here in this blog) seems to have been going on for most of that period with Regan & Doncaster intent in ensuring that Newco Rangers start as high up the chain as possible, but for only “altruistic” purposes (ie retaining as much filthy lucre from sponsors as possible).  Since the clubs (it has to be said pushed by the various fans groups) voted for Newco Rangers to start in the Third Division, the sky has not fallen in.  Oh and both the SPL and the SFL have voted to keep taking the Murdoch shilling with yet another reduced television deal with BSkyB (and ESPN), despite it being shown that the SPL are not getting value for money from their television deals.

In the meantime, the on pitch business is about to get back into the centre stage…  in so much as the start of the SPL season can be centre stage in the middle of the Olympics.  The collapse of Rangers leaves Celtic as the biggest team left in the SPL.  They will start as huge favourites to collect the Scottish Championship in May next year.  For the first time in about 20 years though, the big question will be who will finish second.  Motherwell finished third last season and have only added Ramsden from Bradford, however they look as if they have kept most of their first team from last season. 

With the exception of St Mirren, Motherwell are the only side not to have lost players who performed for them last season.  Dundee United have lost Kenneth, Swanson & Robertson, but have brought in Millar from Falkirk.  In sharp contrast, Hearts have lost pretty much half of their Scottish Cup winning side and their manager Paolo Sergio.  Coming into the top six could well be Aberdeen, who have added Hayes (from Inverness) McGinn (from Celtic) as well as the experienced Gary Naysmith.  With the experienced Brown/Knox partnership at the helm, Aberdeen could find themselves pushing up the table.

Tactical genius Billy Dodds seems to think that St Mirren will finish ninth, If we can get scoring, I suspect that we will finish a good deal higher than that.  I kind of think that our lack of firepower at key moments will see us finish just outside the top six, and well out of trouble.  There are others that will be less fortunate.

Dundee probably start as favourites for the drop, due in no small part to this summer’s outbreak of boardroom politics.  Three weeks is not a long time to prepare for a season, and this will count against them.  Ross County’s relative inexperience may well count against them, but unlike Dundee they have had time to prepare and do have momentum in the shape of last season’s form to take them away from any immediate danger of relegation.  Inverness, Hibernian and Hearts also should be too savvy for the drop.

It is possible that Celtic could be Champions elect by Christmas and that Dundee be dead men walking by the same timescale.  I suspect that while Dundee could well be adrift at the turn of the year, I think that Celtic will not be out of sight until the spring.  While the off the field politics will of course rumble on, the resumption of play will be a welcome relief from that politicking for fans of Scottish Football.  Whether Scottish Football has reached rock bottom is another matter, and one that will be answered in time.

No comments:

Post a Comment