Stirling Park Llp Company Profile KILMARNOCK, United ...
Kilmarnock, Virginia - City-Data
Last Update Jan 21th, 2019 - Data on 14 crime reports on or near Kilmarnock Park in RH2. Crime map showing how Kilmarnock Park compares to neighbouring streets. Click a street for data on that street. Kilmarnock is currently on the 10 place in the Premier League table. Last game played with Aberdeen, which ended with result: Win Aberdeen 1:0.The most goals in all leagues for Kilmarnock scored: Chris Burke 3 goals, Nicke Kabamba 2 goals, Alan Power 1 goals, Aaron Tshibola 1 goals, Eamonn Brophy 1 goals, Rory McKenzie 1 goals. Played 7 matches this season. Kilmarnock, VA City Data Kilmarnock, VA is a city with great restaurants, attractions, history and people. There are around 1,244 people who live in Kilmarnock and approximately 11,567 who live in Lancaster County. We want to help people moving to or living in Kilmarnock to understand the dynamics of the city, so we have put together ... Data Caps in Kilmarnock Data from our researchers suggests that top providers in the area use data caps for their residential broadband packages. Data caps are a public issue since subscribers view caps as a strategy to limit 'cord cutting'. Providers maintain that they are a necessary tool for managing network traffic. Kilmarnock, Virginia photos, features, population & income data. The Town of Kilmarnock had a population of 1,619 as of July 1, 2020. The primary coordinate point for Kilmarnock is located at latitude 37.7104 and longitude -76.3797 in Lancaster County.The formal boundaries for the Town of Kilmarnock encompass a land area of 3.42 sq. miles and a water area of 0.01 sq. miles. Kilmarnock, VA This is a small community in a single neighborhood. As throughout the site, some neighborhood-level data are reserved for subscribers. Get this piece of data and more. Be the first to know about real estate development happening in your city. Sign up for an PRO (In The Know) Now Follow projects, companies, and receive automatic updates on property transactions, new development proposals, project permitting, construction status changes and more. Kilmarnock, Virginia detailed profile. Tornado activity: Kilmarnock-area historical tornado activity is near Virginia state average.It is 32% smaller than the overall U.S. average.. On 8/6/1993, a category F3 (max. wind speeds 158-206 mph) tornado 14.2 miles away from the Kilmarnock town center caused between $5000 and $50,000 in damages.. On 11/2/1966, a category F3 tornado 26.9 miles away ... Station Data. Monthly averages Kilmarnock Longitude: -76.3797, Latitude: 37.7104 Average weather Kilmarnock, VA - 22482. Monthly: 1981-2010 normals Stirling Park Llp is located in KILMARNOCK, United Kingdom and is part of the Collection Agencies Industry. Stirling Park Llp has 1 employees at this location and generates $67,937 in sales (USD). ... (D&B) using this data for marketing and analytical purposes, and to D&B emailing you or using an autodialer or pre-recorded voice to text or call ...
DWT10 (August 1st 2020)
2020.08.01 10:58 Dad1903DWT10 (August 1st 2020)
Testing testing; check one two – DWT is live once again on Reddit! Terrific, terrific stuff Alas – promotion has remained minimal; the expected discovery has proved elusive - we remain apparently in a chamber of echoes...but here - whilst the echoes exist, discovery can occur. In the gloom life brings in a general sense just now, there still exists the threads of connection forged over time, that people are aware of and pay attention to. Maybes no as religiously as one assumed - but I've no doubt eventually, someone will notice the flashing bulb spelling out in Morse code, "D (pause), W(pause), T(pause)." What they do with this info (or indeed have done) is the story we're observing here. Exciting stuff - top notch drama here assured haha (at some stage) For those keeping track - last week saw just one out of the three choices come in; so nowt added to the winners pile. Paying out of pocket therefore this week; hopeful of this dropping because I tell ye's...ach no I willnae yet - positive thoughts haha (still smiling, dinnae worry). But whilst there's a kitty to help when things get shitty - we don't want to be in a hurry to ignore the worry. Reddit Running Total (RRT) currently sits at -£61.67. So into today we go - and given the personal association - the first Reddit Era DWT I feel properly represents the epitome of my expertise (hahahaha ah no - for the love of fuck). In my recent past, I did in fact scoop a prediction league prize - gained against a general public population of people (20 or so) who were/are equipped with football knowledge aplenty. Dont yous be thinking theres nowt but a pile of gibbering mush sat in front of a laptop typing this pish; yous have here a proven beacon of insight into Scottish Football action. First day it is - which always adds in a smidge of unpredictability; but nonetheless - selections have been made and made confidently. So just to be wary; nsfw as this is detailing a wager I am placing every week. I’m not promoting it in the slightest to be put on; its purely to be completely transparent about where the beans Im spilling are being pushed towards – this is after all, a Life experiment: Can a useless old arsehole prosper under strict weekly gambling conditions? Word of warning; prior to this – not really.
The sticky clarifies; but just to reiterate; heres the format:\* DRS20 is Dads Recommended Spend: £20. This is a lot of money granted; hence the 18 certificate; and I would encourage absolute apprehension if this sort of money represents life altering for you personally if zero is returned. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford to lose £20 in a week; but confess that if I got no return for say, 20 weeks in a row, I would likely be without something I value (a streaming service or summat). I don’t take it lightly******* Four bets are placed with this outlay; a £5 Treble (DWT) and three £5 Doubles. Generally if two come up, the bet is covered (up or down £2 or so)\* My gambling prowess is pretty much a joke; so whilst I advertise, I in no way qualify them as a given; I’m a prick with plenty bollocks to spout is all. This is how I frame it
So here it is - the one that celebrates the return of Scottish Football by serving up a big plate of sensible betting: Its DWT10 https://i.redd.it/hftkt5sovce51.gif Dundee Utd (home to st johnstone): 17/10 (ko - 1500 gmt) Hibernian (home to kilmarnock): 1/1 ((ko -1500 gmt) Lazio (away to napoli): 21/20 (ko - 1945 gmt) 10.07/1 we get for this selection – terrific. Over 10's last week; over 10's this week - the formation of a formula presenting itself with minimal effort; albeit with disappointing results thus far. Nonetheless - a formula is only as good as the data you feed it; we just need better data. Top-Data + DWT = A pocket full of banknotes. Lets fucking do this. To clarify - Lazio are a late kick-off - so potentially a full days-worth of terrific action to enjoy assuming Utd and Hibs do their part. Settle in people haha YES Dundee Utd, back after a wee spell away there, a fairly obvious choice given the furore surrounding their return. No slouches sainties for sure, but theres many a change in the atmos and whatnot given the departure of the manager just there no long ago. Whilst Im sure they'll get on the straight and narrow eventually, I just cannae see them doing owt against a Utd team that'll no doubt be wound up like excited bastards. Terrific price tbf. Hibernian to me have the look of a mob worth giving a fuck about this year; now hes had a wee spell to bed into the scene, Jack Ross (Hibernian Manager) has a squad capable of getting up amongst the third place mob. Home to start in always a bonus - crowd in attendance or not - and in kilmarnock we have an opponent as about as consistent as DWT itself (hoo mama). Evens is generous here - expect 3 or 4 nil I reckon). Lazio complete the trio - a departure away from Scotland and with it a late kick-off. Was endeavouring to keep things together timewise - but in Lazio, we have a team locked on equal points with Atalanta; even victory doesnt gaurantee things owing to goal difference. So the aim is, win - and win fucking well; no other thing for it. So as such - one hops aboard HSS Lazio enjoying the ride. Away they may be, but napoli are marooned where they are, not a difference made by the outcome today whate'er it may be. Sounds like a winning formula to me. So there we have it – nostalgia, hope and determination all apparent in equal measure. This time we do it right; wind in the sails – and off across the ocean in search of new worlds. A powerful pirate ship hunting high and low for treasures. Raise the fucking flag - the good ship DWT is back and ready to provide for its crew. If you play; play safe. DRS20 as always people. Frustration at the amount won, is better than the heartache at the amount lost. https://preview.redd.it/6vf4q74vvce51.jpg?width=630&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6d8259bb4fab92b0f11053b6ed3303a69e352eab
2020.04.17 17:55 PneumaticPtarmiganTop 100 goalkeeper clean sheets in the SPL and Scottish Premiership era (1998-2020)
Data was taken from Transfermarkt. Annoyingly, they have a bit of a dodgy way of counting clean sheets - a keeper gets a clean sheet if they're manage to not concede any goals even if they're only on the pitch for 2 minutes.
Clubs (Clean sheets for club)
Rangers (122) Dunfermline (5)
Hearts (47) Celtic (78)
Dundee (6) Partick Thistle (2) Aberdeen (96)
Dundee (30) Celtic (61)
Kilmarnock (56) Motherwell (17)
Rangers (2) Motherwell (4) Inverness CT (28) Celtic (6) Kilmarnock (4) Hibernian (4) Ross County (17)
Hearts (33) Kilmarnock (28)
Hamilton (26) Partick Thistle (28) Aberdeen (1)
Dundee United (27) St. Mirren (11) Dunfermline (4) Ross County (1) Partick Thistle (5)
Dundee United (10) Kilmarnock (37)
Dundee United (0) St. Mirren (24) Kilmarnock (15) Motherwell (5)
2020.03.12 13:00 Rab_LegendPremiership Coronavirus Preparations Idea
So I've had a wee look at the movement of team positions post split (for the data available on wikipedia) since the 2016-17 season. I decided to look at the difference in position from matchday 33 to matchday 38 for every team in the past 3 seasons. I found that there was no change of position last season, there was some variation between Kilmarnock and Aberdeen during the games in the split, but both ended up with their pre-split positions. The 2017-18 season in the top 6 there was a swap between Rangers and Aberdeen for 2nd to 3rd. For the bottom six Hamilton and Dundee swapped positions (10th and 9th), and Partick Thistle and Ross County swapped (12th and 11th). The 2016-17 season found that there was no changes in top six, even during the split. However, the bottom six most teams swapped positions, with Hamilton being the only team to drop 2 places from 9th to 11th, and ICT being the only team to keep their position (12th). I did not look at the lower leagues, purely because I couldn't think of a nice arbitrary point to stop the league, like the split for the Premiership. I think that with this, we should play every game to the split (provided no changes are recommended from WHO or UK Health officials), possibly behind closed doors, and then have a play-offs for spots. For this season, I think it is unreasonable to say Celtic should play Rangers for first, or that Rangers should play Motherwell/Aberdeen/(possibly)Livingston for 2nd. However, a playoff between 3rd and 4th place for 3rd should be done, then the loser of that playoff and 5th should be done for 4th place. Similarly, for bottom six 10th and 11th playoff for 10th spot, then the loser of this would playoff against 12th for relegation. I get that this may be unfair for 10th place to be brought down into the relegation fight, but they might do in the 5 games post split. To solve the financial issues (provided the games aren't closed doors) the teams could try push for more people to attend these last crucial games (similar to how Kilmarnock did last season). If they make fans understand that their survival potentially could be at stake. I know I will seem biased since Celtic would be crowned champions in this scenario, however I think a 13 point gap is not enough for a playoff. Similarly, Rangers being 21 points clear means they really shouldn't be in a playoff for 2nd. Obviously by the split if Hearts are sitting 12+ points adrift at the bottom of the table, then they should not be playing anyone for survival.
2020.03.09 00:24 empeekayA 16-team league and falling ticket income
So I've long been an advocate for totally reforming Scottish football from the ground up, partly by introducing a larger top league of, say, 16. Of all the times the bawheids at the SFA have copied something from the English game, they've always stopped short of anything radical - like changing to a structure that means our teams only play each other twice in the league in a single season. A common argument I've seen against moving to a 16-team league, is that teams would suffer because of the drop in the number of home games. I've always just snorted at that and assumed that teams would be able to deal with it. No big problem. Well today I did the maths* and you guys I might have been wrong all along. First things first: I'm not a statistician, I'm just your average Excel geek, and if anyone wants to point out glaring flaws in my logic then I'll take it on the chin and slink off with my tail between my legs. I'll show my findings and then explain my working below the main results. The figures are obviously not gospel, but they seem to suggest that a 16-team league would hit clubs hard.
Google doc link to full data I took attendances for season 2018/19 from footballwebpages.co.uk. I then took ticket prices for season 2019/20 from the BBC Cost of the Game report from the start of this season and calculated the median ticket price - to do this I ignored the away tickets, and had to assign a single arbitrary value (based on Rangers' prices) for Celtic, as their data was incomplete. I created a 16-team league from the 12 SPL teams and the top 4 in the Championship from season 2018/19. For the SPL teams I calculated two average attendances - one for home games against the Old Firm, and one for all other teams. This also gave me a percentage uplift for OF games, and percentage shortfall for everyone else. To calculate attendances against the Old Firm in the new league for the championship teams, I applied a percentage uplift to their average attendance. I took this uplift value from the team with the nearest equivalent stadium capacity - so for Ayr United, I applied a 170% uplift, as their nearest equivalent stadium would be St Johnston's. This is to represent teams giving Celtic and Rangers more tickets. My figures do not account for any sort of natural increase in ticket sales because teams have been promoted. I also did not factor in the non-OF drop in average attendances to the Championship teams. I didn't use away ticket prices as there are no figures, as far as I'm aware, for away supporters. The net result would appear to suggest an overall ticket income drop of 21% across all teams (with all the caveats attached to my wonky data). There is always the suggestion that the cost of not having to put on those missing home games would mitigate the loss of income, but this would mean that a single home game would need to cost Celtic nearly £2m, Rangers nearly £1.75m, and Hibs £500K. I don't have those figures available (although they may be accessible in club accounts), so it may be possible, but I think it unlikely. The google doc has only data, no formulae, as I worked firstly in Excel. If anyone would like that document, give me a shout and I'll try and figure out how to dropbox. *Note: the maths may be wrong.
2019.09.11 22:53 bamadeoWhich are the most 'average' teams in the top leagues? Part III: Belgium, Turkey and Scotland.
What's good fellas? bamadeo back again here providing the advanced stats we never knew we needed.Today we'll take a look at the leagues from Belgium, Turkey and Scotland. disclaimer: all of the criteria and definitions are completely arbitrary and made up by me, feel free to insult me below. What i did was: using the last 10 (or 11, it depends) seasons in that league the teams between positions 10 and 11 get 3 pts and in positions 9 and 12, get 1 point. So, first things first: what is an 'average' team? My opinion differs from my criteria, because for the sake of literality, I decided to go with the literal definition of average - 'the central or typical value in a set of data' - and not mine: "those teams no one really cares about". Just wanna say before anyone goes smart ass on me: Yeah I know these aren't the top leagues in the world, but it's the name of the series, shut up. Link to previous part BELGIAN PRO LEAGUE According to my advanced stats, the most average teams in Belgium are KV Mechelen (14 pts -new record!-), Kortrijk (12 pts) and Lokeren (10 pts). This sounds right I guess, none of the big teams got points, unless we're counting S. Liege who got 7, as well as Cercle Brugge, Sint Triuden and Charleroi. I gotta say, mediocrity is well divided here within a select group of clubs. It was an enthralling race, trying to guess who'd win. Anyways, let's carry on with the TURKISH SÜPER LIG The winner here, and it was even close, was GENCLERBIRLIGI (yes thats a real name) they monopolized the mediocrity market with a stunning 18 points! real amazing. Second place went to Kayserispor (8 pts) over Antalyaspor (7), Gaziantepspor (7) and Akhisar (6). In the stupid facts to tease rivals section: The only big team to get points was Galatasaray, courtesy of the 10/11 season. Last (and probably least aswell hehe) is the SCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP In a joint 1st place we find Heart of Midlothian and Motherwell, both with 11 points. Motherwell secured an agonic point in the 09/10 season to tie Hearts. For the second place, we had another tie! St. Johnstone and Ross County both got 10 points -- and some places back we can find Inverness CT (7), Kilmarnock (6) and Hamilton Academical (6). Doing this I found out that it's not actually PATRICK Thistle, but PARTICK Thistle. Bummer.
As the Scottish Premiership draws to a close and the play-offs reach their conclusion, so too does my role of bringing the results, highlights, and (most importantly) patter from all divisions of the SPFL to this subreddit. Let’s get stuck in.
This may have been the most inconsequential of all this week’s games, but it was surely up there with the most entertaining. Before kick-off former Motherwell player Wes Fletcher carried on their pre-match tradition of producing ‘interesting’ social media content. After being voted (very unofficially) by fans as Motherwell’s worst ever striker, he responded by calling his manager at the time, Mark “get that tae f-“ McGhee, a fat c- The Steelmen absolutely flew out the blocks, with Liam Donnelly scoring in the opening 10 minutes, before young talent extraordinaire doubled the lead, and scored a penalty to make it 3-0 all before the half-hour mark. Before half-time, Livi had a penalty of their own, but Mark Gillespie did well to deny Ryan Hardie, and Motherwell quickly surged upfield, with David Turnbull being brought down for a third penalty of the game. His penalty wasn’t good enough to land a hattrick that would have taken him to 16 goals for the season, and somehow an insane passage of play ended up without a goal. The second half was quiet, until… enter Scott Tiffoney. The 20 year old was subbed on, and, with 80 minutes played, set about scoring twice within a minute. The stage was set for a Motherwell collapse, but Livi could not find the winner, despite Dolly Menga going close. Motherwell were on a downward spiral this season and finishing with 51 points, their highest in 5 years, is commendable. I should also pass on my congratulations to defender Richard Tait, who finished 5th in Eurovision just hours after this performance. Meanwhile, there is little more to be said than that which I have said already about Livingston - a phenomenal season, but they will have it all to do again next year. Highlights.
The situation for St Mirren was relatively simple, beat the worst team in the division, and hope the team above you can’t beat the best team they could face. If that happens, the relegation play-off is avoided. Of course, true to any team that has spent the majority of the season in the bottom 2, they made it as difficult as possible for themselves. Cammy Kerr opened the scoring for Dundee in the first 15 minutes, before his defensive partner Darren O’Dea was sent off for DOGSO in his final professional appearance. Brutal. A half-time change proved key for the Buddies, as Dundee goalkeeper Jack Hamilton completed his Game of Thrones style character-arc, perfectly replicating his gameweek 1 performance by having a howler against St Mirren. Substitute Cody Cooke headed home the equaliser, and added the second after Hamilton failed completely at clearing the ball. This looked to be in vain as Scott Wright equalised for the hosts, but Cooke completed a hattrick as his tame shot wasn’t dealt with at all by the Dundee goalie. All in all a fantastic, spirited performance from St Mirren, but they rely on a St Johnstone win to avoid the relegation play-off. There’s not much more to say about Dundee, a new manager could yet breathe some life into the team, and they’ll be looking to spend less time in the Championship than their neighbours have so far. Highlights.
Hamilton did exactly what they needed to do, and whilst this St Johnstone team had nothing to play for, it’s a commendable result that is hopefully indicative of the work Brian Rice is doing. Having left his role at St Mirren 4 months ago, it’s somewhat poetic that his side may have sent them down. They took the lead through Ziggy Gordon with 10 minutes played, and, according to a very excited social media team, went up 2-0 against St Johnstonr when Steve Davies capitalised on a steam ash later in the second half. St Mirren have my sympathy, but Hamilton have turned their season around at the right time and fully deserve to stay in the division, especially when you consider how limited their resources are. They had words, or, more accurately, memes for all those that regularly bemoan them staying up. They are the perennial survivors and have absolutely earned it. Highlights.
Another game with nothing on the line but a chance to size up their Scottish Cup final opponents, Celtic fielded a second-string team in this encounter, presumably to protect players from injury, but also because Scott Brown was booked to fight Drew McIntyre. This afforded the chance for 16 year-old Karamoko Dembele to make his professional debut, after years of overperforming at youth level. He seemed to offer a lot more than Oli Burke, who, if I’m not mistaken, is currently the most expensive Scottish footballer ever. Food for thought. It was another of Celtic’s youngsters who ran this game, however. 4 years Dembele’s senior, Mikey Johnston opened the scoring with just a minute played, and after Jake Mulraney’s fortuitous equaliser 15 minutes later, he scored the winning goal in the final 10 minutes. Celtic may not have made it particularly easy, but they finish the season 9 points ahead of Rangers, and 8-in-a-row champions. Hearts will lament injuries for derailing a very promising start to the season, but in truth they have been unable to hit any sort of consistent form - a problem which goes beyond a lack of depth. They finish 6th, with less points than 7th-placed St Johnstone, and level with Motherwell beneath them. Highlights.
This match played out much like most Hibs-Aberdeen matches have recently - tightly fought, could have gone either way, but fell the way of the Dons. Aberdeen needed to better Kilmarnock’s result vs Rangers in order to secure a Europa League qualifying place, but did not start brilliantly, with an excellent pass from Fraser Murray setting up Marc McNulty to put Hibs 1-0 up. Aberdeen equalised through Cosgrove just before half-time, and had plenty opportunities to put the game to bed in the second half; Cosgrove having a penalty saved after James Wilson scored what proved to be the winner. The real entertainment of the game came from Aberdeen’s Stevie May. After a nice bit of work from Max Lowe, May was presented with the opportunity to blast the ball into the net, but actually managed an inch-perfect pass to a counter-attacking Hibs winger. Behold one of the rare occasions whereby you can hear sitcom style laughter a football game. With a finish like that, some might say Stevie May doesn’t deserve a place in the Aberdeen side, but there is an argument that he provides something no other player on the team has the attributes for. For example, I doubt very much there is anyone in the squad who can devour a whole kiwi in a single bite. With this result Hibs finish 3 points above local rivals Hearts, in 5th place, and Aberdeen have to hope that Rangers get at least a draw at Kilmarnock, or they’ll finish 4th, and will need Celtic to win the Scottish Cup should they wish to qualify for European football. Highlights.
Oh well. The last game of the season at Rugby Pugby (any opportunity!) is also to be Steve Clarke’s last game in charge of Kilmarnock, with him being announced as the new Scotland National Team manager earlier today. Of course, he is serving the first game of a 3-game touchline ban, so I have to wonder a) whether that will be upheld in his new role, and b) which meeting he went to first. It was a former Rangers player, Chris Burke, who put the hosts ahead with less than 10 minutes played, and almost an hour before Alfredo Morelos equalised, telling Kilmarnock’s largest home crowd of the season to pipe down as he celebrated. Kilmarnock almost regained the lead via Liam Millar, but his goal was disallowed for offside, and it looked as if Killie would have to settle for 4th; but when Borna Barisic hauled down Stephen O’Donnell, Eamonn Brophy had a chance in the 89th minute to send Kilmarnock into Europe. I don’t think he was ever going to miss. Scenes ensued, including former player Ray Montgomerie leading the crowd in singing Beautiful Sunday. Steve Clarke took over a 12th-placed Kilmarnock team, and led them to their highest points tally, before securing Europa League football this season in a fitting end to his remarkable tenure. If he can change the Scotland National Team’s fortunes in even remotely similar fashion he’ll have done a wonderful job. His speech at the end of the game seemed to confirm that he would be heading to pastures new, of course he was never going to leave the Scottish Premiership without a final jab at Rangers. Rangers finish 2nd, and will only be looking above them for next season. Killie post-Clarke are going to be interesting to watch. He’s clearly laid foundations for a very strong team, the question will be whether or not they can kick on. They finish 3rd for the first time in 53 years. Highlights. So here’s how the 2018/19 Scottish Premiership season finishes:
I mean, who doesn’t love it when randoms on the internet put together their own team of the season? They’re always incorrect, completely arbitrary, and usually decided by who has had the best February-May. Here’s mine: GK: Liam Kelly Allan McGregor will have been many people’s choice for this position, but he can’t seem to stop attacking folk, so I would like to draw your attention to young Liam Kelly. Quite simply, he’s just turned 23, and he’s a bit of a feline in the goal. Livingston have garnered many compliments for their defence this season, but they could have been on the end of some right pastings had it not been for Kelly - enough in my book to put him ahead of St Johnstone’s Zander Clark, who also boasts an impressive clean sheet record. DEF: James Tavernier What you have with James Tavernier is a full-back who is absolutely perfect for an attacking team. A set-piece specialist, and a wicked crosser, Tavernier has 14 goals (11 of them penalties) and an even more impressive 14 assists this season, and the defence he captains is hardly leaky either. There is no right-back in Scotland currently on his level. DEF: Kristoffer Ajer From the club that brought you Virgil van Dijk, please welcome to the stage Kristoffer Ajer! I’ll admit, I would be surprised if Ajer reached ‘best in the world’ status, but what would not surprise me would be seeing him performing regularly in a top league in the world, or the Champions League. DEF: Craig Halkett Craig Halkett agreeing to join Hearts next season will be a crushing blow to Livingston - doubly so with defensive partner Declan Gallagher leaving for Motherwell. Above captaining a side that were astonishingly hard to beat after two successive promotions, Halkett has contributed 7 Premiership goals, mostly from set-plays or penalties, but including a 40-yarder against St Johnstone the other week. DEF: Max Lowe In an underwhelming Aberdeen side, Max Lowe’s eye-catching performances at left-back have been one of the few positives of the season (Cosgrovaissance aside). He may well be their most creative player. Should he stay at Derby, Ashley Cole is exactly the kind of player he could learn from - it’s definitely the case that his loan to Aberdeen could not have gone much better. MID: Gary Dicker Although he’s hardly a player that gets the pulse racing, but Gary Dicker is the heartbeat of a Kilmarnock side that have defied the odds to finish 3rd this season. It’s very difficult to choose a player that is emblematic of Killie’s success - Greg Stewart could have been a candidate before his bizarre move to Aberdeen - but that is exactly why Dicker is your man. He’s the ideal midfield anchor. If he was called Gario Dickquets you’d all be listening. MID: Callum McGregor Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham may have looked indispensable to Celtic in August, but for many games this season Callum McGregor has slotted into the holding midfield position and rendered them both obsolete. He’s captained Scotland in the absence of Andy Robertson, and his role in ensuring that Celtic didn’t let the title slip after a few uncomfortable episodes cannot be understated. MID: David Turnbull If Turnbull’s meteoric rise doesn’t begin to peter out soon he will go right to the top of the game. A pure talent that almost single-handedly turned Motherwell’s season around, it’ll take a record fee to get him to leave Fir Park, and rightly so. 19 years old, 15 goals and 5 assists in the league from midfield. What else needs to be said? FWD: James Forrest Player of the Year, saviour of Scotland’s Nations League campaign, and a fixture in each of the Celtic squads that have dominated for the last 8 years - all without having a neck. James Forrest is often unplayable for defenders, and if you can look decent whilst playing for Scotland - even with that run - you must be a pretty special player. FWD: Scott Arfield Ryan Kent may steal most of the limelight, and that attention is well deserved, but Scott Arfield has proven to be a total headache for any defence pre-occupied with Rangers’ front three. He’s been most obviously effective playing off Jermain Defoe, but has been a vital attacking outlet for a Rangers side that scored more than anyone else this season. FWD: Alfredo Morelos Truly a man who needs no introduction. He might be a cheat, he might have 15 yellows and 5 reds this season, but he has directly contributed to 40 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions. Trying to deny that he’s a brilliant player is pointless, even if he is a wee bam. MANAGER: Steve Clarke It’s a coin-toss between Clarke and Livingston manager Gary Holt for this one. Had Livi not taken their foot off the pedal in the latter stages of the season, Holt would probably be a no-brainer. No-one suspected his side would be well clear of the relegation places come May. However, Steve Clarke has guided Killie to a record points tally, and a 3rd-place spot that will see Kilmarnock compete in the Europa League qualifying rounds. Hopefully he will be leading the Scotland squad before the start of next season, he certainly deserves to lead the team of the season. For comparison, and to try to compensate for the obvious recency bias I’ve just displayed, here you can find a “Team of the Half-Season” I put together in Week 19.
Not pretty viewing at all for fans of Scotland’s only English club, but these results mean Cove join Edinburgh City by becoming the second team to be promoted to the SPFL! The Scottish Cup final is on Saturday at 3pm, and the second leg of St Mirren vs Dundee United is your last viewing for this season. The first of their matches kicks-off at Tannadice on Thursday at 7:45pm, then St Mirren Park hosts the deciding game at 3pm on Sunday, with the winner taking the final place in the Scottish Premiership. This has been fun. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion, and to the whole subreddit for only implying the Scottish Premiership is a diddy league unworthy of discussion on a few occasions. Couldn’t have asked for more. Be sure to check out /ScottishFootball for the usual good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up hereand you can find all other weeks on my profile, obviously. ● data from soccerway.com
Just two more rounds of Scottish Premiership action remain as Kilmarnock and Aberdeen face the Edinburgh sides as they fight for 3rd, and St Mirren and Hamilton contest a potentially season-defining match at the other end of the table. Also, the promotion/relegation play-offs for the Championship, League One, and League Two have begun, so those results will be looked at too in the penultimate Fitba Roundup :(
When Aberdeen’s players haven’t been endorsing Donald Trump’s golf course (use code SCOTT for 10% off your first visit) they’ve been busy putting in absolutely awful performances at home. Fortunately, a Hearts side that can’t buy a win after joining the top-6 post-split were about to be a port in the storm, though Craig Levein’s side did take all 3 points in the last match between the two at Tynecastle. It was Aberdeen’s final home game of the season, and captain Graeme Shinnie’s last appearance at Pittodrie, but it was his midfield protege Lewis Ferguson who made the initial impact, managing to get a shot flying past Colin Doyle early in the second half. Hearts equalised through Bobby Burns, briefly causing me to consider writing this entire portion of the roundup in poetry form, before James Wilson turned creator for a second time to assist Greg Stewart - putting Aberdeen, briefly, above his former side Kilmarnock. Highlights.
Hibs’ final away game was to be decided in contentious style, as with half an hour played Alex Bruce’s legs failed him, and he took a tumble in the Hibs penalty box. Andrew Dallas’ decision to award a penalty has definitely seen him stake a claim to be the most disliked referee in Scotland. Eamonn Brophy duly converted the spot-kick, as earlier suggestions that Paul Heckingbottom would be nominally determined to be the type of man who would die before swearing were to be put to bed. As Bruce gave his post-match interview, the Hibs manager walked by the media and shouted “fucking diver” at his former teammate. Reportedly Bruce then chased after him to see if he was joking. He wasn’t, and I’m not either, this is an actual interaction that did genuinely happen. Kilmarnock immediately jump back into third, meaning the battle for the last guaranteed Europa League Qualifier spot will go right down to the wire. Highlights.
A will-they-won’t-they saga that rivalled Rachel and Ross, James Tavernier and his Guard of Honour were NOT seen together at Ibrox, as the final Old Firm derby saw Celtic arrive as champions - irritatingly deciding to win the league the week before this match, instead of at the home of their rivals. In hindsight, that was a sensible choice. Those who did want to see a group of professional footballers standing idly by as they get passed through only had to wait 2 minutes. Tavernier himself opened the scoring, apparently catching his own goalkeeper flat-footed as his ball into the box ghosted through the Celtic defence. Jon Flanagan managed to escape with a yellow after a coming together with an unnamed Celtic player’s face (just guess). After that, it was up to Scott Arfield to finish off an extraordinary bit of work by £50k man (transfer fee, not wages) Glen Kamara, to double the advantage - and ‘rap’ up the points for Rangers, rounding off a poor afternoon for Rangers. Highlights.
Delighted finally to experience some schadenfreude at the expense of their local rivals - after years of being Wagnered - Dundee United fans prepared a coffin to commemorate their neighbours’ miserable season. Despite Kenny Miller’s 11th minute goal giving Dundee a win they could have done with a couple of weeks ago, this was to be Jim McIntyre’s last match in charge of the dark blues, with a caretaker manager being appointed for their final Premiership game, as they begin the search for the man who will look to return them there in a year’s time. This may well be the last time I type the words ‘Tony Macaroni Arena’, so I would just like to say: Livingston, it has been a pleasure. I’ll never forget the times we’ve had. Highlights.
Two of three teams without even pride to play for, St Johnstone v Motherwell was never going to be the game to watch this weekend; although interestingly enough this result does put Saints on 52 points - one point more than Hearts, the team above them in the table. After Chris Kane headed over from 2 yards out (following some beautiful football) Saints did manage to win and secure 7th place. Scott Tanser converted a penalty and Murray Davidson finished well on each side of half-time to give Saints a win in what was an entertaining match, despite there being little to play for. Highlights.
St Mirren came to this match knowing they needed a win to have any chance of avoiding a relegation play-off, with Accies the only team that could take their place. With Hamilton only needing the draw, Brian Rice’s sage advice to his team might have been to keep a cool head and see out the result. Obviously no-one was paying attention, because tempers were flared from the beginning. When Alex Gogic was sent-off with half an hour played, however, it was because he was adjudged to have denied Simeon Jackson a clear goalscoring opportunity. You could sense the importance of this match at every turn, and when Kyle McAllister scored with 15 minutes left to play, St Mirren Park erupted. Just look at what that goal means to young and old fans alike. The moment at which both sides could breathe a sigh - be it of relief or exasperation - came when Kyle Magennis’ brilliant footwork opened up space for him to score in the 96th minute, ensuring that St Mirren and Hamilton’s respective fates will be decided on the final day. I’ve said this before on /ScottishFootball, but I’ve had a soft spot for St Mirren this year. I think Oran Kearney hiring a magician to inspire a result against Celtic might have endeared me to them. Whoever secures their Premiership status on the final day - be it St Mirren at Dundee, or Hamilton hosting St Johnstone - they will have had to fight hard for it, and it will be an achievement worth recognising. Highlights. Here’s how the table shapes up ahead of an exciting final day!
So Inverness will face Dundee United in the semi-finals. At the time of me posting this, they’ll have a 0-1 deficit to overturn at Tannadice should they wish to face either Hamilton or St Mirren next Thursday & Sunday. I’ll tell you all about that next week.
A hattrick from Stephen Dobbie that puts him on 43 goals for the season means that the Doonhamers can retain their Championship status by seeing off the challenge of Raith Rovers. First leg is tomorrow, with the game in Dumfries on Saturday.
These results mean Stenhousemuir are relegated to League Two, and that one of Clyde and Annan Athletic will join Peterhead, now unlikely friends with Manchester City, in being promoted to League One. At the other end of League Two, Berwick Rangers will have to overcome a 4-0 loss to Highland League champions Cove Rangers on Saturday should they wish to stay in the SPFL. See you next week for the last ever time! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here ● data from soccerway.com ● thanks mods for fixing2soccer2bot
The Championship, League One, and League Two went down to the final day to settle champions and relegations. Meanwhile, the champions of the Premiership, and the first team to be relegated to the Championship were confirmed. Bit of a mouthful, that. Highlights and summaries of everything you need to know below, in a week that featured a 37 year old man karate-kicking another player in the highest division of Scottish Professional Football.
Despite it looking as if Celtic would meander towards winning the title at Ibrox next week, a win in this match settled the matter. They’ll just have to settle for a guard of honour, which true sportsman James Tavernier will no doubt be keen to lead. Please refrain from any references to your nan, the English Championship, the vague concept of a one-team league, or Brendan Rodgers in any subsequent discussion. Having lost two important attacking midfielders in Ryan Christie and Mayor of Norwich, MD / “orange juice” guzzler Kenny McLean, Aberdeen have desperately struggled to create chances this season. Yet, they had the first big opportunities of the first half, both squandered by Manchester United loanee James Wilson. The first saw him on the end of a Greg Stewart cross, controlling before volleying the ball into the ground and over the bar. Then, after a surging run by Scott McKenna, Sam Cosgrove’s first-time shot was saved brilliantly by Scott Bain, only for Wilson to put the rebound wide of the exposed goal. Without the likes of McLean and Christie in the ranks anymore, and following the news that captain Graeme Shinnie will be leaving on a free transfer to Derby County, Aberdeen may have to rely more on Lewis Ferguson to run their midfield. The last time these two sides met involved a total capitulation from Aberdeen, and a stupid red card from the 19 year-old prompted may people to make the remark that he looks like the kind of boy who’d need velcro boots if there wasn’t an adult around to help him. This was confirmed following his Young Player of the Year nomination. It was Player of the Year nominee Callum McGregor who turned provider for Celtic’s opener (and the goal after that), playing in Mikael Lustig to head home the first, before Jozo Simunovic got the goal he deserved in the Cup semi-final, heading in a second-half corner. Experienced (euphemism for ‘old’) right-back Greg Halford was subbed on for his Aberdeen debut, 10 minutes before having to leave the pitch with a groin injury which I can only assume was picked up as Player of the Year James Forrest set about turning him inside out. Kieran Tierney was also substituted with injury, taking about as long to leave the pitch as Halford’s appearance. Odsonne Edouard put the cherry on the icing on the cake in the 88th minute, the second time in as many weeks that there has been an apt amount of time played when Celtic score - as Celtic, founded in 1888, join the likes of Juventus in celebrating an 8th title in a row. Highlights.
Steve Clarke was crowned Manager of the Year at Sunday’s awards, and rightly so, as a win here puts Kilmarnock into third place, with one foot in the Europa League qualifiers. We already know he’s less than enthusiastic about that prospect, but let’s not pretend that it isn’t an astonishing achievement, as he continues to raise Kilmarnock’s record points tally. They were dominant against a Hearts team that have only managed one post-split win in the last three seasons, but had to wait until the 86th minute for the breakthrough. I’m not sure I can do it justice, so, with commentary more emotional than Chris Burke watching Game of Thrones, please enjoy Stuart Findlay’s winner. Hearts had opportunities to take the lead, especially when Uche Ikpeazu burst clear and had his shot cleared off the line. The fact that he left the pitch injured will be a major concern for Craig Levein - though there is more about this Hearts side to worry him than that. As Director of Football he really ought to look for a new manager. Highlights.
If Steven Gerrard hadn’t already endeared himself to the wider world of Scottish football, I’m sure labelling it “worse than expected” will do the trick. Many of Gerrard’s points are fair, but as possibly the biggest ‘name’ in the league it would be nice if he set about encouraging change in a more positive way. This was to be Hibs’ first league defeat with Paul Heckingbottom at the wheel, and although Jermain Defoe scored the winning goal in the first-half, the game couldn’t have ended more dramatically. If you’re not familiar with the work of Allan McGregor, please check out weeks 3, 4 and 25 of this roundup in my post history. If you are familiar, please take some comfort in the fact that he has finally been called out by a referee for slyly putting his studs into the body of another player. McGregor was sent-off in the 89th-minute for turning a regular clearance into a flying kick on Mark McNulty in possibly his most ridiculous antic of the season. Astonishingly, Rangers were awarded the free-kick, before Bobby Madden gave the 37-year-old his marching orders. With all 3 subs used, Ross McCrorie, whose twin brother Robbie genuinely is a goalkeeper yet to make his debut for Rangers, put on the gloves, the hilarity of the situation not lost on him. Although, if Wikipedia is anything to go by, Robbie might have found it less funny. The next strange incident of the game was that, as Stevie Mallan went to take a corner in the dying moments, someone from the crowd threw a ball onto the pitch. Bobby Madden gave a drop-ball, and an attacking situation for Hibs turned into a throw-in 20 yards inside their own half. This result puts European football out of reach for Hibs this season, though if they continue as they've started under Paul Heckingbottom they'll be challenging right at the top in 2019/20. Highlights.
Motherwell’s marketing team have definitely been creative this season. Celebrating May the 4th with a program in the style of ‘Fir Park Wars’ is either their worst or best effort of the season depending on who you ask. A Young Player of the Year nominee, and a player whom I will not shut up about, Liam TurnbullMichael Ballack David Turnbull has almost singlehandedly changed Motherwell’s fortunes this season - at just 19 years old. I personally think it’s a travesty that he wasn’t given the award, with Rangers’ Ryan Kent - also nominated for Player of the Year - the eventual winner. Turnbull opened the scoring in the second half, but St Mirren have not known when they’re beaten as of late, and Kyle Magennis’ matched Danny Mullen’s heroics of last week - without quite as much style, but with all the drama - scoring in the 94th minute to rescue what could well be a vital point. However, news of the result from Dens Park will be tough to take, as it now looks very likely that St Mirren will contest the relegation play-off. Highlights.
Despite declaring themselves 2018/19 champions the highest St Johnstone can finish is 7th, which they look good value to do, with a one point lead over Motherwell. Livingston will be delighted to have finished in (at least) 9th, and there are hardly many better ways to wind in the season than watching your captain, cente-back Craig Halkett, scoring from a good 35 yards. It could well have been goal of the season had the votes not already been counted, and the award given to Alfredo Morelos (George Oakley was robbed!) Losing the defensive duo of Halkett and Gallagher, combined with the serious interest that goalkeeper Liam Kelly will have gathered over the course of the season, will mean Livingston have it all to do next year - for now, they’ve been a breath of fresh air. Highlights. So the two relative post-split certainties - Dundee being relegated and Celtic being crowned champions - have been confirmed, but the race for the final European place (or places should Celtic win the cup) is very much on. St Mirren vs Accies next Monday is crucial in the battle to avoid the play-off, a draw will do for Hamilton.
The Championship has been absolutely thrilling this season, with 6 of the 10 teams being involved in the relegation scrap until the final weeks. Falkirk began this season with an illegal approach-n-poach of Greenock Morton manager-of-two-weeks Ray McKinnon, under the mistaken belief that he would be the man to propel them towards the Premiership. Naturally, Greenock Morton, Morton fans, and the local newspaper were none too pleased, and the saga culminated not only with Falkirk being fined £60,000, but also with them being relegated on the final day. They needed to win and make up a goal difference of 3 hosting champions Ross County, whilst hoping Alloa lost to Premiership play-off contenders Ayr United. Alloa’s result was enough to secure their place in the Championship for another season - a real testament to the work Jim Goodwin has done, and doom Falkirk, whose season has been nothing short of a total disaster. Morton have managed to finish one place shy of the Premiership play-offs, coming out on top in the relegation battle despite reviled manager Jonatan Johansson, and him randomly leaving the club just hours before kick-off on the final day. Anyway, lest we lose sight of what’s important - let’s join together for a Championship tradition, and cue the Wagner. Meanwhile, Partick Thistle have spent much of this season staring a double-relegation in the face, and a hopeless start under new manager Gary Caldwell made it look fairly certain that the Jags would be, at best, in the relegation play-off come the end of the season. Yet, with a [desperate roll of the dice / sudden burst of inspiration] (delete as you see fit), despite relegation still being a distinct possibility, Caldwell suggested for the final day that the players pick the team for the last match. Somehow, this worked out, and confined opponents Queen of the South to the relegation play-offs, but you have to admit it would have been hilarious if they’d been pumped and suffered that fate instead. Ross County are your champions and the first team to be promoted to next season’s Premiership. Dundee United will play the winner of Ayr United and Inverness Caley Thistle’s play-off semi-final, for a chance to beat either Hamilton or St Mirren, and go up with County.
Of course the match that I billed last week as an all-or-nothing, loser-goes-down tie ended up in a draw. All Stenhousemuir had to do to dodge automatic relegation was avoid defeat, with Brechin needing the win. Brechin’s task looked insurmountable after Mr Goals Mark McGuigan put Stenny ahead, but an early second half goal from Andrew Jackson, and Connor McBrearty being sent-off for the visitors 5 minutes later meant the win was within the City’s reach. They had no luck in finding that crucial second goal, though, so after their infamous winless 2017-18 season, Brechin City suffer a second successive relegation. Stenhousemuir enter the play-offs, and will contest semi-finals with League Two’s 4th-placed Annan Athletic, before facing the winner of Edinburgh City v Clyde for a place in League One next season. Arbroath (and prodigal sonSmokie Joe!) finish the season as Champions, with Forfar, Raith Rovers and Montrose contesting the Championship play-offs with Queen of the South.
Peterhead have had the championship all but secured for what seems like weeks, but somehow haven’t managed to get it over the line until the final day - presumably so that they could lift the title at the national stadium - which so happens to be the home of Queen’s Park. As it happens, the result here was inconsequential, as the Clyde team that had taken Peterhead all the way, despite being given a 0-3 loss to Albion Rovers due to fielding an ineligible player, lost their final match against Cowdenbeath. Edinburgh City, the only team to be promoted from the Lowland League since the introduction of the SPFL, have hit a terrible run at the worst time, taking only 6 points from a possible 24 to see out the season. They’ll contest the play-offs with Clyde, Annan, and Stenhousemuir for a chance to play in League Two next season. Berwick Rangers have not scored since somehow beating Peterhead back in March, conceding 22 goals since then. They will have to beat Highland League champions Cove Rangers over a two-legged play-off to remain in the SPFL, with Cove chasing promotion after seeing off Lowland League champions East Kilbride in a 5-1 aggregate win.
The Scottish Premiership returns next week, but the play-offs have begun TONIGHT. In the Championship, the first leg of Ayr United v Inverness kicks-off; Montrose take on Queen of the South and Raith Rovers and Forfar face-off in the League One play-offs; and Annan play Stenhousemuir as Edinburgh City face Clyde in the battle for the last remaining League One spot. See you next Tuesday! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here ● data from soccerway.com ● thanks mods for fixing2soccer2bot
Celtic and Scottish Football as a whole mourned the passing of the legendary Billy McNeill this week. Celtic’s greatest ever captain, in 1967 he became the first Brit to lift the European Cup. How fitting it should be then, that with 67 minutes on the clock, Jozo Simunovic, a man who inherited McNeill’s #5 shirt, should rise the highest in the box to head home the winning goal - a goal that could well have won Celtic the title, should Rangers slip up at home to Aberdeen. More sad news today that another Lisbon Lion, Stevie Chalmers, the man who scored the winning goal on that occasion, has also passed away. I imagine there will be another 67-second applause in his honour, either at Pittodrie or the final match at Celtic Park. Rest in peace. Highlights.
Rangers did not slip up at home to Aberdeen. When not flogging his ‘natural alkaline water’ on instagram, Steven Gerrard spent the build-up to this match getting inside the head of Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, suggesting that Aberdeen ‘try harder’ against Rangers than other teams - the kind of complaint you might have had as a child when your Dad wouldn’t let you win at Pro Evo 5, but still lost to your older brother. McInnes responded saying Rangers “shouldn’t flatter themselves”, before adding the somewhat confusing “Aberdeen raise their game every game” - which raised a few eyebrows if nothing else. With that in mind, you can imagine that his team talk must have been something along the lines of ‘go out there and prove them wrong’, which Aberdeen set about doing in emphatic style. In the absence of captain Graeme Shinnie, and with winger Connor McLennan departing after 10 minutes, also with injury, Aberdeen provided little to no competition for Rangers. Joe Lewis singlehandedly kept the visitors in the game with a series of great saves, and had a complaint after Jermain Defoe escaped punishment after connecting with his arm in a challenge on him. Had Defoe been booked or sent-off it would likely not have had any bearing on the final result. Lewis Ferguson was penalised and Andy Considine’s hand brought down Nikola Katic as James Tavernier tucked home his 13th and 14th penalties of the season in the second half, securing the result for Rangers. Considine has just agreed to a two year contract extension, meaning he will stay at Aberdeen for at least an 18th season. What better way to celebrate than by conceding a penalty and getting sent off in the process? Saying that, Andy has always had a knack for marking an occasion - see this video from his stag do for proof. In other news, after producing this season’s extremely staunch Orange third kit, Hummel unveiled that Rangers’ home kit for next season would include a line from ‘popular fan song’ Follow Follow. Have to presume it’s not any of the lines mentioning the Derry walls or the Vatican City. This win secures at least 2nd place for Rangers, the first time they have managed that since returning to the top flight, and the first time Aberdeen have not finished 2nd in five years. Whether this is an endorsement of Gerrard’s ability as a manager, or if the surrounding teams have just not been up to scratch remains to be seen. Highlights.
The final Edinburgh derby of the season was as dramatic and tightly contested as ever. Hearts have unreliable at best this season, but their centre-back pairing of John Souttar and Christoph Berra has been dependable when both have been available. They drew plenty of attention to each other yesterday, however, with Rangers-linked Souttar having the shakiest performance of his career, and Berra opening the scoring at the wrong end with only 20 minutes left to play. The eventual hero of the game was another of Hearts’ units. Having earlier conceded a penalty that Mark McNulty couldn’t convert, Uche Ikpeazu levelled things with 6 minutes left to play. Almost won the game with an overhead kick in the final moments - presumably seconds before plummeting through the ground and into the Earth’s core. Whilst Hibs were calling out their own fans on social media, manager Paul Heckingbottom used his post-match interview to call out the 4th official for swearing at him, saying that he “would have knocked his teeth out if it had been anywhere else”. He does have the name of a cartoon character that would be particularly offended by that sort of behaviour. Highlights.
I think this is the game of the season so far, and is probably the game that relegates Dundee. Despite Steven Gerrard asserting he would never talk about another team’s player, he confirmed in the same sentence that Motherwell’s Jake Hastie would be a Rangers player next season. As such he was officially removed from the ‘Hastie Turnbull and Campbell’ chant that has rung round Fir Park for a full half-season. David Turnbull, on the other hand, has the potential to be a legendary figure at Motherwell. An absolute revelation in centre-mid, the 19 year old should command a fee that will clear the club’s debt when he eventually leaves, and if this season is anything to go off he could very well make the step-up to the highest echelons of the game. I don’t think many Motherwell fans would disagree that his emergence was the turning point in what looked to be a very grim season. He levelled the scores within a minute of Martin Woods’ spot-kick. 10 minutes later, Dundee again failed to hold on to a lead for 2 minutes, with James Scott (the man who no-doubt inspired yesterday’s Leeds United antics) scoring his first senior goal to cancel out Ethan Robson’s goal. 5 minutes after half-time, Motherwell go ahead, and this time Dundee equalise within two minutes - Nathan Ralph scoring just after Gboly Ariyibi. Then Motherwell are reduced to 10 after Alex Rodriguez Gorrin gets a second yellow, Dundee hit the post, and Motherwell are awarded a penalty that the referee then reverses. 6 minutes of added time are played - and in the final moments of the game Turnbull smacks a shot against the bar, before turning in the rebound. Insanity! Highlights.
As if Dundee’s result could get any more cruel, despite going a goal down to Chris Kane with just 10 minutes left to play, Danny Mullen hammered home with a world-class volley to put St Mirren 7 points clear of Dundee with just 3 games left to play. Highlights.
If ever a set of fixtures were to be an advert for the ‘split’ league formula, you would be hard pressed to do better than this weekend’s viewing - the bottom 6 providing 15 of the weekend’s 20 goals as relegation still looms over the bottom 3. This game became a bit of an Aldi version of the Dundee game happening just down the road, with Hamilton going into half-time 1-0 up thanks to George Oakley, before an explosive second half featuring goals from Dougie Imrie, Steve Lawson and a brace from Scott Pittman that looked to seal the win for Livi. Step up Aaron McGowan, whose 90th minute equaliser ensures that two points remain between Hamilton and the relegation play-off place. Highlights. No change at all in the table, but Dundee are almost certainly down. Astonishingly, Rangers are still in the title race - if they win next weekend and Celtic lose away to Aberdeen then Celtic have the chance to win the title at Ibrox.
I would be remiss if I didn’t use this space to advertise next week’s clash between Stenhousemuir and Brechin. Both sides occupy the bottom two spots in the table, and are separated by only one point. The loser of this one goes down.
With this, Rovers complete a relegation escape that felt like it had everything but Berwick’s form going against them. Berwick Rangers will have to beat the winner of the Highland/Lowland League play-off to stay in the SPFL. That will be either Cove Rangers or East Kilbride. As of this weekend, Cove have a 1-2 aggregate lead. As for the title race, Peterhead are making a right arse of it. Thanks to another 1-1 draw, this time at the hands of Stirling Albion, a Clyde win on the final day would mean they still need at least a point away at Hampden against Queen’s Park. Potential for some fantastic end-of-season drama. Next week the Championship, League One, and League Two conclude, and there’s plenty more action in the Premiership. Hope to see you then! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here ● data from soccerway.com ● thanks mods for 2soccer2botbut it honestly never works for me
The Scottish Premiership returned after a week off for its second phase, with teams from the top and bottom halves competing amongst themselves to secure European football - or avoid relegation. Before that, there was the small matter of the Scottish Cup semi-finals to attend to, and of course action continued as per usual in the lower divisions. All the results from the Premiership rounded up below, as well as all the key moments, results, and (most importantly) patter from the wonderful world of Scottish football.
Hearts were the team who had to win this tie if they wanted to escape this season with any credibility, but it was Inverness’ local rivals Ross County who brought shame upon Highland football as a whole, tweeting a message of good luck to Caley Thistle, a move which has since been described as ‘tinpot’ and ‘a riddy’. For the first half, it wasn’t clear which of these teams were meant to be the Premiership side, but Hearts were quick to take control in the second half as Uche Ikpeazu was fastest to react to former ICT man Jake Mulraney’s deflected effort. Inverness responded well, but John Souttar was next to score, heading in a corner, before Sean Clare added the third from the penalty spot, sparing any blushes for Craig Levein. Of course, saying that implies Craig Levein has any shame, which is hardly a claim I’m very comfortable making. Full highlights.
After picking up a suspension for a second yellow card in 5 games, captain Graeme Shinnie was unavailable for an Aberdeen side who did, for a moment, genuinely believe that they could stop Celtic from achieving a ‘treble-treble’. Shinnie has been known to get through the workrate of two players, and whilst that presence was missed, Aberdeen definitely looked like they had an extra man when a ballboy cushioned a loose ball and passed back to Joe Lewis when it was still in play. Must have been an extremely embarrassing moment for the wee kid, but at least the referee, commentators, and cameramen didn’t make a big deal out of it, or anything like that. The reality of this match is that the Celtic team that have looked lacklustre at best under Neil Lennon completely dominated this match from the start. Centre-back Jozo Simunovic even started raking forward fairly often, and was unlucky to finish the match without a goal. Aberdeen went from 12 to 10 men within the space of a few minutes, as former loanee Ryan Christie came off much, much worse in a clash of heads with Dominic Ball, for which the latter rightfully received his second booking. In a mirror of the League Cup final, Celtic took the lead two minutes into extensive injury time. This time James Forrest opened the scoring, with an absolute beauty that left Joe Lewis no chance. Aberdeen went on to capitulate completely in the second half. Odsonne Edouard doubled Celtic’s lead from the penalty spot after another former Aberdeen player, Johnny Hayes, went down in the box. Then, Lewis ‘very mature for 19’ Ferguson petulantly two-footed Tom Rogic, and Aberdeen were down to 9. Rogic rifled home Celtic’s third in the immediate aftermath, but Aberdeen were not done making fannies of themselves yet, as manager Derek McInnes joined assistant manager Tony Docherty in being sent to the stands. It later emerged that McInnes’ behaviour was in retaliation to being called a ‘sad orange bastard’ by the Glaswegian support, which could either be sectarian abuse or an uncalled-for dig at his spray tan depending on how you look at it. Celtic were quick to condemn the chanting, before immediately adding “but what about-” A comprehensive performance from Celtic - or as Alex Rae put it “a gold star in Neil’s feather” - means it’s Lennon v Levein in the Scottish Cup final. There will be shithousery. Full highlights.
If you were excited by the prospect of a high-profile return on Sunday, you may be a Scottish football commentator, as Neil Lennon arrived at the excruciatingly aptly named Easter Road to take on his former team. The talk of the town was a different Israelite to the one you might expect, as Ofir Marciano put in a goalkeeping masterclass (that was probably problematic in some way, I’m sorry). Hibs fans will have been cautious of the threat of Celtic ending an unbeaten league record under Paul Heckingbottom, but will have been more cautious of the giant sniffer dogs patrolling the stadium. Hibs had their fair share of chances, but in the dying embers of the game Celtic went closest, as Marciano did brilliantly to keep out Edouard then Simunovic in added time. Highlights.
With Kilmarnock having last weekend off, their social media team might have hoped for some quiet time in the run-up to this match - a chance to kick-back, relax, and enjoy the nice weather we’ve been having. Unfortunately for them, one of the other top 6 clubs with last weekend off had just found out their ticket allocation for the final game of the season had been halved to accommodate Killie’s 150-year anniversary celebrations. Some members of their fanbase didn’t take it hugely well. Former Kilmarnock hero and Rangers player Gordon Smith (who was once Chief Executive of the SFA) even suggested that Rangers may refuse to play at Rugby Park in the future. I’ll say it again, he was once Chief Executive of the Scottish Football Association. Also busy on the Kilmarnock social media scene was Rangers player-to-be Jordan Jones, who set about putting Jai Quitongo in his place. I can imagine deep down he is equally as furious about the final day allocation as all the fans in the above tweet. Anyway, in the aftermath of all that there was a game of football to be played, and quite an eventful one at that. Whilst both sides could have had players sent-off in the first half, Kilmarnock went into the break a man down, with former Rangers man Kirk Broadfoot sliding feet-first into Joe Lewis’ face. Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove might have been sent-off, as he was a bit of a bull in a china shop, but he luckily escaped a second yellow, and was substituted at half-time. After Scott McKenna headed home what would prove to be the decisive goal, Kilmarnock lost the head just as emphatically as their visitors had a week prior. Stuart Findlay was sent-off for a second bookable offence, before Killie went down to 8 thanks to an off-the-ball incident featuring Rory McKenzie. You might have predicted Steve Clarke to have a bit of a meltdown following on from this - and he did! Dubbing it “the worst refereeing performance I’ve ever seen in my career” and going on to say “[referee] Steven [McLean] has always seemed to struggle with Kilmarnock games. Maybe, or definitely, that's because his father was a player here for so many years” and suggesting that McLean should not be allowed to referee Kilmarnock matches anymore. To rub salt in the wounds, this result sees Aberdeen leapfrog Killie into 3rd place. Highlights.
I think I’ve blown all my Rangers ‘material’ talking about Kilmarnock. Champagne on ice for Celtic as Rangers haven’t missed a beat without Ryan Kent or Alfredo Morelos. In particular, Jermaine Defoe is showing glimpses of the player who was promised to dominate our diddy league. He opened the scoring with a smart finish past Bobby Zlamal, and 20 minutes later Ryan Jack doubled the lead. Nikola Katic making it 3-0 prompted many Hearts fans to leave. The fans that stayed saw the other Steven McLean of Scottish football - Steven MacLean - pull one back, before directing what can best be described as a ‘GIRFUY’ gesture towards them. He later clarified it was directed specifically towards his Dad, or in his words, his harshest critic. Highlights.
Especially in the context of the other results from this half of the table, this is a massive win for St Mirren. Oran Kearney’s work looks to be taking hold at the most crucial stage of the season, and the distance between themselves and bottom placed Dundee looks unassailable now. Their visit to a ground that has been notoriously hard to win at was given a huge boost when Hearts-bound Livingston captain Craig Halkett was sent off just 17 minutes in for a foul denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. However, Livi responded to going down to 10 by opening the scoring just 3 minutes later thanks to some composed build-up play finished off by Scott Robinson. Now St Mirren desperately needed to respond, and they did so 10 minutes later with a goal almost identical to the one they had just conceded, this time rounded off by Paul McGinn. With 12 minutes to go, Danny Mullen scored superbly from the edge of the area, and that lead was doubled two minutes later by Simeon Jackson after a rare Liam Kelly cock-up. Brilliant performance from a team who looked totally out of their depth a month or so ago. Highlights.
With the St Mirren result in mind, I’d say Dundee are now a certainty to go down in last place. If I’m not mistaken they’ve managed just 3 wins in Jim McIntyre’s tenure, and he shares the opinion that they’ll need 4 wins in their last 4 to have any chance of staying up. To do that will involve stopping a run of 8 straight defeats. There was nothing that could be done to stop Scott Tanser’s second-half free-kick, and Callum Hendry doubled the lead. It is hard to imagine that things could be worse for Dundee, but their goal difference after this match certainly could have been. In the 90th minute the St Johnstone twitter admin asked the question “Can Dundee score against us this season?” responding 3 minutes later with “No. No they can’t.” That’s now 12 points that Saints have taken from Dundee this campaign. Highlights.
TROPHY WATCH: All but confirmed, Ross County have a 9 point lead over Dundee United with 3 games to play, and a 20-goal superior GD. Would be some capitulation, that. Confirmed at least second place, Dundee United should face one of Inverness or Ayr United for a spot in the promotion play-off.
The final set of fixtures before the league splits in two, and whilst Celtic have one hand on the title, European football and relegation both remain on the cards for multiple teams. As always, plenty of goals, drama, and all the weird happenings that make Scottish football great rounded-up below; and a look at some of the highlights from the last month in the second, third and fourth divisions.
In recent seasons it seems more and more as if elements of each support have been criticised for attempting to reproduce some of the sectarian drama found more commonly in the west of Scotland, with Hearts fans drawing from their Protestant roots clashing with the more Catholic Hibs support. Why? I don’t know. What is clear is that some fans don’t really know where they stand on the issue. The joy of Scottish football is that as much as it is lambasted as predictable and pointless, it continues to surprise me every single week. On account of their miserable form in comparison to Hibs, I was surprised when Hearts went ahead through Peter Haring. I was even more surprised that it only took Hibs 3 minutes to find an equaliser. What I was most surprised by was that, in a week where Celtic fans threw a firecracker, someone managed not only to smuggle a coconut into Tynecastle Park, but managed to throw it onto the pitch - all without being caught! (Yes, I know, “it was bounty happen eventually.”) Horgan was at the double, finishing off a smart break by Hibs with an emphatic finish, and giving Hibs a first win at Tynecastle in over 5 years - leapfrogging Hearts in table in the process. Despite his miserable style and Hearts’ total capitulation throughout this season, Craig Levein has insisted that he doesn’t know where speculation about his job is coming from stating “people say I’m moving to Spain, I don’t even like Spain”. Cheers Craig. Highlights
Dundee spent much of this season counting on St Mirren to keep them afloat, and it looks like they are going to pay dearly for that, as at this crucial point of the season, St Mirren have managed to grab some points, whilst the Dee have slipped to a 6th defeat in a row here. Callum Hendry’s very neat finish on his first Saints start made it 1-0, and after Matty Kennedy doubled the advantage Dundee lost any momentum. Highlights
This is the first league win at Pittodrie for Aberdeen in 2019, ending a miserable run that has seen last seasons ‘bullies’ drop points at home to all 3 of the bottom 4 that they’ve played in that time, as well as being held in the Scottish Cup by League One Stenhousemuir. Max Lowe opened the scoring with a cross that somehow ended up in the top corner, before Jake Hastie rounded Joe Lewis to give the home support an all-too-familiar feeling. Fortunately for those fans, Niall McGinn found his shooting boots, and his second-half brace, featuring a beautiful curled effort, secured the 3 points for Aberdeen. Highlights
This is the result which confirms Livingston’s safety in the Scottish Premiership, although that doesn’t seem to have been in doubt for much of the season. Livi have put in plenty of formidable performances at the Tony Macaroni Arena, and have boasted a strong defence under the guidance of a Gary Holt who was given no pre-season. If there was an individual ‘Team of the Season’ award, Livingston would be worthy recipients. Ryan Hardie grabbed the first goal almost immediately after the start of the second half, and the lead was doubled by prolific centre-back Craig Halkett. With Hardie returning to Rangers at the end of the year, captain Halkett joining Hearts on a pre-contract, and it being all but confirmed that Declan Gallagher (who had a goal disallowed) will be a Motherwell player next year, Livingston are losing the core of their team, and will have to defy the odds yet again to stay up next season. Despite being the masters of defying the odds, Hamilton are still vulnerable to relegation this season. They’ll need wins post-split, particularly against St Mirren or Dundee, just to make sure they’re in no danger of going down. I can certainly see any team from the top half of the Championship challenging them in the play-offs. Highlights
St Mirren came out with a point last time they hosted Celtic, in what was their first match under Oran Kearney. That was enough for me to predict they’d be safe come this point of the season, but they did then go on a horrendous run of defeats and have been in trouble ever since. Will be a very decent effort if they stay up. They’re not the only ones in hot water though, it feels like the spotlight has been aimed at Celtic, and Scott Brown in particular, ever since a certain game the other weekend. There has been a lot of criticism aimed towards the Celtic captain, but I think Dean Windass summed it up when he said “Watching sky Scott brown what is going on in our game never been a bloke look in the mirror when you wake up to your children”. Not a vintage performance from either team by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it took until the 85th minute for Ryan Christie to add to Timo Weah’s early goal, with Olivier Ntcham having a penalty saved. Highlights
You get the feeling that if Hearts’ director of football wasn’t Craig Levein himself, that director of football would be considering replacing Craig Levein with a different manager. Ryan Kent was available on account of Rangers appealing the ban for his alleged punch on Scott Brown, but Alfredo Morelos served the first game of his suspension. Rangers seemed to manage fine without their main goalscorer, as Jermain Defoe stepped in and performed admirably, volleying home the first, before Connor Goldson added a second and Defoe’s saved shot was rebounded in by Scott Arfield. Highlights
The fallout surrounding last weekend’s Old Firm culminated with Scott Brown being cited by the SFA for “not acting in the best interests of Association Football”, the kind of citation that could only come out of a Rangers game. Celtic haven’t really got going under Neil Lennon, and some fans will probably take comfort that whilst they could have won the title this weekend, a result like this probably distances Lennon from being appointed full-time. A Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen is next weekend’s fixture, a game Lennon will have to win if he even wants to be considered. Livi have picked up a first ever point at Celtic Park here, just another cherry on the top of a brilliant season. Liam Kelly warrants his Scotland call-up for this performance alone. Highlights
We’re living dangerously close to a world where Sam Cosgrove finishes as the Premiership’s top scorer; although, in a season where Teemo Pukki is the English Championship’s Player of the Year, and Jayden Stockley was top scorer in English football, anything is possible. Cosgrove was at the double to confine Dundee’s misery in the second half, firstly from the penalty spot, and secondly with a cool finish after a brilliant bit of work from Connor McLennan. Aberdeen will be feeling up for next weekend’s semi-final, Dundee will need to use the weekend off to get their act together if they want any chance of staying up. Highlights
In what feels like the blink of an eye, Kilmarnock have turned 8 games without a win into 6 games unbeaten. Steve Clarke has now given Kilmarnock only their second ever top-flight finish with greater than 58 points, a feat Killie accomplished for the first time last year, under Steve Clarke. Someone really ought to inform the SFA. St Johnstone may have little to play for, but thanks to Chris Kane’s own goal and Kris Boyd’s penalty, Killie are still in with a very decent chance of European football. Normally this is a prospect that would excite managers and fans alike, although Steve Clarke has only said “It would probably mean a slightly earlier start to pre-season and probably a financial loss” in the same breath as describing the schedule of the next 5 games as “one of the vagaries of the Scottish amateur league, sorry the Scottish football league”. What a call-to-arms that is. Highlights
Both teams will have gone into this match desperate for a win, but even more desperate to avoid a loss. All the goals in this high-stakes encounter occurred over the space of 3 minutes, with Steve Davies putting Accies ahead, before Brighton loanee Anders Dreyer went down easily in the Hamilton box, and converting the subsequent penalty to put the Buddies level. However, there was drama right at the end, with both sides coming within inches of a winner in the final minutes. Duckens ‘quite like a shite Alfredo Morelos’ Nazon will miss the next two crucial games for St Mirren after being slapped with a violent conduct charge following his elbow on Kristoffer Ajer on Wednesday. Highlights
As you read about this game you might wonder just how Scott Arfield has managed to score a hattrick. I would invite you to look no further than Motherwell’s defenders, who were abysmal. Also to thank is Jermain Defoe, who played his strongest game in a Rangers shirt, unselfishly turning provider for two of Arfield’s 3 goals. Unfortunately James Tavernier found himself a target on the touchline yet again, as Motherwell fans chucked lighters at him when he went to take a throw-in. This incident and the one from the Edinburgh derby arguably highlights some of the cultural differences between Leith and Lanarkshire these days. Highlights The title race is alive in name only, but the battle for the final European places, and between the three relegation threatened teams is hotting up nicely!
Championship Round Relegation Round If you’re unfamiliar with the Scottish league system, after this point in the season, the league splits in two. The top 6 will play each other again, as will the bottom 6. No top-6 team can now finish lower than 6th, and no bottom-6 team can finish higher than 7th. The 12th-placed team will be automatically relegated, and the 11th-placed team will face the winner of the Championship play-offs in a two tie promotion/relegation match.
BEST OF THE REST
Last week’s post was an absolute behemoth, so I didn’t have room to include some of my personal highlights of the last month in the lower divisions:
I took a month-long break from writing these every week, but after the events of this weekend I’ve realised I just can’t stay away from the global entertainment phenomenon that is Scottish football. As well as being extremely busy, part of the motivation behind this hiatus of mine was the nonsense that followed Brendan Rodgers’ departure from Celtic to Leicester City, despite him saying that he didn’t see it as a stepping stone, and that it was his dream job. Whilst according to the average /soccer user, this cemented the Scottish Premiership’s status as a diddy league unworthy of following, it DID provide an opportunity to examine Celtic’s support’s journey through the 5 stages of grief. First there was denial, then anger, before depression, bargaining, and finally acceptance that Moussa Dembélé was right all along. Elsewhere, it’s brown trousers time for fans of Hamilton, Dundee, and St Mirren; and the race for a top 6 place - and a chance at European football - is going to go down to the wire. A timeline of all of the patter in the SPFL, and results from the last month in the Scottish Premiership ‘reported’ below, taking a more detailed look at this weekend’s fixtures, and results from the Scottish Cup, the Challenge Cup final, and the national team’s Euro 2020 qualifying games (as much as it pains me to do so). I’m not going to go into copious detail with every result, because there’s a good 30-something games to discuss, but there will be at least highlights of every game, just a click away.
Without meaning for this to turn into a Scottish Football Fan Trouble Roundup, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a bottle of Buckfast, or Bucks Fizz if you’re the Mail, was thrown at Scott Sinclair whilst it was 0-0, in the first of two incidents of bampot behaviour at Easter Road within the next week. Not sure it quite had the desired effect, mind, as shortly after two belters from James Forrest and Scott Brown did the business for Celtic. Full highlights with commentary.
Brilliant late drama as wee Aaron Doran headed in a goal in stoppage time to book Caley Thistle’s place in the semi-final, in a game which they dominated. After beautiful goal from Joe Chalmers put ICT ahead, United were equal through a contentious penalty converted by Nicky Clarke. Inverness had the ball in the net again before the winner, but Nathan Austin had been ruled offside. Overall, ICT worthy winners. Full highlights.
A hilarious performance from Hearts on account of how predictable it was; totally dominant with no end product beyond Christophe Berra’s 12th-minute opener, which was cancelled out by Christie Elliot on the counter attack an hour later. Uche Ikpeazu almost scored one of the competition’s greatest ever goals before half-time, and if he had, that most likely would have been it for Partick. However, they managed to force the replay, along with Aberdeen and Rangers, although neither game could be broadcast, because UEFA want you to watch the Champions League. Full highlights with commentary.
Rangers fans retaliated to the Morelos banner they saw at Pittodrie by coming up with a Spanish banner of their own, reading “de asientos vacios a ovejas que abusan sexualmente Aberdeen FC”, or in English: “of empty seats for sheep who sexually abuse Aberdeen FC”. With the spotlight on fan behaviour as much as ever before, weeks of incidents were capped off by a moronic Hibs fan running onto the pitch trying to start on James Tavernier, before shiteing it as soon as Tavernier stood up against him. Rangers totally dominated, and Hibs could have been down to 10 men within as many minutes if Darren McGregor had been sent off for his elbow on Morelos. Morelos couldn’t take his chances, and Rangers couldn’t take their chance to close the gap on Celtic, with Florian Kamberi equalising with 75 minutes played. Darren McGregor was eventually sent-off after all, for a second yellow in stoppage time. Highlights.
Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna may have been linked with Celtic in the summer, but before this game he announced he’d signed a deal with Trump International instead. A bold choice when you consider how popular Trump is in Aberdeen (not very) and also the world (not very). This fixture is normally a bit of a goal-fest, with the last match between the two sides being a 3-4 Celtic win, but I put a bet on both teams to score, so it’s the first goalless draw since 1994. Highlights.
The two previous Lanarkshire derbies have been fiercely competitive, with Hamilton victorious when visiting Fir Park, and Motherwell taking the 3 points from the Hope CBD. This game, however, was all but over in 10 minutes, with a David Turnbull brace putting daylight between the two teams, before Jake Hastie finished Accies off 25 minutes later. Highlights.
Shortly after Hearts meandered to a 1-1 draw with Thistle in the original fixture, their reserve team pumped Thistle’s 9-1, as if to rub salt into the wound. Hearts went behind to a tap-in from Scott McDonald, but goals from Uche Ikpeazu and Sean Clare were the difference in the end. Highlights.
Sad news for Scottish football, after it was revealed that the Hope CBD Stadium, so-called after a cannabis oil company purchased the naming rights to New Douglas Park, would be renamed after just 6 months to the even more eccentric “Fountain of Youth Stadium”. This all comes after they were randomly disrespected by Lord Sugar on Twitter. Tough times to be an Accies fan for sure. All of this was not enough to prevent Accies from getting one over Hearts, though, with Aaron McGowan’s goal the difference between the two sides. This result also validates the first words in four months from 22 year old stroke victim Darren Thompson - “Hearts are shite.” Highlights.
Before this match Rangers fans took to the offices of BBC Scotland in protest (I’m assuming?) against the unfair treatment they get on Sportscene. Kilmarnock went ahead through Conor McAleny, who replaced an injured Eamonn Brophy, but Alfredo Morelos was able to equalise. Neither side will be entirely content with a draw, I feel. Highlights.
After a player of the round performance from Ross Stewart gave us the most Scottish photoshoot ever - without featuring a kilt or bagpipes - and helped Ross County into the Challenge Cup final, the country of Scotland could put their international misery behind them for a day to watch a Welsh team almost win the final of a Scottish cup competition. The Nomads went ahead thanks to Michael Bakare 20 minutes in; it took until the 75th minute for County to turn it around. A quickfire double from Josh Mullin gave the Staggies the lead, before Jamie Lindsay secured what may not be Ross County’s last silverware of the season - they look likely to return to the Premiership as Champions. Highlights.
Where were you when Scotland went 70 minutes without scoring in San Marino? Would you like to experience it all over again? From Kenny McLean’s 4th minute opener, Johnny Russell’s almost-disappointing second goal, and that one moment where they got round the keeper and we actually thought they might score - relive it all here! Finally, we continue with some action that actually happened this week.
In the context of the whole season this doesn’t look like a bad result at all, but St Mirren will feel this is an awful point or three to drop. The Buddies had the chance to go a goal ahead, but Simeon Jackson opted to try a weird panenka along the ground from his spot-kick, which Zander Clark had no trouble with. I mean it’s not as if it could all come down to one goal or one point for St Mirren at the end of the season, anyway. Shortly after, Chris Kane put St Johnstone ahead by pouncing on a defensive error. Had Jackson’s penalty gone in, and the score remained the same, St Mirren would have been off the bottom before their must-win match against Dundee. They’ll be without Ethan Erhahon for that match after he was given a straight red for a poor tackle late in the match. Architects of their own downfall in this match, St Mirren. Highlights.
Livingston won’t have any worries of relegation, which is a miracle in itself considering how poor value they looked at the very beginning of the season. Meanwhile Hibs will have known that they could easily fall out of the top 6 with any missteps at this crucial point in the season. Craig Halkett missed this match through an injury sustained prior to the game, and it was announced today he’d be leaving Livingston for Hearts at the end of the season - with this I reckon he’ll make the Scotland squad for the next series of international games. In the end, goals from Paul Hanlon and Mark McNulty killed the game off in the space of 5 minutes, and Ryan Hardie’s late penalty was only a consolation for Livingston. Highlights.
St Mirren may have been their own worst enemy in the middle of the week, but what a performance and result this is for them - and one which could well be fatal for Dundee. Dundee went ahead after just 22 seconds through Ethan Robson, which could easily have destroyed any hopes St Mirren had of taking something out of the game, but Danny Mullen scored his third goal of the season - his third against Dundee - to reignite the Buddies’ hopes just 11 minutes later. The winning goal came courtesy of speccy tube Brad Lyons, affording him the opportunity to premiere his speccy tube celebration in Saturday’s best exhibition of patter. St Mirren leapfrog Dundee, and are looking much more likely to increase that gap at the moment than Dundee are to close it. Highlights.
This result confirms St Johnstone’s bottom 6 placement, and keeps Motherwell’s alive by a sliver. Chris Cadden returning to the Motherwell bench will be a cause for optimism, and Motherwell looked improved when he came on, with Elliot Frear’s opener occurring 6 minutes after his substitution into the game, and David Turnbull doubling the lead 10 minutes later. Liam Craig had an early penalty saved for St Johnstone, and Richard Tait added a third to complete Saints’ capitulation in stoppage time. Highlights.
Aberdeen remained without Shay Logan through injury, although he did pull on a kit for his stag do. They went ahead thanks to Connor McLennan in the first half, but came out after the interval with apparently very little idea of how to play football. Sean Clare and Uche Ikpeazu got on the scoresheet to complete the Hearts comeback. How it feels to be an Aberdeen fan right now can be summarised by Derek McInnes’ decision in the 86th minute to bring on centre-back Michael Devlin for our only dangerous attacker, Connor McLennan, in a Steven Caulker-esque move. I despair. Highlights.
One of the most notable differences between Brian Rice’s Accies and his predecessor Martin Canning’s side is that Rice has set up much less defensively. As such, his side have been on the end of some right pumpings. Highly-rated left-back prospect Greg Taylor scored his first ever goal for Kilmarnock, before a second half rout saw four other players on the scoresheet - Conor McAleny, Youssouf Mulumbu, Chris Burke, and Mikael Ndjoli. This result means that Kilmarnock overtake Aberdeen into third, and will look to hold on to this European place. The job Steve Clarke has done is pretty incredible. Hamilton will be looking cautiously at St Mirren and Dundee beneath them. Highlights.
You already know how this one went down. One man whose name shot up in the estimations of 95% of /soccer yesterday is a certain Scott Brown. The events of this match almost entirely revolved around him. After Odsonne Édouard opened the scoring, the first notable incident involving Brown was the Celtic captain baiting Alfredo Morelos into elbowing him in the face, and laughing at him as he walked off back down the tunnel. Ryan Kent levelled magically for Rangers, and Celtic too went down to 10 men after Dedryck Boyata went off-injured after their third sub. When James Tavernier nonchalantly enabled James Forrest’s 86th-minute winner, Brown’s gameplaying saw him get punched in the face by Ryan Kent, which seems to have made both players more of a hero to each side. Andy Halliday was then sent-off after trying to brawl in the tunnel, just before Brown gave a brilliant post-match interview where he claims not to remember what happened with Kent, and that the post-match scuffle with Halliday was just the Rangers man coming over to congratulate him. All things considered, a good day for shithousing. Highlights. So after all that, the table looks as follows:
Championship Round Relegation Round That was a lot so thanks for giving it a read. See yous next Monday for more of the same! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here ● data from soccerway.com ● thanks mods for 2soccer2botbut it’s still broken
2019.03.19 12:42 DriesMertens[OC] Which players are most involved in their team’s goals? — Visualizing % team goal involvement of players in European leagues
I wanted to investigate which players are contributing most (both scoring and assisting) to their team's goals. I generated these plots from Transfermarkt player and club data to visualize players' involvement in their team's goals. Each graph plots the players' % scoring involvement and % assisting involvement. For example, Eden Hazard has scored 13 league goals and assisted 11 league goals out of Chelsea's total 50 league goals. This makes his % goals scored 13/50 = 26% and his % goals assisted 11/50 = 22%. The closer a player is to the top right corner of the plot, the more the player is involved in their team's goals (both scoring and assisting). These are the players one might think of as "carrying" their team.
Nicolas Pépé (Lille) is putting up some ridiculous numbers — usually, one expects Lionel Messi to lead the way by some margin in plots like these, but Pépé is even outdoing him in this regard.
Gradel FC is not just a joke. Ivorian winger Max-Alain Gradel is involved in more than half of Toulouse's goals.
Cristhian Stuani's case is quite interesting. He doesn't have a single league assist to his name, but has by some distance one of the highest scoring percentages out of any player listed, clearly showing his worth to Girona.
Jony Rodríguez is a name most people (including I) would not have expected to see on these plots. He's assisted 10 of Deportivo Alavés's 31 goals this season, and leads the pack of assisters by far.
Transfermarkt is one of the few sites that includes penalty assists (i.e., a player that is fouled to win his team a penalty is credited with the assist for the penalty goal), so these plots reflect that.
I apologize for the player name labels overlapping on many of the plots. I made these plots in Matlab, and didn't have enough time to try and fix them.
Due to some complications with the code, players that transferred clubs in the winter are for the most part left out. For those that I was able to include (like Krzysztof Piątek and Mbaye Diagne), the G&A Percentages plotted are recorded for their old clubs at the time when they left their old clubs. For example, Piątek's goal percentage for Milan is unlisted, but his goal percentage for Genoa is listed as 52%, since he had scored 13 goals out of Genoa's 25 goals before he left on the 20th matchday.
Please don't read into the definition of "top" too much, I just picked the main 6 leagues that most people here follow. :)
If I have time today, I may be able to generate these plots for other leagues, so if you have any requests, please leave them in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this! Please share your thoughts below.
It’s been almost two years since he recalled a tale of being stopped in the Clyde Tunnel by a Rangers fan who wanted to thank him for being a "breath of fresh air” in Scottish Football, and Brendan Rodgers had yet another amusing anecdote to share with us - this time about how he had to hide from the Orange Walk a week after he moved to Glasgow! Oh Brendan, you certainly get up to some hijinks! As is par for the course in Scottish Football, Rodgers’ post-match press-conference mood was considerably less jovial, and his anger centred around one particular incident. With Celtic 2-0 up early in the second half thanks to goals from Scott Sinclair and Odsonne Édouard, Ryan Christie pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury. Celtic kick the ball out to make the sub, and the ball was thrown back down the pitch to the Celtic defence - you know, as is done every single time in these situations. Now, Motherwell may not have the best reputation for fair play, but this is unprecedented: 18 year old debutant James Scott decides he’s going to play on and run after it, he forces Scott Bain into a save, and the onrushing Gboly Ariyibi fires it home before Jack Hendry has even been allowed to enter the pitch, ending Celtic’s record of not conceding in 2019. The most shithouse, unsportsmanlike goal you’re likely to see this season. Everyone became absolutely incensed. Boyata, Tait and Rodriguez all get booked; Tierney starts screaming at Scott; Brendan Rodgers says in his post-match interview that Motherwell should have let Celtic score. Madness. Even Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson felt compelled to say it was wrong. It led to a pretty bad tempered game, with Celtic fans’ cheers as Carl McHugh was taken to hospital with a neck injury perhaps exemplifying that. In the closing minutes of the game Édouard scored an absolutely fantastic free-kick to put the game finally beyond Motherwell’s reach, and Oli Burke scored his 4th Celtic goal since joining on loan. Everyone with any connection to Celtic Football Club would have been absolutely apoplectic had Motherwell found a second before then. Here’s your highlights.
Firstly, I’m intrigued by Hibs’ formation, as Sportscene seemed to show it as a 4-1-3-2, which by all accounts would be quite innovative for Scottish football - I’m assuming it was similar to a wide diamond? Would genuinely appreciate some insight here. Regardless, their two strikers were in form today as Flo Kamberi did well to hold of Dundee’s Kasunga for the first goal of a very entertaining match. Paul McGowan levelled after some superb work by Scott Wright - who could easily have been sent-off later after kneeing Mark Milligan in the head - before Mark McNulty just managed to take his first touch across the line to restore Hibs’ advantage. He had a second before Stevie Mallan’s brilliantly hit shot evaded Dieng in the Dundee goal. Kenny Miller had two goals disallowed for offside, the second coming from a nice one-two with Wright, and the first after a nice delivery from a free-kick. As has seemed to be a surprising theme with this weekend’s fixtures across Europe, before Dundee could take that free-kick the Dens Park sprinklers went on. All of the above drama had the effect of totally throwing Hibs’ social media guy, who is clearly [working overtime to restore the club’s street credit]((https://twitter.com/HibernianFC/status/1098291811792105472) after Hibs became the third Scottish Premiership team to announce an Official Vaping Partner. Elsewhere on social media, Dundee’s own legend Rab Douglas was up at midnight drumming up interest in some signed auction items, notably some marigolds, a hardhat, a pack of dairylea slices and a bottle of Bucky, amongst other… uh… things. Anyway, Hibs are back in the top 6. Jolly good work, Heckingbottom! Highlights.
I’ll be making no apologies for making the entire roundup of this game about Clévid Dikamona The Hearts centre-back opened the scoring in the second half, but not before being on the wrong end of a horrendous challenge from St Mirren’s Greg Tansey for which the latter should have seen red. Dikamona seemed to agree with that sentiment, tweeting a video of the tackle with the caption “fortunately I’m still standing”, then, in an unprecedented display of ’I’m telling on you’, tagging the official Scottish Professional Football League twitter in the replies. This prompted Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn, formerly of St Mirren and Hibs (and brother to St Mirren players Paul and Stephen), to reply with the one word everyone was thinking - “Grass”. Some accused McGinn of hypocrisy, Dikamona himself replied “you're probably the kind of player who does this, knowing you're protected by a referee after”. It should be said John McGinn is currently serving a two-game suspension after picking up 10 cards. Dikamona has since deleted his tweets, which I guess means McGinn wins? 10 minutes after Dikamona opened the scoring, Hearts’ #9 Sean Clare also found the net, but at the wrong end, with an impressive header off the back of his head to beat Bobby Zlamal. The Hearts goalie then did well to keep Dikamona out, in what would have been a very funny own goal to concede given the circumstances. St Mirren are now 4 points off Hamilton, with a better goal difference. If they can turn one or two of these draws into wins, they have a real chance of staying up, which would be very impressive considering how diabolical they’ve been at points. Highlights (including some decent goalkeeping.)
There has been a lot to talk about regarding Kilmarnock this week, but most of it is pertinent to their Scottish Cup replay with Rangers, so I’ll discuss it further down this post. All I’ll say for now is that before the game against Rangers Steve Clarke had been joking about in his press conferences and after that game Killie supporters started showing up wearing Steve Clarke masks in solidarity with their manager. A third El Plastico of the season between these two teams, and the first Livingston win, with former Partick Thistle hero Chris Erskine grabbing his first goal for Livi, and in doing so giving them their first win of the year. Killie were very unlucky not to score, hitting the crossbar 3 times, but they have now gone 4 games without a goal, and their form makes for grim reading, with no wins in their last 7. Highlights.
Earlier in the week Aberdeen managed to tie promising 19-year-old Lewis Ferguson to a new contract until 2024, announced with some extremely subliminal advertising, but it was his out-of-contract-in-the-summer midfield partner Graeme Shinnie who stole the headlines in this match. After a match against St Mirren that had every Aberdeen fan growling something along the lines of “Shinnie’s heed’s no here anymore”, “give the armband to Ferguson” or “shite”, the Aberdeen captain played as if he had a point to prove. Indeed Shinniesta was on the scoresheet not once but twice, scoring in each half as Aberdeen equalled a club-record 7 away wins in a row, and extended Saints’ winless run to the same number. His first goal was a smart bit of footwork and a tidy weak-foot finish from the edge of the box, and his second was an absolute pinger. Having assisted the first, Dominic Ball won the uh, ball, with a smart tackle inside his own half, before passing to Shinnie, who ran half the pitch before driving in the second from outside the box. Saints drop to 7th, Aberdeen stay 3rd. Highlights.
If this match wasn’t completely over 25 minutes in, it certainly was by the end of the first half. Ryan Jack opened the scoring 16 minutes in, and the ball must not have been back in play for 30 seconds before Jermaine Defoe made it 2-0. Scott Arfield then hammered in the pick of the bunch as Rangers effectively put to bed the murmurs that they were overly reliant on (the suspended) Alfredo Morelos for goals. James Tavernier made it 0-4 before half-time, before a quiet second half that saw Hamilton as the next team to claim for a penalty. The Rangers fans who demanded a retrospective ban for Alan Power after he almost took Ryan Jack’s head off two weeks ago must be equally determined to see Joe Worrall brought before the compliance officer for his challenge on George Oakley. Of course this comes in the same week that Rangers legend Nacho Novo was spouting conspiracy theories about “a mafia within the SFA, in terms of they are ran by Celtic”, so I’m sure we can expect swift and brutal punishment. Rangers added a fifth very late on through Kyle Lafferty in a game where they were beyond dominant. Hamilton manager Brian Rice had set up his team in attacking 4-3-3 formation, which is probably why they got absolutely scudded in the first half. A bit more of a pragmatic approach for this game could have seen a different result, although even that seems unlikely. I reckon it’s unfair to say that this game serves as proof that Hamilton ought to be relegated ,thoughtheyreallydo . Highlights. Hibs being back into the top 6 is the only excitement this week as far as the table goes!
The Highland Derby had been the pick of the 5th round ties, with County battling to equalise twice against an Inverness side 12 points behind them in the Championship. Down the road across the Kessock Bridge it was again the home side having to answer to the away team, with Ross Stewart putting County ahead halfway through the first half. It took ICT until the second half to go level, with Jordan White’s header arriving around the same time as the Ross County equaliser 8 days prior. County, just as Inverness had done, regained the lead 10 minutes later thanks to Michael Gardyne’s very well-taken goal, but Inverness forced extra-time and penalties thanks to an 81st minute goal, again from White. The shootout saw Ross County captain Marcus Fraser try some mind-games with ICT’s Coll Donaldson, only for the latter to send the goalkeeper the wrong way before Declan McManus missed County’s next kick, enough to give Inverness the win. The 0-0 draw at Rugby Park that forced the replay between Rangers and Kilmarnock generated plenty of media attention, mostly due to that Alan Power challenge - for which he received no retrospective action - and the refereeing was similarly called into question in this match. With only a minute played, Eamonn Brophy went down under the challenge of Joe Worrall, but what looked like a clear penalty was waved away by referee - prompting Brophy to tweet a video of the incident with the caption “Apperantly [sic] fall over my own feet here…?” and Worrall, no joke, to Like said tweet. With an appeal against a 3 game ban pending, Alfredo Morelos scored his first of the evening 5 minutes later, before more refereeing controversy — Glen Kamara went down clutching his face in the Rangers penalty area following a Daniel Bachmann elbow, resulting in a red for the Killie keeper. On closer inspection that looks the correct decision, so naturally the SFA rescinded the red before Killie’s game at the weekend. After that it was routine for Rangers, with Morelos scoring 4 goals, his hattrick coming just a minute after an Andy Halliday had made it 3-0. Steve Clarke has since held the media’s attention following a fairly astonishing press conference, where he branded the refereeing in this game - and every week - a joke, before launching a genuine and sincere rant against the rampant sectarianism that is ubiquitous in Scottish Football. Clarke is the second manager to give a heartfelt response to sectarian abuse this season, after (now former) Hibs coach Neil Lennon. In their weekend match against Hamilton, Rangers fans revealed a banner reading “GET WELL SOON STEVE CLARKE”, which has since been condemned by Steven Gerrard. Rangers will play Aberdeen at Pittodrie and ICT will travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United in the quarter-finals. BEST OF THE REST
After looking as if the appointment of Gary Caldwell had opened the door to consecutive relegations for Partick Thistle, the Firhill side have been revitalised in recent weeks, going 7 games unbeaten. The visit of a Ross County side determined to put a gap between themselves and second-place Ayr United would prove a challenge for any Championship side, but Thistle looked up for it, and found themselves going into half time 2-0 up. Two goals in three minutes from Aiden Fitzpatrick and Christie Elliott afforded the Jags a fighting chance to go 2 points clear of Alloa and 3 of Falkirk at the bottom of the table. As you may be able to tell from the scoreline, that was not to be. In fact it only took County’s Ross Stewart a minute to open the second-half scoring, before Jamie Lindsay equalised. Stewart added a third in the 74th minute, and 5 minutes later won a penalty that Billy McKay converted to make it 2-4. Rough one for Thistle like. Highlights. BONUS: Check out Stephen Wilson of Junior side Auchinleck’s Beckham-esque goal v Pollok, and here’s East Fife giving Dumbarton directions to their stadium for before their 3-4 clash, the highlights of which you can watch here. That’s all for this week! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here ● data from soccerway.com ● thanks mods for 2soccer2boteven though it’s broken
2019.02.24 22:55 NVACA/r/ScottishFootball's attendance/subscribers put in SPFL perspective.
Hi friends, domesticated & bored highlander here, I had the idea of putting our sub counters in perspective of Scottish football stadiums a while ago but I was too lazy until today. Basically just for fun to see which stadiums we could max the attendance on if we were all in one place at one time. This will be easiest to do in table format sorry if your mobile app hates them. Enjoy! (Also pretty much all of my data will be sourced from wikipedia.) Current /ScottishFootball subscriber count at the time of writing: 8426. Number of SPFL football teams & grounds: 42. These will be listed in capacity from smallest to largest and '/ScottishFootball%' will tell you how much of the max capacity we could take up.
So there we go. /ScottishFootball's subscriber count could max out the capacity of 23 of the 42 stadiums, or 54%. This includes:
League Two: 9/10 stadiums.
League One: 8/10 stadiums.
Championship: 4/10 stadiums.
Premiership: 2/12 stadiums.
We'd dangerously overcrowd Cliftonhill and there'd be a queue to view the famous Glebe Park hedge. We'd be lost in Celtic Park and Ibrox and probably all be miles from the pitch at Hampden. The pies would be sold out at Victoria Park and some would be standing on the stock car track at Central Park. If I was capable of making computers do things I'd have made a sidebar subscriber counter like those fundraiser bars climbing towards a total with stadiums as markers on it. There is no aim to this data, I just like figures. Why did I do this.
Kilmarnock and Celtic fans alike will have travelled to this match safe in the knowledge that Ayrshire is a much safer place thanks to the valiant efforts of the South Ayrshire Police, who had bravely seized a quantity of alcohol from a supporters bus less than 24 hours earlier. I’m sure I speak for the whole community when I say that it’s a great relief to know that a few bottles of Bucky and some cans are off our streets for good. Well, not literally ‘off the street’ since the police spread it in front of their wagon as if they’d just taken down Escobar. This is just the latest example of the hyperpolicing of football fans in Scotland, which has, obviously, put an end to fan trouble entirely. Killie manager Steve Clarke’s continual dismay at the reaction to Alan Power’s boot connecting with Rangers’ Ryan Jack’s face entered its second week without losing any momentum, as he announced that he had googled whether or not anyone had lost an eye because of a similar challenge, and concluded that “nobody has ever lost an eye from a high boot on a football pitch, so the hysteria can die down.” Once again, Celtic’s best results came on a day they weren’t playing, with Rangers and Aberdeen both dropping points, meaning a win today would effectively see Celtic with one hand on the trophy. In the end, things could not have worked out better for Celtic. Kilmarnock fans may have wanted Scott Brown sent-off for his tackle on Greg Taylor, but it was (probably correctly) judged to be a yellow-card. 40 minutes later, with no goals in sight, Brown was on the end of a much worse challenge, and Kirk Broadfoot was rightly sent-off. He was replaced by Alex Bruce. With 90 minutes played, Callum McGregor’s corner bounced out to Scott Brown, whose shot would have blazed over the bar had it not connected with Bruce’s hand, which deflected it into the goal. Brown was adjudged to have played a part in the ensuing pitch invasion, which earned him a second yellow; and despite Mum / First Lady of the Republic of Liberia Clar being in the stands, Timothy Weah also got himself involved after being kicked up and down the park in the 15 minutes he’d been on the pitch, getting a yellow card. I think those two might have similar Celtic legend status already. Highlights.
Three components of Livingston’s season have been: a) The Tony Macaroni Arena being a difficult place to visit; b) a quick social media team; and c) their defensive trio combining better than most strike-forces. All of this was effectively proven in the opening 20 minutes, with Lithgow, Gallagher, and Halkett linking up for the opener, prompting Livingston’s official twitter to tweet “CRAIG HALKETT HATES DUNDEE!!!! Unfortunately, the social media team shat it, opting to replace that tweet with “Craig Halkett loves playing Dundee!!!”, and so too did the players on the pitch. Shaun Byrne had been sent-off four minutes before Halkett opened the scoring, and the teams went into half-time with Livingston looking as if they could get their first win of 2019 after their first goal of the year. Yet again, however, it was to be Scott Wright rescuing Dundee. His corner delivery found Andrew Nelson early in the second half, and in the 83rd minute he stepped up and hit a perfect free-kick to give Dundee a win that takes them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season! The scenes at the end rival Celtic at Rugby Park, and include Ryan McGowan saving a child from certain death. Highlights.
Let it be known: both teams were absolutely honking. Aberdeen in particular were absolutely honking. St Mirren, honking as they may be, executed their game plan perfectly. I don’t think anyone can deny that staying up would be a total miracle for the Buddies, they are going to be outclassed against most if not all teams in the Premiership. Not Aberdeen, it would seem. St Mirren would have been good value for all 3 points, as Aberdeen had not even the faintest idea how to break down their effective 5-4-1 formation. Playing like a shite Alfredo Morelos, Duckens Nazon converted a penalty after Sam Cosgrove hauled Paul McGinn down for no particular reason. Nazon would almost certainly have gotten himself sent-off if he hadn’t been substituted at half-time, which the teams went into all square thanks to a Lewis Ferguson header. Aberdeen could have been 2-1 up, but Niall McGinn sent the best opportunity he’ll get for the rest of his career flying over the bar after Stewart squared. When St Mirren went ahead again it was thanks to atrocious, sloppy play from Aberdeen, and a beautiful finish from Kyle McAllister. Sam Cosgrove managed to cancel things out with his 15th goal in 14 games, no doubt motivated by the serenade Dominic Ball had given him earlier in the week. 2 goals all either team could manage, Aberdeen deserving nothing more, St Mirren would have been deserving winners. Highlights.
This was to be Hibs’ first match under new manager Paul Heckingbottom, who has a funny surname. It was also to be a first defeat for Hamilton under Brian Rice, so they drop into the relegation play-off place, after sitting in 10th for the majority of the season. Flo Kamberi, believed to be at the centre of the fallout with previous manager Neil Lennon, was back on the scoresheet, channeling his inner Harry Kane in the worst possible way as he claimed to get a touch on Daryl Horgan’s cross. Mark McNulty added a second from the spot 22 minutes later, and that was all for the goals. Highlights.
Rangers’ first match without either Allan McGregor or Alfredo Morelos, after the former was banned for two matches for his challenge on Lewis Ferguson, saw the visit of a St Johnstone side at the tail end of a horrible run of fixtures. Saints had played - and been comprehensively beaten - by Celtic 3 times in the past 2.5 weeks. They were also without their first-choice goalkeeper for the first time this season, so Cammy Bell deputised, as Wes Foderingham started in goal for Rangers. Rangers missed Morelos far more than McGregor, however. With Defoe starting up front they lacked goal threat, and Blair Alston almost won it for Saints, lobbing the ball over Foderingham, but his effort only came off the underside of the crossbar. The gap between Rangers and Celtic now 8 points, which looks unassailable. Highlights.
Pure comedy at the end of this game. After a brilliant goal from Jake Hastie (who else?) to put Motherwell into the lead, and a terrible attempt to finish followed immediately by a quality finish from Steven Naismith, the two sides entered the final minute tied 1-1. Then, as Ben Garrucio won the ball with an ‘enthusiastic’ but well-timed tackle, referee Nick Walsh deemed it worthy of a red card. The resulting shot from David Turnbull was pretty weak, but with sun in his eyes, Hearts’ replacement goalkeeper Colin Doyle ruined what had been a good game for him by completely, and I mean completely fluffing the catch. Possibly the howler of the season, rivalled only by Dundee’s Jack Hamilton in gameweek 1. Motherwell have now won 6(!) in a row. Highlights. Celtic 8 clear, and Dundee out the relegation zone are the big stories of the weekend!
Championship Round Relegation Round That’s all for this week! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here ● data from soccerway.com ● thanks mods for 2soccer2bot
“Say what you like about Scottish football but in terms of entertainment it's Box Office at the moment. Everyone absolutely hates each other. Superb stuff.” — @WeahsCousin on twitter. As the Scottish Premiership approaches the proverbial ‘business end’ of the competition, shithouse on-pitch behaviour and bampot off-pitch behaviour increases exponentially. Check out the text below to find out who got themselves sent-off this week, who should have been sent off this week, and which manager has had to postpone a vasectomy! Results from last week’s Premiership matches and the weekend’s Scottish Cup ties below.
A visit to Pittodrie afforded Steven Gerrard’s side an opportunity to win against Aberdeen for the first time under his tenure. Whilst not a rivalry with the same historical, cultural or local significance as many derbies, Aberdeen - Rangers has grown over the past 40 years into one of the Scottish football calendar’s most fiery encounters, one not to be missed under any circumstances for fans of either club. The game revolved around several key incidents, albeit one key incident in particular - that being Alfredo Morelos pressing his boot down on Scott McKenna’s balls, and Scott McKenna responding by trying to kick Morelos in the face. Whether or not that is a fair assessment of events has been debated to no end on ScottishFootball, but let me tell you this: it is. That incident saw McKenna red-carded, and after referee Bobby Madden permitted several minutes of Morelos lying face down in the ground, trying to avoid the same fate, he gave the Colombian his third sending-off against Aberdeenthis season anyway. In the first half, prior to that double-sending-off, both McKenna and Morelos had been heavily involved, with the latter opening the scoring before Sam Cosgrove equalised 10 minutes later. Morelos then showed his quality with a brilliant finish for Rangers’ second, and McKenna, in admittedly hilarious fashion, whilst appealing for an offside, handled the ball for a penalty. Tavernier converted, and Rangers went into the break 1-3 up, but Cosgrove netted a penalty just two minutes after the restart. Then, of course, the sending-offs happened, and Aberdeen seized the initiative, but couldn’t get their third goal. As chances came and went, Dons fans will feel Alan McGregor should have joined Morelos for an early bath (there’s an image), as he planted his studs into Lewis Ferguson’s shin whilst smothering the ball. This is at least the third incident of some pretty sinister behaviour from McGregor this season, none of which has gone punished. Ferguson left one on him in revenge a few minutes later, which infuriated me because I was completely convinced from my seat on the other side of the stadium that nothing had happened and McGregor was a time-wasting cheating h*n bastart. It was enough to merit 7 minutes of added time, just about covering how long Morelos spent on the deck, but, after some slack play by Greg Stewart as Aberdeen threw everything forward, Jermaine Defoe sealed the victory for Rangers. According to Conor Goldson, Aberdeen had put up around 20 pictures of them knocking Rangers out of the League Cup earlier in the year, which, beyond being a bit tinpot, was probably enough to give Rangers that last bit of motivation to dig in and get the win. Has to be said that unfortunately yet another racist incident seems to have occurred at this game, with two Aberdeen supporters being charged, although the details of what happened have not yet been revealed. Anyway, I hope that assessment was unbiased enough - if not then maybe this wee lad can do it more justice. Even if it wasn’t the result I wanted, it was a game with almost everything, and I made 80p from the coins thrown in my direction, so it wasn't all bad. Highlights.
You get the feeling that Eddie May resents every minute he has to take charge of this Hibs team. He spent some of his pre-match press conference bemoaning the fact he had to postpone his vasectomy to travel to Parkhead. He could always hang about in Glasgow til Morelos gets back. You have to guess he will have been in a worse mood post-match, though, as there was a lot of controversy in the game that followed. Jozo Simunovic went in elbow-first on Oli Shaw, going unpunished as he forced one of the brightest talents in Europe off the pitch at half-time. Shortly after the break, Scott Brown did nothing for his reputation with this tackle on Mark Milligan. Then it was Celtic fans who were calling for a sending off, as Emilio Izaguirre had to make way following a late challenge from Darnell Johnson. Debutant Johnson then opted to instagram a photo of said challenge after the game, deleting it before anyone had time to ask him why he’s talking about “facials”. Finally, it wouldn’t be right not to point out Oliver Burke’s Fallon d’Floor effort, which I pray shall not be overshadowed by the Morelos theatrics mentioned prior, or the Defoe antics yet to be mentioned. No further action for any of the above incidents, except Johnson’s - he’ll receive a 2-match ban. Burke survived his injuries and went on to find himself on the scoresheet, so too did Ryan Christie, as Celtic took a good result from opponents that have troubled them in the past - a result which the Celtic mascot and Filip Benkovic will no-doubt celebrate in their own way. Highlights.
Where there isn’t much to talk about on-pitch, I rest assured that I can count on Craig Levein to fill any prospective void. Asked to give his opinion on some of last week’s refereeing, namely the four penalties awarded to Rangers - one of which was a handball clearly outside the box - Levein said: “The 20-yard box? We're going to get one of them down at Tynecastle. Brilliant, eh?” That and a disallowed Steven Naismith goal was about as far as any entertainment surrounding this £28 fixture went, as Hearts, despite having all 5 of their lumps available to them, couldn’t get the better of Livi. This result puts an end to that horrendous run of defeats for Livingston, but they remain without a goal in 2019. Highlights.
If St Johnstone had to choose a Premiership opponent to play in-between 3 fixtures against Celtic, you’d imagine Hamilton would rank at least second-choice, but New Douglas Park turned out not to be a port in that particular storm. George Oakley was the hero for Accies, as his two goals came just a few minutes either side of a Liam Craig equaliser. That was enough to give Hamilton their first win in 10 games, and new coach Brian Rice’s first ever win as a manager. This is especially impressive against a St Johnstone side that have been brilliant away from home. Martin Canning’s Hamilton were the shite that won’t flush, maybe Brian Rice’s can be a little more than that. Time will tell. Highlights.
Just as Steve Clarke’s emerging rivalry with Steven Gerrard has been somewhat overshadowed by off-pitch drama such as, for example, Craig Levein calling Derek McInnes a dick, a brilliant game between Kilmarnock and Dundee seems to have been overshadowed by the action 65 miles up the road. I mean, we already know Killie’s captain thought the Rangers game was more worth seeing. Dundee kicked-off, beginning the match by mercilessly slaughtering the away support. They started the brighter of the two sides, scoring in 8 minutes after a bit of comedy in the air, with a decent finish from Andrew Nelson. New signing Conor McAleny had Killie level for just two minutes after getting on the end of a eggselent pass by Kirk Broadfoot that left the Dundee defenders scrambling, leaving McAleny with notquite a poacher’s finish. Nelson was immediately on the scoresheet again following some footwork that confused possibly everybody in the stadium, but, after a series of great saves from both keepers, albeit not enough entertainment to distract the window cleaner, Chris Burke scored brilliantly from a free-kick to make it 2-2. The closing minutes of the game saw Killie desperately try to get the ball over the line, but it was Dundee who had the best opportunity to do so: Kenny Miller had his 95th-minute penalty saved by Daniel Bachmann. Mental eh? Highlights, including 30 unnecessary seconds of the teams walking out onto the pitch.
I’m astonished to see that Motherwell are one of the two teams in the table below with perfect form. Jake Hastie has been an absolute revelation on the wing as of recent, and his own amazing run of form continued with an absolute wondergoal to open the scoring. Almost as soon as Paul McGinn headed home to equalise in the final quarter, Alan Campbell was about to head in and give Motherwell their 5th straight win. With Hamilton also winning, the only consolation for St Mirren is that Kenny Miller couldn’t score that penalty - and we’re operating at a quantum level if we’re trying to find a silver lining there. Highlights. After writing Motherwell’s season off a few weeks ago it’s amazing to see them jumping up into 7th place, top 6 certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. Celtic stay 6 points ahead of Rangers.
The fact of the matter is that at least one of these two teams will be at best in the relegation play-off this season, meaning that this match goes down as the first authentic 🚨 RELEGATION 6-POINTER 🚨 of 2019. It was also to be Hamilton’s first match with Brian Rice in charge of the squad, as Martin Canning was sacked following last week’s loss to Celtic, which seems harsh, but was a long time coming. His Hamilton could be perceived as overachievers by avoiding relegation under his tenure, given their size relative to some of the teams beneath them in the Scottish football pyramid; though the reality of the situation is that such a position would be untenable unless some inspiration was injected into the squad. For this season, all Hamilton will look to do is replicate the slight upturn in form that Dundee have seen following Jim McIntyre’s arrival, but with Dundee exiting the Scottish Cup after a replay to Championship side Queen of the South, it’s more than conceivable that any of the three Premiership sides looking as if they’ll be involved in the relegation play-off could go down. Darian Mackinnon’s last-minute equaliser will have delighted St Mirren fans, who are the only team really to benefit from a draw here. Aberdeen loanee Scott Wright had put Dundee ahead in the 66th minute with a brilliant effort that put Matt Kilgallon on his arse. Mackinnon was teed up nicely by Steve Davies to smash home from the edge of the box, as both sides fall away from the rest of the table. Highlights.
Given St Johnstone’s fantastic away record, and the absence of Tom Rogic, who was confirmed by Brendan Rodgers to be out for about 6 weeks (although he apparently didn’t even know Lewis Morgan was a Celtic player, so take that with a pinch of salt), this seemed the optimum opportunity for the Perth side to take points off the league leaders. After losing their remarkable away clean-sheet streak last week to Hearts, it was always going to be a big ask to get things started again at Celtic Park. Despite holding resolute until just shy of an hour played, partly with thanks to some impressive saves by Zander Clark, Saints collapsed and conceded two goals in as many minutes. Callum McGregor’s shot from the edge of the box caught Clark on the wrong foot, and Ryan Christie finished well in the 55th minute to put Celtic 6 clear. Highlights.
The news that Youssouf Mulumbu would be returning to Rugby Pugby will have been music to many Killie fans’ ears, but having played only 70 league minutes in his time at Celtic, he didn’t make the squad for this match. As Hearts manager and Director of Football, Craig Levein was the man to confirm that Hearts wouldn’t make any deadline day signings, stating that he was “going to watch Snow Patrol” and his “phone will be off”. Eamonn Brophy was also missing from the Kilmarnock side after pocking up a knock, and it was the striker’s presence that was missed far more than Mulumbu, with Killie struggling to get past the three big lumps in the Hearts defence. Steve Clarke’s words, not mine. The game exploded in the final 10 minutes of the first half, with Sean Clare opening the scoring before Steven Naismith converted a clever set-piece routine. Jordan Jones halved Hearts’ advantage from the penalty spot, but that was to be the end of it. Highlights.
Despite not resigning and not being sacked, Neil Lennon was officially relieved of his duties as Hibs manager early in the week, so Eddie May took charge for the first time at Easter Road, welcoming an Aberdeen side who will have been buzzing after an historic first ever victory over Aberdeen on Tuesday. With Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin out injured for Aberdeen Hibs would look to exploit a makeshift defence, which they did after just 9 minutes through Oli Shaw. One half of the new centre-back pairing, Andy Considine took only 3 minutes to level the scoring, heading in a scrappy goal. Here’s a fun stat: Gary Mackay-Steven, the most entertaining player in the Scottish Premiership, has scored 7 goals from open play in the league since joining Aberdeen. 6 of these goals have come against Hibs. That includes his 22nd minute finish, which was enough to win the game for Aberdeen. Ofir Marciano denied GMS from the spot in the second half, after Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove and Joe Lewis both had to leave the match due to injury. Highlights.
After an astonishing start to the season, Livingston have somewhat ran out of steam, winless in the 7 games that have followed their 5-0 mid-December victory over Hearts. I will mention that game every week until it becomes entirely irrelevant. Motherwell are having the opposite experience, going from being adrift in 9th to level with Livingston on points after this win, their 4th in a row. They have teenager Jake Hastie to thank, as he nodded in fellow kid David Turnbull’s free-kick to open the scoring in the 6th minute, before bookending Curtis Main’s 12th minute goal with the run and finish in a lightning fast counter attack. All this in the first quarter of the match. Declan Gallagher headed an Allan Campbell shot off the line, and there were to be no more goals. Gary Holt’s side have had such poor results, but he maintains that he’s been happy with the performances, so it’s maybe not panic stations yet for Livi. Both themselves and Motherwell should be safe from relegation regardless, with this result meaning both teams sit on 30 points in 8th and 9th, with double the points of 10th-placed Hamilton. Highlights.
Here’s an interesting game. Despite Gerrard’s first-week lamentations of the referees up here having an agenda against Rangers, Andrew Dallas was brave enough to award four penalties in favour of the home side today, much to the continuing dismay of the St Mirren twitter admin. Sky Sports RefWatch says 3/4 were the correct decision, but my heart says unseen masonic conspiracy. Some of the calls were somewhat contentious, with Jermain Defoe arguably selling any contact well on the second incident, James Tavernier failing to convert that particular spot-kick after scoring the first, and the third call - a handball - being arguablynot even in the box at all. Tavernier stepped up and scored the third penalty, but gave the fourth to Defoe despite his being on a hattrick. Don’t get it myself. Ryan Kent got the fourth only a minute later. Gerrard did genuinely add, at the end of the match, “there could have been five pens”, but in the interest of fairness, I think he was just as confused by the whole situation as anyone else. Highlights.
It was always going to be a tricky week for St Johnstone. Saints fans may have been more optimistic about the away game, since Celtic had won their last 5 visits to Perth, the most recent by 6 goals. The Saints defence that had been so good on the road outdid their Wednesday performance by lasting 78 minutes before the Timothy Weah show began. After an even more impressive performance by Clark than seen on Wednesday (call him up, Alec), Weah came on to replace an Odsonne Edouard, who had only been on for 10 minutes before picking up an injury. He set up James Forrest, who capitalised on Scott Tanser’s decision not to deal with the cross, before Forrest became the third Celtic player to leave the pitch due to injury. Weah then got onto the scoresheet himself, getting on the end of a Callum McGregor square ball after he ran the length of the pitch on the counter. With 89 minutes played that is some effort. Celtic finished the game with 9 men after Kristoffer Ajer bundled over a through-on-goal Callum Hendry, in what he’ll probably reflect on as an unnecessary tackle. Highlights. For the first time in many weeks, all sides have played the same number of games. Celtic 6 points clear at the top, and a real gap has formed between the bottom 3 and the rest of the league.
Great to be back! The top flight of Scottish Football is back after an agonising winter break that saw the frequenters of ScottishFootball lose their collective minds. The apocalypse is defined by the Oxford dictionary’s Google search preview as “an event involving destruction or da”, the latter of which proving to be the case as the sub was taken over by the likes of yer da on the commentary, yer da’s decor, and the inaugural Da’s Got Talent, sponsored by ButteryMoleHole, who really ought to be held accountable. Unfortunately, like all good things, the dapocalypse had to come to an end, and the 4th round of the Scottish Cup signalled a return to action for all Premiership sides - except Rangers, whose Friday-night match against League 2 Cowdenbeath was postponed at the last minute on account of a patch of the pitch by the corner flag being frozen, despite the best efforts of the grounds team, who attempted to defrost the area with the engine of a Honda CRV. Rangers, instead, kicked off their first game of the new year at Ibrox in a friendly against HJK Helsinki, fulfilling an agreement that formed part of the Alfredo Morelos negotiations. The convenience of this matter was too much for some Celtic fans, whose conspiracy theories marked an appropriate end to a da-fuelled winter break. If all of the above is an entirely foreign cultural entity to you, but nevertheless something you wish to be a part of, you might find it helpful to be reminded of how the first half of the season unfolded in the most entertaining league in the world™.
Last weekend saw last year’s Scottish Cup finalists Motherwell exit the competition at the hands of Championship side Ross County, as Aberdeen and Dundee were forced into a replay also against lower league opposition. The latter are now facing yet another hurdle in what has been a very trying season. Dundee’s campaign started in quite comic fashion, with a loss to St Mirren in Paisley that featured midfielder Paul McGowan playing with an electronic tag on and what is still the worst goalkeeping howler of the season from Jack Hamilton.. 7 matches (and 6 defeats) later Neil McCann was replaced by Jim McIntyre, amongst suspicion that Kenny Miller had been signed from Livingston with one eye on the job. McCann bravely claimed that the referee in their match against Kilmarnock was what had cost him his job, instead of it being his team’s absolutely rotten form. McIntyre announced his arrival with a 4-0 loss to Livingston and a 0-3 defeat to Hearts that featured an effective summary of their season in the form of a Calvin Miller penalty, but performances improved (on account of it not being possible for them to get worse). The Dee ended 2018 bottom of the table, so their manager has begun a massive overhaul of the squad, with the likes of Calvin Miller, Adil Nabi and Andy Boyle leaving the club at the start of the window; and the incoming transfers of random Swedish man Andreas Hadenius and James Horsfield on loan, who was buzzing to sign for Dun Dee. New signing Andrew Davies has broken his foot before stepping on to the pitch, just 4 days after signing. Equally as shite as Dundee, St Mirren have only managed to take 12 points from the 21 games prior to this week. Losing Jack Ross, the manager who propelled them into the Premiership, and Lewis Morgan (the attacker who propelled them into the Premiership) looked like it might be fatal, as replacement manager Alan Stubbs couldn’t avoid losses from week 2 until his sacking. Replaced by Coleraine hero Oran Kearney, they “bounced back” with a 0-0 draw at home against Celtic, inspired by an actual magician, then went on a 7-game losing streak, ended by a draw at Dundee before winning at home to Hearts. Unfortunately, Kearney’s ambition to win the league may have to be put on the back burner for the time being. When his first win did come against Hearts in week 14 it was partly thanks to a goal from the centre circle from Adam Hammill, a feat repeated mere weeks later, before Hammill was released. On top of getting Václav Hladky out of a Cypriot concentration camp, the Buddies have brought in Anders Dreyer on loan from Brighton, as well as Charlie Reid from the Proclaimers Blackburn’s Brad Lyons, who made the brave decision to pose for his signing photos whilst still wearing his glasses. Thanks to ScottMcoot for my favourite ScottishFootball headline of the year so far, “St Mirren sign a speccy tube”. Poor Brad got sent off for diving in his first match, although it was rescinded. Good luck to him. I feel for fans of Hamilton, as going into every season as “the shite that won’t flush” hardly calls for optimism, and Accies have, unfortunately, remained startlingly true to form, perpetually sitting one place above the relegation zone. Despite winning the Lanarkshire derby in week 2, Martin Canning’s side have spent the majority of the season one place beneath their local rivals, Motherwell. Writing this roundup has made me realise there is somewhat of a dearth of patter regarding Hamilton this season, although they do subscribe to the less is more ideology. It’s been an uninspiring first half of the season for Accies, and I do feel sorry for the people who genuinely love their club and have to see shit like this every week. They have, however, strengthened this January; with the return of Tony Andreu and the addition of this man, who caused me to pause for 5 seconds to work out which one of the two people photographed was the new signing and which was Martin Canning. Above Hamilton, Motherwell have had one of the least interesting campaigns of any of the Premiership sides, spending much of the pre-winter-break season consolidating 9th place. They were, however, the centre of my personal favourite instance of all this season’s petty drama, as before their match against Rangers, captain Peter Hartley reminisced about Ryan Bowman breaking Fabio Cardoso’s nose, adding that it was “fun to watch the way he was weeping”. The vitriol that ensued was incredible, and the whole incident was rather nicely tied up by Hartley scoring a last-minute equaliser in the 3-3 draw that followed. They did go on to lose 7-1 at Ibrox mind. Some more interesting happenings emerged off the Fir Park pitch, with Will Smith vindicating the choice of one young fan to support the Well, and possibly inspiring Charles Dunne also to start a rap career. Furthermore, and I have no idea how they’re paying his wage, Motherwell have signed Ross McCormack on loan from Villa this January. Could be a brilliant signing if he gets/keeps his fitness up. Now we jump several points up the table, as finding themselves rather surprisingly in 8th place at the time I write this, Hibs have sorely felt the loss of midfield trio Scott Allan, Dylan McGeouch and John McGinn. Like most teams, Hibs have struggled to find any real consistency this season, best illustrated by their 6-0 shagging of Hamilton being followed by 7 matches without a win. Vox populi Neil Lennon may have solved some of the midfield problems by adding Ryan Gauld (remember him?) to the squad, and resigning Scott Allan on a pre-contract. They have also secured the loan signing of do do doStéphane Oméonga, and will hope to make a push for the top 6 places come the end of the campaign. The real surprise packages of this season have undoubtedly been the permanent residents of the Tony Macaroni Arena — Livingston. Like St Mirren, Livi lost the manager that brought them to the Premiership, with many assuming that David Hopkin (the manager behind two successive promotions) leaving for the now struggling Bradford City would be fatal to their Premiership status. This feeling was only reinforced when it was announced that Kenny Miller would take over as player-manager *shudders*. He was only to last two games after allegedly refusing to drop himself from the starting 11. Gary Holt took over, and under his guidance Livi immediately looked a different team, turning the Spaghettihad into a fortress - they’ve lost only to St Johnstone and Aberdeen at home since. The highlight of this Livi season has to be their 5-0 dismantling of Hearts mid-December. Adding Partick Thistle hero Chris Erskine to their squad should help them creatively, and by extending the loan of Rangers’ Ryan Hardie they should have enough firepower to match their impressive defence, possibly sneaking a top 6 place. Possibly. St Johnstone share with Livingston impressive defensive organisation. They responded to 0-6 battering from Celtic by going 6 games in a row without conceding, and at the time of writing this introduction they are on 4 consecutive clean sheets. Yes, I know, well-organised teams don’t concede 6, but this was at a time of the season when Celtic started playing as if they were possessed, so we’ll excuse Saints’ indiscretion. St Johnstone have quietly had a very good start to the season, and I mean it when I say “quietly”. They’ve (mostly) proven problematic for the sides at the top of the table, and have disposed of the sides beneath them well, but over the last 21 weeks I can only think of one instance of St Johnstone ‘chat’, and that was when one of their fans just decided to tell the world he only washes his coffee cup once a week. A very wholesome family atmosphere at McDiarmid Park it seems, and it’s been made all the more wholesome by Michael O’Halloran returning for his 3rd spell with the club. Top 6 definitely the target for the rest of the season. Now, if you had told any Hearts fans at the beginning of the season that - despite losing Uche Ikpeazu and Kyle Lafferty to injury and Rangers respectively - they’d be sitting pretty in 5th as the winter break rolled in, most would probably be quite content. This, however, does not tell the story of their season. A 1-4 win over Hamilton put them top of the league after match day 1, and a Craig Levein grassterclass saw them emerge 1-0 victors at home to Celtic. They went on to win their first 5 games of the season, before progress was halted by a draw at the Tony Macaroni, and a loss of any semblance of defensive organisation against Rangers the next week. Their season completely unravelled after Stevies Naismith and MacLean missed several games on account of an injury sustained in the league cup semi-final and bawsgate. Hearts, almost immediately, went from being 6 points clear at the top of the table to going 6 games without a goal. One might assume that such a collapse - which saw the Jambos give away 8 goals to Celtic without reply in just under a week - could potentially humble certain figures within the club, for example: Craig Levein. Of course, you would be incorrect, as the specciest bam of the SPFL era has continued to antagonise anyone who dares to speak his name. Results have not improved, with Hearts “getting their backsides felt, which was very sore indeed” in that 5-0 defeat to Livi, but that hasn’t stopped Levein from continuing in his usual manner, labelling Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes “a dick” just a few weeks ago, and taking on Sportscene furniture and former Hearts player Michael Stewart. More on that one to follow. In contrast to Hearts’ season, Aberdeen started terribly, but seem to have found their footing. According to one Sky Sports pundit, we even won the League Cup final, which is a nice surprise since I was certain we lost Gary Mackay-Steven for weeks to a head injury as Celtic beat us 1-0. Anyway, Aberdeen’s turnaround in fortunes is largely to do with the emergence of Sam Cosgrove as a competent striker, which is, by no exaggeration, the most surprising turn of events of the season. As of the 10th December, Cosgrove had scored twice for Aberdeen in 29 games, both times in a 4-1 win over St Mirren. By Boxing Day he had 7 goals in his last 5 games, putting him only behind Alfredo Morelos on the goalscoring charts, whilst winning Aberdeen some crucial points in the process. What he has lacked is consistent service, so Aberdeen entered the winter break looking for a player who could create some space and lift the goalscoring burden off Cosgrove’s shoulders. Losing Kenny McLean to Norwich for free, and the end of Ryan Christie’s loan spell has left the Dons lacking in creativity, so you wouldn’t normally expect a team in that situation to try to re-sign a player who had 3 goals and 2 assists in 30 games whilst on loan last season. The thing is, said player had been loaned to Kilmarnock for the current season, and had 8 goals and 6 assists in just 16 games. You can imagine Kilmarnock fans’ disappointment upon hearing that Birmingham City would be recalling Greg Stewart, presumably to punt him on to another club before his contract ends in the summer, only to see him loaned back to Aberdeen a few days later. Steve Clarke has said there’s “a strange smell” around this move, which be believes to be “bullshit.” With this signing, and the crucial extension of Max Lowe’s loan from Derby County, Aberdeen should have a little more about them going into the second half of the season. Although they have just drawn 1-1 to bottom-of-League-One Stenhousemuir at home, so what do I know? Beyond the expectations of anyone this season, and sitting cosy above last season’s second-place Aberdeen, Kilmarnock have emerged as unlikely title contenders, catalysed by a dangerous front 3 of Eamonn Brophy, Greg Stewart and Jordan Jones, and guided by the management of Steve Clarke. Taking 6 points off Aberdeen and Celtic in their first encounters, and taking more points than any other team in 2018, Killie found themselves top in week 16. January 2019 sees The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be celebrate their 150th anniversary, and what better way to mark the occasion than to have your star winger declare himself a lifelong Rangers fan, announce his departure on a free, and sign off the tweet with #WATP? Have to feel for Killie fans there, Greg Stewart was still a Kilmarnock player when that went down, and whilst they are yet to replace him, they should still have more than enough to finish around those European places. Steven Gerrard’s Rangers have shown us absolutely everything on the pitch, except for any real consistency. They started their season with a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen that saw some fans arrested for kicking over a child’s sandcastle, and that level of unpredictability has seen them absolutely humped by Celtic in the first Old Firm of the season, before dishing out exactly the opposite result in the second match between the two. Despite Gerrard alleging a refereeing conspiracy against Rangers, the following weeks would see Alan McGregor escape punishment for two off-the-ball incidents and Alfredo Morelos ludicrously avoid a sending-off against [YOUR TEAM HERE]. At least Scott Arfield got his just desserts when he went in completely ridiculously on Bobby Zlamal in the most hilariously unnecessary tackle I have ever seen. Despite pumping Motherwell 7-1, the highlight of the Rangers season so far is (obviously) their dominant Old Firm victory just before the New Year. That game sent Celtic fans into meltdown, preparing video essays about the refereeing and replying to Colombian news outlets in Spanish, and the aim for this season is to cause an even bigger meltdown by stopping Celtic’s run of 7 consecutive titles. Gerrard has added Steven Davies and Jermain Defoe to his squad to aid that cause, as well as signing Jones and Dundee’s Glen Kamara on pre-contracts. So, the question remains, will Celtic run away with it again and become treble-treble winners? A stuttering start to the season has cast some doubt, and an emphatic loss to their Old Firm rivals for the first time in the league since 2012 shows that this team does still have their vulnerabilities. August saw early exit from the Champions’ League at the final qualifying round, not helped by star centre-back Dedryck Boyata faking an injury as he tried to force a move (he scored in the game that banner was flown). Moussa Dembélé aka Big Mouss aka the King of Glasgow aka Dembelition did manage to force his move to Lyon, and as rumours of unrest in the Celtic camp floated it looked as if we could be in for a total Celtic collapse. Early losses to Hearts and Kilmarnock saw Celtic endure their worst start to a league campaign in 20 years, but they would then go on a run that would see 20 league goals scored over 4 games, despite being subordinated to a diktat during this time. Naturally, this run was ended at the Tony Macaroni, but it had shepherded an awesome return to form for Brendan Rodgers’ team. The lack of dependable depth for Odsonne Edouard looked as if it may become an issue - with Leigh Griffiths given a leave of absence to deal with his mental health issues, Edouard became the only ‘senior’ striker in their team for a while - but the winter additions of Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah will partner nicely with the amazing form of Ryan “won’t cut it at Celtic” Christie, and Celtic should have enough to push on to an eighth consecutive title. Okay, now that we’re all caught up, let’s look at the results from the last two gameweeks.
Of course after the Jordan Jones saga it would only be right that Kilmarnock’s first game back after the break would be Rangers. Steve Clarke had to tell fans before the match “boo Jordan Jones and you’re booing me too”, whatever that means. It was always going to be a game filled with drama. Jermain Defoe put Rangers into the lead with the worst goal of the season so far, meaning it only took 12 minutes for him to open his account in our diddy wee league, although he was largely anonymous after that. Killie’s equaliser came 10 minutes later in the form of a total gift from on-loan Nottingham Forrest defender Joe Worrall, who dithered in defence, allowing Eamonn Brophy to snatch the ball from him and finish well for his 9th league goal of the season. Alfredo Morelos had the ball in the net at the other end, but funnily enough his superman-dive handball finish was disallowed. Killie took the lead halfway through the second half, of course through Jordan Jones. His 25-yard strike was flapped at by McGregor, and as the ball went in Jones ran over to Steve Clarke and gave him a nice big hug. That was enough for Killie to take the 3 points, and enough for some Rangers fans not to be able to face work the next day. Highlights.
A return to the slightly diseased Parkhead for Celtic and three very brave horses afforded the opportunity to see Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke in action for the first time. Neither disappointed as the latter grabbed a brace either side of a Scott Sinclair penalty, and the former adding the final goal 4 minutes from time. With this result Dundee overtake St. Mirren as the Buddies fall into last place. Highlights.
This result is believed to have ushered in the new deeply sexual era of Aberdeen, with Derek McInnes remarking after the game that he’d “like to see Cosgrove open his legs up a bit more” and the local papers running with the headline Dons slam it into the Ham. A brilliant Joe Lewis save kept things from being very different in the first half, before a scrappy Cosgrove opener and a scrappy Lewis Ferguson corner goal sandwiched the best finish of the day, with Sam Cosgrove taking advantage of Ziggy Gordon not really being that arsed about defending, and finishing well. A solid 7/10 performance all round for Aberdeen, 9 goals in 8 games for Cosgrove. Highlights.
The reports coming out after this one are that Neil Lennon has totally lost the head with his players, the board, and everyone at Hibs. It looks very much as if he’s burned some bridges, he’s been suspended from his duties as first team manager for the time being. Despite Hibs being dominant in possession, Motherwell had the better of the chances in this game, with youngster David Turnbull the only man managing to convert. His goal on the stroke of half time went unanswered, as Motherwell close in on Hibs, and extend the gap at the bottom of the table between themselves and Hamilton. Highlights.
The battle of the surprisingly good defences yielded a predictably tight affair at McDiarmid Park. Other words that have been used to describe this match are: “bad.” The one goal came 12 minutes from time thanks to Murray Davidson, as Saints claim their 11th clean sheet in 14 games. None too shabby. Highlights.
Saints did not, however, make that 12 in 15. Much to the disappointment of Michael Stewart Hearts dominated this match. They hit the woodwork twice as goals from Marcus “best surname in football” Godinho and Calumn “what’s with the N?” Morrison scored the only goals St. Johnstone have conceded away since September. Highlights.
So, the Greg Stewart Shield didn’t quite live up to the hype, but the Aberdeen fans who braved the rain were at least able to see Kris Boyd sent off for leaving a sore one on Graeme Shinnie. There’s really not that much else to discuss. Stevie May had a shot on goal at least? Also, this is the best possible result for the Old Firm. Highlights.
Someone get Ryan Fulton a tinny. The Hamilton goalie was the busiest man on the park and did very welt keep the game at 0-0, until a long-range shot from Callum McGregor went right through him. He was then rescued by his defenders as he found himself a mile away from his goal early in the second half, before he dropped the ball directly at the feet of Ryan Christie for Celtic’s second. He couldn’t do anything about Scott Sinclair’s third, and so concluded a game where he was both Man of the Match and the worst player on the pitch. See it all here.
I’m not sure there’s a Motherwell fan out there who wouldn’t let David Turnbull pump their significant other. His penalty on the hour mark was the difference in a game both teams could have won, but Dundee would be more upset about losing. Highlights.
The stress of replacing Neil Lennon for this match was enough for Eddie May to rule out ever returning to full time management, as his Hibs team went 1-0 down at half-time to a Simeon Jackson goal, following a nice bit of work, ironically, from that boy who looks like the Proclaimers. Hibs massively turned it around in the second half, with Oli Shaw netting the first, Darren McGregor tapping in from close-range, and Stevie Mallan finishing a good performance against his former club with a goal late on. Highlights.
That being said, they probably wish they hadn’t been, in particular Liam Kelly. The Livi goalkeeper has been brilliant this season, so it’s only natural that he should totally flub Ryan Jack’s effort half an hour in to give Rangers the lead. There was no stopping Ryan Kent’s goal early in the second half, however, and 25 minutes later, after missing an open goal, the man with more goals and assists than anyone bar Messi and Mbappé sealed the deal. Rangers become only the third side to win at the Tony Macaroni Arena, and they go second for their troubles. Highlights. So, Celtic have the chance to give themselves some breathing room at the top of the table with their midweek game against St Johnstone.
Happy New Year everyone. I was going to post this yesterday, but figured no-one would pay attention, and whilst that has never stopped me before, new year new me and all that. It’s #RivalsWeekend, meaning that in the final week before the winter break, there were 12 fixtures played between relatively local opposition across all divisions of the SPFL. Let’s have a look at them, before rounding up the remaining Premiership fixtures.
The last time Rangers beat Celtic in the league, Victor Wanyama was sent-off for Celtic, and Sone Aluko scored a beauty. Since then, Rangers have been liquidated, risen up through all 4 divisions of Scottish professional football, won on penalties against Celtic in the Scottish Cup, and had their arse handed to them in almost every subsequent encounter. This time, however, it was to be Rangers doing the handing. Celtic looked absolutely woeful, and I think this has to be on Brendan Rodgers. With Kieran Tierney benched due to a lack of fitness, arguably Celtic’s player of the season, Callum McGregor, was forced to leave the midfield role he has been thriving in, and fill in at left-back - with Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham providing the midfield behind Ryan Christie. Ntcham and Brown is a combination revered for not working, and it was the latter who had the worse time of it today. Brown had his baws kicked in by Alfredo Morelos only 5 minutes in, lost one of the all-time great drop-balls to Arfield, and saw Ryan Jack’s 30th-minute shot bounce between his legs, and past Craig Gordon for the only goal of the game after Ryan Kent had sent Mikael Lustig flat-packing. If you had bet on referee Andrew Dallas, who wasn’t even in charge of this game, to be the first goalscorer, unlucky. If Morelos was lucky to avoid being sent-off for the kick on Brown, that luck continued throughout the game - his step on the back of Anthony Ralston has led to an SFA review that will probably see the shame of Scottish football banned for 2 games. It has also led to a group of ‘dedicated’ Celtic fans taking issue with some Colombian sports news outlets, even replying to their tweets in Spanish. A cracking conspiracy theory as to why Celtic were so bad in the replies to that tweet. Jack’s goal was enough to see Rangers take the three points and go level with Celtic at the top of the league. Given Celtic’s game in hand, it’s difficult to see any scenario where Rangers lose this game and go on to challenge for the title - but for now it’s only goal difference separating them at the top. Highlights.
It’s a shame that Olly Lee’s spectacular finish hasn’t been the main talking point of this game. His brilliant effort from outside the box with 27 minutes played meant Hearts became the first of the Edinburgh sides to win away in 15 matches between the two clubs. Like the last meeting at Tynecastle earlier in the season, this game was marred by fan trouble, in this case racist abuse directed towards Hearts defender Clevid Dikamona, which was caught on TV. Dikamona’s response was absolutely excellent and has garnered a lot of praise, but yet again one of the big occasions of the season has shed light on Scottish football’s continuing problem with racism. There was a certain irony to the Famous Five stand at Easter Road flying the banner “theres class, theres first class, and then theres Hibs class”. If that wasn't highlighted by the fan trouble, then it was certainly highlighted by the scoreline. This, of course, was something both Craig Levein and the Hearts official twitter were all too keen to point out. Hibs and Hearts remain in 8th and 5th respectively. Highlights.
Hamilton and Motherwell regularly compete for the titles of both “Pride of Lanarkshire” and “Shame of Scottish Football”, and on Saturday Hamilton well and truly laid claim to the latter. Not even 10 minutes in and they had already embarrassed themselves. Captain Dougie Imrie made amends for that moment by giving Accies the lead, but it was cancelled out only a few minutes later by centre-back Tom Aldred, who volleyed home for Well from a knock-down at a corner. The second half, amazingly, saw Aldred get his brace, this time pouncing on a spill from Gary Woods. This result should be enough to stop Motherwell from worrying about being involved in the relegation battle, whilst letting Hamilton know that they well and truly are. Highlights.
It didn’t take long for St. Johnstone to sucker-punch bottom-of-the-table Dundee, with a cross from Scott Tanser hitting the post and finding its way into Jack Hamilton’s goal just 35 seconds in. Saints have a phenomenal away record this season, winning without conceding in their last 6 matches on the road. They didn’t look too troubled for this game, and as Zander Clark went level with Liam Kelly of Livingston in having 10 clean sheets in just 20 games, a man reaching a different milestone doubled their advantage. Liam Craig became St. Johnstone’s second-highest appearance-maker, and marked the occasion with his first goal of the season. This game was to be the last in Dundee colours for Calvin Miller, Adil Nabi and Andy Boyle, who were released immediately after the match. A massively important January for Dundee who will need a minor overhaul to breathe life into this squad. Highlights.
Saturday went about as well as Ross County could have hoped for, with Ayr and Dundee United dropping points to Queen of the South and Alloa respectively. It looked as if the Highland Derby may see all 3 of the top Championship teams drop points, but thanks to a late goal from Ross Stewart they came out as winners in a game they could just as easily have lost. The teams went in to the half-time break level, after goals from Billy McKay and Jordan White, and finished the game level on 10 men after Brian Graham and Shaun Rooney had a fight and got sent-off. County go 3 clear at the top of the table. Highlights.
Ray McKinnon’s stint as Falkirk manager has been nothing short of a disaster so far and he’ll no doubt be ruing the day he chose to judas Morton. His post-match interview is worth a watch if you’re a fan of Mourinho’s enthusiasm in hating his own players, but also want to see a truly broken man. Falkirk started strongly, with Joe McKee scoring with just a minute played, but their goals were to bookend Dunfermline’s four, with Myles “The Hippo” Hippolyte equalising in the 13th minute, Tom Beadling grabbing a brace either side of half-time, and James Vincent scoring before Scott Harrison’s consolation goal. Falkirk stay bottom of the league, 1 point behind Partick Thistle. Highlights.
When these two sides met in September Queen of the South inexplicably won 0-5 at Somerset Park, so with that in mind I can’t decide whether or not this is a bad result or not for Ayr. Regardless, Ayr fall 3 points behind Ross County, albeit with a game in hand, after Josh Todd put Queens ahead half an hour in, and Michael Moffat levelled 5 minutes before half-time. Highlights.
Arbroath’s storming start to the season was not quite derailed, but certainly stuttered for the first time with their defeat at the hands of Raith Rovers last week. It could have been a second defeat in a row, as 10-man Montrose took the lead in the 75th minute through Martin Rennie, but it was almost immediately cancelled out by Thomas O’Brien. Highlights.
Despite statistically dominating this match, Brechin have the worst form of any team in the SPFL, having lost their last 6. Their last victory was a 4-0 demolition of Forfar, but this was not to be repeated thanks to goals from John Baird and Dale Hilson either side of the half.
Having given life to the League One title race by ending Arbroath’s unbeaten season last week, Raith will be kicking themselves to have lost to 3rd place Fife, who are now just three points behind. Two first half goals from Aaron Dunsmore and Rory Currie were enough to give the win to East Fife, despite a late consolation goal from Raith’s Lewis Vaughan. Highlights.
The true Glasgow Derby. When these two played at Hampden - yes, Hampden - earlier in the season, the hosts were 1-0 winners. First-half goals from Jack Boyle and David Goodwillie - yes, David Goodwillie - were enough to keep the points at Broadwood this time around. Highlights.
Finally, we have the North to wrap things up on derby day. One spot above Clyde, Peterhead are the only team keeping the pressure on Edinburgh City at the top of League Two, and an emphatic win over then-4th-placed rivals Elgin is some way to keep that up. Jack Leitch opened the scoring just 14 minutes in, and after Darryl McHardy was sent off for Elgin 10 minutes later, and Ryan Dow had made it 2-0, Leitch had his brace to round-off the match. Highlights.
Another side in need of strengthening this January is St. Mirren, although so far their only transfer activity has been the sale of Jordan Kirkpatrick to Alloa. A win for Killie means they stay within a point of the Old Firm at the top of the table, and this match was practically sewn up in the first 15 minutes, with Stewart Findlay heading home from a corner, and Jordan Jones tapping in after a simply brilliant bit of work from Greg Stewart. Simeon Jackson pulled one back for St Mirren 10 minutes later, but it wasn’t to make a difference. With this win Kilmarnock have won more points in 2018 than any other Scottish team. Highlights.
Coming to the Tony Macaroni Arena and leaving with 3 points is nowhere near as easy as it sounds, with only St. Johnstone managing to achieve what neither Celtic or Rangers could during their visits. McInnes set up Aberdeen in an unfamiliar shape which I’m told mirrors Livingston’s 3-4-3. However, it took 70 minutes, and more specifically the incoming substitution of James Wilson for Bruce Anderson to ignite this game. His opener seemed to inspire both sides, and Aberdeen looked vulnerable before some pinball gave them a second. Classic tragic defending from Aberdeen enabled Ryan Hardie to pull one back in the 89th minute, but that was to be the end of the action. Highlights. So here’s how the Premiership table looks going into the winter break, with only 3 points separating the top 4, and 1 point between the top 3! Hamilton, St. Mirren and Dundee look like they will spend the rest of the season fighting between each other for safety.
If your Christmas schedule meant you couldn’t make it to Pittodrie, or you don’t have a BT Sport subscription to watch this or Celtic v Real Madrid, you might have chosen to stream what looked to be the glamour tie of the Boxing Day fixtures. Rangers really not doing themselves any favours against those who say they care more about Celtic than themselves there. When you see a scoreline like this on Boxing Day, you have to assume that at least someone on the pitch has a deathly hangover. For Aberdeen, this appeared to be Andrew Considine, and for Celtic, this appeared to be referee Willie Collum. Considine’s poor positioning meant Callum McGregor could play a dangerous ball into the 6 yard box, and when Aberdeen’s own dangerous Ball, Dominic, failed to clear, Scott Sinclair could open the scoring with just 5 minutes played. Niall McGinn being caught late by Emiliano Izaguirre meant Stevie May could equalise before half-time from the penalty spot. Then, in the final 15 minutes of the second half, the game went a bit mad. Considine was completely and comprehensively beaten for pace by James Forrest, who managed to play in Sinclair for his second. 5 minutes later, Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie took a dive in the Celtic box, and everyone’s favourite referee, Willie Collum, saw it fit to award the hosts a second penalty, which Ballon D’Or Cosgrove duly converted. It only took Celtic 3 minutes to respond, Odsonne Edouard doing brilliantly to chip the ball over Joe Lewis, and Sinclair grabbed his hattrick two minutes later to make it 2-4. Fergie time saw Lewis Ferguson turn in yet another set-piece, but as the final chance of the game fell to James Wilson, he volleyed over. Celtic go 3 points clear at the top, Aberdeen fall to 4th. Highlights.
Heartbreak for St. Mirren, who had effectively neutralised a lot of St. Johnstone’s creativity, but could not hold out. Minutes after Chris Kane missed the clearest chance of the game, Tony Watt was in position for St. Johnstone to head home the winner. It looks like St. Johnstone will be without Murray Davidson for Saturday’s Tayside derby with Dundee, after he picked up an injury in the first half. St. Mirren will hope to get at least a point at Kilmarnock on Saturday, whilst praying that St. Johnstone win their fixture, in order to go into the new year off the bottom of the table. Highlights.
All credit to Kilmarnock, after being humbled by Celtic they could very easily have had a Hearts-like implosion, but have kept steady, and taken 7 points out of 9 since. In the same time, Motherwell have yet to register a point. A strange first half told the story of this game, with Motherwell having to use all 3 substitutes to replace players with head injuries. Charles Dunne and Carl McHugh both sustained bad concussions as they clashed heads 10 minutes in, and, shortly after the latter was replaced by Christian Mbulu, Mbulu had to be taken off with a suspected detached retina. All 3 ended up in hospital, with Dunne the first to be discharged. Jordan Jones opened this season’s account for Kilmarnock after his 40th-minute cross had the beating of everybody, including the Motherwell goalkeeper, and Motherwell lost striker Curtis Main to a second yellow card, meaning they finished with 10 men, and a dearth of attacking options on account of their lack of substitutes. Highlights.
Hearts’ shocking record of late has left Craig Levein unusually quiet, but this match has (hopefully) seen a return to form for both him and his side. Indeed the reigning champion of the Scottish Bampot of the Year Awards has found himself a new manager to antagonise - this time it’s Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes. After the 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie, Levein complained about the penalty decision that gave the hosts their second, as well as a number of decisions he felt went unfairly in their favour. McInnes brushed this off as “standard with Craig and Hearts” which prompted Levein to call him a dick, adding that McInnes was “crying like a baby” over the phone to him about refereeing decisions the other week. Since, McInnes has taken the high road, saying Levein is “irrational and childish” in a late attempt to secure Understatement of the Year. Will continue to monitor this situation, as Derek has seemed to issue a challenge by saying “If that’s his best retort, all day long I am happy with that." More to follow no doubt. Steven Naismith really could not have returned too early for Hearts, and he was the man who opened the scoring for Hearts with a beautiful curled effort. Arnaud Djoum drilled in the second on the stroke of half time, and despite Hearts missing several chances, including a penalty that arguably shouldn’t have been. Sean Want was sent off for a second yellow after he pulled Naismith back when the Hearts striker nicked the ball off him. Accies have a crucial derby with 9th placed Motherwell at the weekend, only 3 points will do. Highlights.
Championship Round Relegation Round No action in the lower leagues yesterday. Saturday is derby day! Old Firm, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire and Tayside derbies in the Premiership; the Highland, Kincardine and Southwest derbies in the Championship; two Angus derbies in League One and the other Glasgow and Highland derbies in League Two! Check out /ScottishFootball for good patter and discussion of the SPFL Last week’s matches were rounded up here: https://www.reddit.com/soccecomments/a996ce/fitba_roundup_spfl_gameweek_19/? ● data from soccerway.com ● mods when is soccerbot coming back
It’s Christmas Eve and the halfway point in this season’s Scottish Premiership! Hope you’ve all stocked up on milk and mince pies to leave out for Kris Boyd tonight, let’s review this week’s fixtures, and have a (brief) wider look at the season so far!
Something very strange is afoot. Initially you might think it’s perhaps a bit strange that defender Andy Considine scored a brace for Aberdeen here, but in the reverse of this fixture in 2017 he scored a hattrick, so it can’t be that. No, something much, much stranger. Is… Sam Cosgrove… actually… good? I’ll refrain from giving my judgement until after the Hearts game, but he did score twice in the first half to open the scoring, and see the Dons into half-time 2-0 up. Considine headed in just 4 minutes into the second half, before Connor McLennan, who has stood in for Gary Mackay-Steven excellently following the latter’s head injury, made it 4-0. Whilst Calvin Miller was on hand to ruin Aberdeen’s clean sheet, Considine rose tallest at a corner again, and managed to turn it in at the second time of asking. 20 meetings between these two sides without an Aberdeen defeat, grim viewing for those who got on the train up from Dundee yet again - this result sees them fall to bottom of the table on goal difference. At least there was a moment which all the Scottish football family could enjoy - the best “heid it back” of the season, courtesy of a woman in the Aberdeen Main Stand. Highlights.
If you look at the replies to Celtic’s twitter when announcing the lineup for this match, you might see confusion and dismay at the inclusion of once highly-rated Anthony Ralston, who Neymar refused to swap shirts with after he was bammed up all night by the then 18 year old. Of course what then happened was that Ralston scored the opener, and followed Christie as another of Celtic’s unused talents showing up when needed. Celtic had to delve deeper into their talent catalogue, as their now-only senior striker, 20 year-old Odsonne Edouard, was forced off through injury. Scott Sinclair doubled the lead from the penalty spot after James Forrest, who gave us this photo worthy of iniestarodeado.com, was scythed down by Dunne. Shortly after 19 year-old Mikey Johnston came on to replace Edouard, he was on the scoresheet too, meaning Celtic went into the break 3-0 up, with the second half seeing no goals. Motherwell rarely threatened, and there is a growing feeling that the two cup finals of last season have neatly papered over some real cracks in their foundations. Highlights.
Alfredo Morelos returning to the Rangers lineup after suspension (duh) suggested that we might see a few goals in this match, but it was not to be. Adam Bogdan replaced Ofir Marciano very early in the game, and, no doubt to the surprise of Liverpool fans, was actually rather good, denying several clear chances for Rangers. Ryan Porteous put in a second brilliant performance in a row, but was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after a Classic Porteous ‘Enthusiastic’ Tackle™ on Lassana Coulibaly. Rangers hand over the top spot to Celtic with this result. Highlights here.
Having scored his first goal for Celtic just a few days earlier, and with Edouard still needing a break on account of his injury, Mikey Johnston started up front for the league leaders, and repaid the faith shown in him with not one but two goals! Johnston also hit the bar, and Ralston, who also made another start, hit the post. Dundee were clearly playing for a point from the offset, but Filip Benkovic made sure that was well out of their reach 70 minutes in after he capitalised on a spilled save. Celtic go into Christmas at the top of the table. Highlights.
What a win this is for St Mirren, what a loss this is for Motherwell. The Buddies are now only two points behind Hamilton, and have the opportunity to overtake before New Year. Motherwell just couldn’t get going in this fixture, and Curtis Main’s late miss just about summed up their evening, with Simeon Jackson’s 68th minute goal the difference between the two sides at the end. I really hope St. Mirren go on a run of form, because every time I think about Oran Kearney quitting his full-time job as a teacher to become manager, only to lose 9 games in a row or whatever it was after drawing Celtic, I get really sad. This defeat should be a real cause for concern for Motherwell. Highlights.
Sky Sports, the new home of Scottish football, have reassured us that they are totally committed to improved coverage of the Scottish game, despite a) saying this game was at Tynecastle instead of Pittodrie, and b) informing me that, contrary to what I believed before, Aberdeen actually won the League Cup. Craig Levein was also in the business of reassuring everyone, using his pre-match press conference to confirm that he is indeed still a proper da. Anyway, none of that matters, because what is important is that Sam Cosgrove has 6 goals in 4 games. When Cosgrove joined Aberdeen, his first action was to be sent-off minutes into his debut for a horrendous tackle on Scott Brown. In fact, the next 16 games of his Aberdeen career, and indeed several games after that, all boiled down to contributions that could be described as ‘horrendous’. The man was to football what a 4 year-old is to ice-skating. There was no moment in which I observed him and thought - even for a moment - that he had a clue where the ball would go when he made contact with it. Each touch saw the ball spin violently off his cricket-bat legs into the face of every watching supporter. My confusion at his continued selection turned to rage, which turned to grief, which turned to acceptance. And with this acceptance, Sam Cosgrove found his place - both in the Aberdeen team and in my heart. His touch has grown confident and controlled, he held up play quite well, and showed competence when flicking the ball on in the air. Now, the goals are coming too, and I don’t know what to do. The feeling I get at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life has returned in the shape of Brock Lesnar and Peter Crouch’s lovechild. It’s a Christmas miracle. Cosgrove scored once in each half to give Aberdeen a fourth win on the bounce, and himself cult hero status. Demetri Mitchell was sent off with just 5 minutes left to play, compounding his miserable afternoon. Highlights.
Hibs were just not at it again here. They completely tore apart Celtic just a week ago, and either they’re still fatigued, or Celtic really were shite, because Hibs have been so slack since then, despite this result seeing them 5 games unbeaten. Livingston’s away form has been the antithesis of their home form, and they ended a run of four away defeats in a row thanks to Ryan Hardie’s 4th goal of the season. Ryan Porteous, about whom I am running out of things to say, got on the end of Daryl Horgan’s cross in the 80th minute to equalise. Highlights here.
For all my criticism of Sky, BBC hit out with the stat before this game “Hamilton have lost their past nine games against Kilmarnock in the Premiership (D4 L5)”, although in fairness a lot of Hamilton’s draws would look like losses to the naked eye. Eamonn Brophy’s return to New Douglas Park saw him open the scoring 7 minutes in, and antagonise the home support with his celebration, but Mikkel Miller’s penalty half an hour later meant both the first half and the match ended 1-1. Highlights.
NOT CLICKBAIT: THIS 22 YEAR-OLD JUST SAVED CHRISTMAS FOR RANGERS FANS A visit to McDiarmid Park afforded Rangers the opportunity to show off their staunch orange third kit, but the occasion looked to be marred as Matty Kennedy gave the hosts the lead on the stroke of half time. Step up: Alfredo Morelos. He nodded home to equalise 65 minutes in, and, following James Tavernier’s cross, volleyed in the winner with just two minutes to play. This prompted 6, maybe 7 Rangers fans to jump the fence and celebrate with the players, much to the anger of the St. Johnstone twitter admin. Saints are unlucky that, despite going 8 games unbeaten, they find themselves in 8th place at Christmas. Rangers keep up the pace, and finish the first half of their season in 2nd. Highlights here. So, the league seems almost split into three groups of four, but that could all have changed by New Year.
Massively arbitrary, functionally useless, and guaranteed only to discredit me (and anyone else who should weigh in), I thought it might be fun to follow in BT’s footsteps and ask: if the season ended today, who would make up your team of the season? GK:Liam Kelly (Livingston) At only 22 years old, Kelly’s first season in the top flight with Livingston has seen him establish himself as a goalkeeper who will be playing at least at Premiership level for years to come. His Livingston side have conceded the least goals outside the Old Firm, thanks in part to some fantastic saves he’s made. A Scotland call-up must be in the post. Worth mentioning: Alan McGregor (Rangers), Zander Clark (St. Johnstone) Okay, I’ll admit it. Alan McGregor has, in all fairness, been the best goalkeeper in Scotland this season, and were it not for him and Morelos at the other end, Rangers would not be close to 2nd place at Christmas. However, I still think he should have been banned for at least a few games on more than one occasion this season, and am quite bitter that that never transpired. Zander Clark kept 7 clean sheets in a row as St. Johnstone keeper, and is another relatively young goalie who will no-doubt have earned a Scotland call-up in the near future. DEF:James Tavernier (Rangers) With 6 goals (albeit 5 from penalties), and leading the assist rankings with 8, including yesterday’s match-winner, Tavernier is providing everything you could want in an attacking full-back. He’s come under a lot of criticism for his defensive contributions over the years, but in a Rangers side with the second-best defence in the league, he has to be one of the first names on the team-sheet. Worth mentioning: Stephen O’Donnell (Kilmarnock) After making a name for himself last season, O’Donnell still looks like he has what it takes to be the man to fill the problem-position of right-back in the Scotland squad. His competition seems to be an out-of-position Kieran Tierney, or Callum Paterson, who is now playing as a striker for Cardiff. DEF:Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) This one speaks for itself, Celtic with and without Boyata this season have been two completely different teams. He downed tools and feigned injury in an attempt to force a move from Parkhead at the beginning of the season, but when called upon in Celtic’s hour of need has proven reliable, if not exceptional. Will be very interesting to see if he goes after his move away again in January - and if he does leave, how Celtic will cope. Worth mentioning: Ryan Porteous (Hibs), Peter Haring (Hearts) Porteous, at 19, has come into a Hibs side whose footballing philosophy was “it doesn’t matter if they score 5 if we score 7” and stood out as an extremely competent defender. Loves a proper heavy tackle too, much to the dismay of opposition fans. Haring has had an absolute nightmare in December, as has everyone in a Hearts strip, but throughout this season has found himself in advanced positions in midfield and the opposition penalty area, and has contributed with a handful of goals. DEF:Craig Halkett (Livingston) Halkett has been the keystone in the Livingston defensive unit, and captains the most surprising team of this season. When you consider that Livi were probably the favourites to go straight back down to the Championship, their defensive record is nothing short of incredible. Alongside Declan Gallagher and Alan Lithgow, Halkett has shone, and has contributed goals both from the penalty spot and from set-piece situations. Another player who would not be out of his depth in a Scotland shirt. Worth mentioning: Filip Benkovic (Celtic) Leicester really do have themselves a great player here. Next to Boyata, Benkovic has been imperious in Celtic’s defence, and Celtic fans will shudder at the thought of what might have been had he not joined on loan - it may well have prevented total disaster. I would like to see what Marvin Compper is made of, mind. A million pounds and he’s never played. DEF:Kieran Tierney (Celtic) Another self-explanatory Celtic defender. Scotland arguably have only a single player capable of playing at the most elite level (Andy Robertson), but if he were injured, I wouldn’t be worried about replacing him, because Tierney really is excellent. I just wish he’d stop being linked with teams like Fulham, the sky is the limit for him. Worth mentioning: Max Lowe (Aberdeen) Unfortunately for Aberdeen, Derby County want Max Lowe back as depth for their left-back position, so he will rejoin in January. He’s excelled in Scotland. and has put in several man-of-the-match performances at Pittodrie. He’d be welcomed back anytime. MID:Callum McGregor (Celtic) The brief absence of the ubiquitous Scott Brown from the Celtic midfield afforded Callum McGregor the opportunity to play in a deeper role, and it turns out he completely thrives there. Many viewed Brown as one of the best players in Scotland last season, but McGregor has made the position his own - in fact this change may have been the kiss of life for Celtic’s season. Worth mentioning: David Turnbull (Motherwell) Okay, no-one’s genuinely going to suggest he should make team of the season, but 19 year old David Turnbull has come into a Motherwell team not exactly known for playing an attractive brand of football and been one of the few positive notes in a so-far poor season. Rumours suggest Southampton are looking to take him on as his contract runs down, but he should certainly be on the radar of any Scottish team looking for an attack-minded, creative midfielder. MID:Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) Another 19 year old, Lewis Ferguson made a handful of appearances for Hamilton in his debut season as a professional last year. His joining of Aberdeen on a ‘free’ transfer sparked some controversy, with Accies reportedly demanding around £1.25m compensation, and whilst it’s understood the final settlement was around the £250k mark, if Aberdeen had been made to pay the extra million, he would have been worth it. Ferguson’s divine interventions have been the turning point in games so often throughout the season, often occurring right at the death of the match -hence “Fergie time”. He’s adapted from his role as an attacking midfielder to a deeper role alongside Graeme Shinnie, and is thriving. Worth mentioning: Scott Pittman (Livingston) 4 years ago Scott Pittman was resurfacing roads as a junior at Bo’ness United, 7 months ago he scored in the play-off final as Livingston relegated Partick Thistle to take their place in the Premiership, and currently he is a creative force in the Livi side that put 5 past Hearts in 15 minutes. MID:Ryan Christie (Celtic) As Ryan Christie entered October without having been afforded much of an opportunity to make an impact at Celtic, having returned from a two-year loan at Aberdeen, there was an understanding that he probably wasn’t going to cut it at Celtic, and would leave at the end of his contract in summer, or indeed in January. Flash forward 2 months, and Christie has scored the winning goal in the League Cup final, against Aberdeen, and is completely undroppable from one of the most dangerous midfields we’ve seen in the Rodgers era of Celtic. He’s since been rewarded with a new contract, and a Scotland call-up in which he was vital in securing the Nations League Group C1 victory. Worth mentioning: Tom Rogic (Celtic) Rogic is the third prong in the aforementioned Celtic midfield, and despite the likes of Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham waiting in the wings (or on the bench as the case may be), Tam Zidane isn’t losing his spot any time soon. His involvement in the Asian Cup with Australia will be a huge blow for Celtic, despite the strength in depth they have in midfield. FWD:James Forrest (Celtic) The nae neck Neymar, the Prestwick Pelé, the Ayrshire Amancio: James Forrest is Scotland’s hero after his brace against Albania and hattrick vs Israel won us our Nations League group. Off the international stage, he has been consistently brilliant for Celtic. 13 direct contributions to goal in the Premiership so far sees him only outscored by Tavernier and Morelos in that regard, he may well be a shout for player of the year. Worth mentioning: Daniel Candeias (Rangers) Candeias and Tavernier are a dream right-wing for both Rangers supporters and Steven Gerrard - an ability to consistently provide dangerous crosses towards Alfredo Morelos whilst developing his own scoring touch has seen Candeias become vital to Rangers’ build-up. FWD:Greg Stewart (Kilmarnock) Stewart has undergone some sort of renaissance in Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock side, netting 8 goals and providing 4 assists after looking a bit fat and useless at Aberdeen the season prior. Playing off the equally potent Eamonn Brophy, Stewart has been crucial to the Killie side that have continued to upset the top 3 of recent years. Worth mentioning: Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) Without providing the same numbers, Jordan Jones has been as integral to the Kilmarnock attack as Stewart or Brophy. The first thing you’ll get when you type his name into google is “dive”, so he has attracted his fair share of critics, but his performances this season have earned him even more admirers. FWD:Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) El Bufalo is an absolutely mental bastard. Any striker who has been booked 7 times and sent-off twice at this stage in the season would almost always be considered nothing more than a liability, but Morelos has dragged Rangers to second place with 11 goals and 4 assists in his 17 appearances so far. Rangers are an entirely different side without him, and he seems to have shaken his predisposition to missing sitters - have to assume the pressure of knowing Umar Sadiq was coming for his spot was enough to light a fire under his erse. If he sorts out his temper he’ll be something else - but maybe that is what makes him great in the first place. Worth mentioning: Steven Naismith (Hearts) Hearts’ season totally fell apart when Naismith was injured in the League Cup semi-final. Before then, they were top of the table thanks in part to his 7 goals, and looked like they would have the beating of any team. So, that’s my team of the half-season. Agree? Disagree? Have I missed anyone out? Let me know what you think. I’d also be keen to see any more devout followers of the lower divisions’ teams at this stage.
Arbroath’s unbeaten start to their League One campaign was finally halted by 2nd placed Raith, breathing a bit of life into a title race that looked like it might already be settled. First half goals from Daniel Armstrong and Liam Buchanan went unanswered as Arbroath played the entire second half with 10 men, following a second booking for Gavin Swankie in stoppage time. As we approach the halfway point, Ross County, Arbroath and Edinburgh City occupy the top spots in the lower divisions, whilst Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and Albion Rovers take up the bottom spaces. If soccerbot were still here I’d do full tables, but since it’s not, to do so would take me about 2 hours, so I’m not going to. BONUS:Here’s an official match update from Lowland League Champions Spartans FC. For reference, a jobby is something you’d sit down on the toilet for.
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