Written by @northcurverising
With Arsenal seeming to be the laughing stock of England at the moment and Arsène Wenger looking out of his depth, could this be an opportunity for current Celtic and ex-Liverpool Brendan Rodgers to get back in the mix of the Premier League?
The Northern Irishman has done an excellent job at the Scottish Champions as he had qualified for the Champions League two seasons in a row, has only lost two domestic games and is still on for another domestic treble.
I think it’s safe to say that majority of Arsenal fans want rid of the Frenchman after he has been at the north London outfit for almost 22 years.
Brendan Rodgers is still a young manager with a lot of potential and he has shown that in England already - he came just a few points off of winning the title with Liverpool.
However, Rodgers does have his faults, for example in Europe he still tries to play the same passing football that he plays in the Ladbrokes Premiership. What is effective against teams like Ross County or Hamilton Academical is hardly going to be effective against the likes of PSG or Bayern Munich (no disrespect to any of the clubs). My point is he just doesn’t have a plan B which I vital for any manager.
The Northern Irishman has publicly dispelled rumours that he may leave Celtic and claims he is still buzzing to be at the hoops.
What do you think, would Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers be good at the Gunners?
Written by @transferfeed
Pittodrie has seen it’s fair share of great Aberdeen teams & moments since the Dons formation in 1903. The Gothenburg Greats who won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup & Scottish Cup double in 1983 also going onto win the UEFA Super Cup, the clubs first ever honour in 1946 lifting the Scottish Cup, the Scottish Cup & League Cup double in 1990 - although since the turn of the millennium things haven’t been great for the Dandy Dons. In fact the only major honour they’ve managed to secure this century is the 2014 Scottish League Cup & apart that their biggest achievement has been putting the pressure on Celtic during the Ronny Deila days.
Their fortunes could finally be changing again with their £50m new Stadium & new training facility plan approved by councillors with a 32-9 majority vote. After the Red Army’s 18 year search for a new home they could finally be getting their move to the West of the city at their new reportedly 25,000 seater Kingsford Stadium.
In an interview with BT Sport Dons chairman Stewart Milne said that he has aspirations for the Dons to be in the top 100 clubs in Europe (they currently sit 235th, not far behind Romanian side CFR Cluj) with Milne also saying to do so they will need to start qualifying for European competitions & competing at a higher level domestically, in which he believes will happen if their plans for a new state of the art stadium & training facilities go ahead.
Although Aberdeen look set to start construction on their new stadium it has caused some tension within the local area with an organisation called “No Kingsford Stadium” being set up to protest against the proposed move.
A statement from the organisation after Aberdeen’s plans were approved by Aberdeen council said: "No Kingsford Stadium has worked tirelessly to prevent the approval of this application. We have shown that the application is contrary to the development plan. It is our view that council officials and councillors have failed in their duty to apply the law in this case and we will now progress our petition for judicial review." There is still doubt on wether construction will go ahead with protestors still in their numbers & Aberdeenshire council having objected to the plans at first.
Goalscorer Adam Rooney was in favour of the plans & had this to say on the new facilities: "You kind of expect a top club to have top-of-the-range facilities - it's kind of a given at most clubs.
It plays a massive part, especially nowadays. Whether it's down in England or at a lot of the top Scottish clubs, they all have their own training ground.
Hibs, Rangers, Celtic, whoever - they all have top-class facilities and it's something we lack here and really do need. A lot of the lads we're bringing up from England are coming from clubs who have their own training ground, their own indoor facilities. It's very important for the youth team especially, if they want to do extra. I always remember when I was a kid, you'd be staying out for an extra hour or two after training to do extra work and practice different things, just because you could. Whereas here, we've all got to jump on minibuses on-time because all the lads have to get back and it's hard to do any extra. I think it'll play a massive part in the future, not just for attracting players from down south or elsewhere, but also for the young lads.”
State of the art facilities would definitely help the game in Scotland & if Milne’s aspirations of making Aberdeen a powerhouse in Europe again come true then who knows how far it can go!
Aberdeen currently sit 8 points off of Celtic at the top of the table with Derek McInness’ men having dismantled Hamilton 3-0 today.
Do you think a move would help Aberdeen or will it be a big bust?
Written by @samjsneddon
After a nice comfortable break at the beginning of the New Year, we saw some fantastic games in the top tier of Scottish football - Rangers came away with an excellent 2-0 win over Aberdeen - completing a 3/3 win record for Graeme Murty-, Celtic got a 2-1 win over Partick Thistle after a penalty decision and a 70th minute goal and Hearts kept it goalless until 67 minutes into the game before two goals at 73' and 87' against Hamilton Accies. Now it's time for the second week of football as the teams try to settle into the normal routine.
Aberdeen vs Kilmarnock (KO: 15:00)
Aberdeen host in-form Kilmarnock today at Pittodrie where both sides surprisingly will be hoping to take the 3 points. This comes as a surprise to long-term Scottish Football fans as Kilmarnock are pretty much relegation dodgers - finishing between 9-11th most seasons since 1993. Now, though, things may be on the change. A very rocky start to the season saw them dead last in the league and manager Lee McCulloch sacked. The appointment of Chelsea number 2, Steve Clarke, has shown well for Killie - 5/11 wins and 4 draws with two 1-1 ties against Rangers and Celtic showing well for the new man.
Aberdeen will be hoping to see a win today after a 0-2 loss to Rangers, a game where the Dons struggled to dominate for a total of 10 minutes.
The last time these two sides met, it resulted in a 1-3 away win for Aberdeen, where goalscorer Jordan Jones saw a sending off.
I think it'll be another win for Aberdeen today - 2-1 home win.
Celtic vs Hibernian (KO: 15:00)
Hibs travel to Glasgow today for another game against title holders, Celtic. These sides have already met 3 times this season, twice in the league. The last time this fixture was played it resulted in a 2-2 draw but I don't think it'll be quite the same.
Celtic are still the dominant force in Scottish football, despite already dropping 15 points and having their unbeaten run snatched by Hearts in a game that ended with four goals to nil.
Hibs have had a decent run in the league recently but nothing too spectacular. Recent form has been below average - a draw with Kilmarnock then knocked out of the Scottish Cup by fierce rivals, Hearts and a narrow 1-0 win against Dundee.
It looks like a clear win for Celtic, but only if Celtic are willing to improve their own form. I predict Celtic 3-1 Hibernian.
Hamilton Academical vs Dundee (KO: 15:00)
It's Accies vs Dundee today, 9th against 10th.
Despite being lower in the league, I think Dundee can get the three points and overtake today's opponents. It might even be a draw.
I think it'll be a 1-2 away victory for Dundee.
Hearts of Midlothian vs Motherwell (KO: 15:00)
5th placed Hearts today take on Motherwell, who sit below them, with a 6 point gap. It's likely a clear winner for the Jam Tarts.
4-1 to Hearts looks likely.
St. Johnstone vs Partick Thistle (KO: 15:00)
St Johnstone host Partick thistle today and I think the Saints will take a 2-0 win over the eleventh placed Partick.
That concludes Saturday's games, all of which begin at 3:00 PM.
Moving on to the television highlight -
Ross County vs Rangers (KO: 14:00) - Sky Sports Main Event.
Rangers travel to Dingwall on Sunday to face bottom-placed Ross County.
County, who have only won 4 games this season, and have suffered 2 losses to Rangers already, look like the clear losers. Could they even be looking at playing in the Championship next season?
Another thing that I thought was worth mentioning is the likely appearance of County's new boy - Inih Effiong. The interesting thing about this man is he got out of jail short of three years ago. He spent most of his childhood and teen life involved in gangs and knife crime before his friend was murdered, he ended up with a life of adulthood crime and found himself in the wraths of the law frequently. He found himself, at age 23, locked up for a drugs bus for 3 months. Three years later, he claims he's turned his life around and is ready to kickstart his career again with the Staggies.
Rangers have moved into days of better form than earlier in the season and will be hoping for that to continue. Before the new year, Rangers saw a win against Motherwell and a goalless draw in the Old Firm, a game in which they dominated. The Gers then moved on to play in the Florida Cup, where we saw a 1-0 win against Atletico Mineiro and a stunning comeback 4-2 win over Brazilian giants, Corinthians. They kickstarted the new year off with a dominant 2-0 home win against Aberdeen, making Graeme Murty unbeaten against them.
Rangers will be hoping for a win tomorrow and are expected to do so. If they can get a 3-1 victory, it will be very well deserved.
That's all for Matchday 24 of the first phase of the SPL. Let me know your predictions by tweeting me @samjsneddon.
Written by @transferfeed
Scottish Cup week is upon us! Scottish Premiership clubs enter the oldest association football tournament in this round with two derbies inside the Premiership lined up in the Lanarkshire Derby (Motherwell vs Hamilton Academical) & the Edinburgh Derby (Heart of Midlothian vs Hibernian.)
Formatine United vs Cove Rangers, Peterhead vs Dumbarton Athletic & Livingston vs Falkirk have all been postponed due to bad weather.
Let’s take a closer look at each fixture!
Aberdeen vs St Mirren (Sat, 12:15, BBC)
Last years runners up take on Championship high flyers St Mirren in a very interesting affair. The Dons currently sit 2nd in the Premiership, only 8 points off of leaders Celtic whilst the Buddies sit top of the Championship 8 points from second placed Dundee United although the Tangerines have a game in hand. Lewis Morgan is definitely one to watch with the young former Rangers academy graduate having scored 13 goals in 28 games this season also chipping in with 7 assists. Morgan has recently been picked up by Scottish Champions Celtic for a fee of £300k with an immediate loan back to the Saints for the rest of the season. Aberdeen’s danger man also comes in the form of a Hoops player, this time attacking midfielder Ryan Christie who has scored 5 goals & 8 assists in 25 games.
Ayr United vs Arbroath (Sat, 15:00)
In another close affair 2nd placed in League One, Ayr United take on 3rd placed, Arbroath. Just two weeks ago Arbroath beat Ayr 2-1 in the league with the Honest Men losing with man to spare. Former Aberdeen player Lawrence Shankland has scored 7 goals in 7 Ladbrokes League One games this season, that’s 81 minutes per goal for Ayr this season! Ronaldo has scored 3 less goals in La Liga this season in 680 more minutes. Ok maybe the Spanish top flight is of a standard more competitive than the Scottish 3rd flight but it’s incredible that Shankland is achieving goal scoring feats CR7 could only dream of this season!
Motherwell vs Hamilton Academical (Sat, 15:00)
The Lanarkshire debry! Motherwell’s new reinforcements Nadir Ciftci (on loan from Celtic) & Curtis Main may be thrown in the deep end due to star striker Louis Moult packing his bags for Preston North End. A similar situation has occurred at the Accies with Greg Docherty failing to make Hamilton’s match day squad amidst speculation of a move to Rangers. The last time these two met was a 2-1 away win in the league for Motherwell. The Steelmen currently sit one place & one point ahead of Hamilton with the sides in 8th & 9th place in the Premiership respectively.
Dundee vs Inverness Caledonian Thistle (Sat, 15:00)
Premiership side Dundee take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup tomorrow! Caley Thistle have won their last two games scoring a combined 7 goals whilst Dundee’s last two games being a 2-0 win over St Johnstone & a 2-0 loss to Celtic although that being nearly a month ago due to the Premiership’s winter break. One to Watch for this game is definitely Riccardo Calder after his MOTM performance in Caledonian Thistle’s last outing against Queen of the South.
East Fife vs Brora Rangers (Sat, 15:00)
After Brora Rangers, who currently sit 7th in the Highland League, shocked 5th placed Ladbrokes League One side Stranraer in the 3rd round of the Scottish Cup they will now he looking to perform a double shock against 6th place East Fife. East Fife have been on patchy form recently although their last game was a 1-0 win over Alloa Athletic.
Alloa Athletic vs Dundee United (Sat, 15:00)
Although United are the clear favourites for this game they have been shocking in their last two games considering the standards they have set this season. A 0-0 draw in their last game with Dunfermline Athletic & a 6-1, yes 6-1 loss to 9th placed Falkirk has saw Dundee United go 8 points adrift of top spot with the Tangerines possibly slipping up once again against Alloa Athletic.
Celtic vs Brechin City (Sat, 15:00)
Celtic have lost one time domestically in the last two season whilst Brechin City currently sit rock bottom of the Championship with 3 points & 0 wins. It’s a real part time vs prime time, David vs Goliath. Celtic are currently experiencing a mini injury crisis with Jonny Hayes, Patrick Roberts, Tom Rogic, Marvin Compper, Anthony Ralston & Leigh Griffiths all out through injury. Although the physio table is looking crowded at Celtic Park they should certainly have enough to see of Brechin City, whose biggest achievement in their history is either winning the 3rd tier of Scottish football or the Challenge Cup. It will need to be a freak game if the Scottish Cup holders are to be put out in their preliminary round although freak games have happened in the Hoops recent history including a 2-1 loss to Clyde in the 2006 Scottish Cup 3rd round. Clyde only had two players signed to a professional contract that season whilst Celtic were off the bat of a 1-1 draw against Barcelona the season before.
Kilmarnock vs Ross County (Sat, 15:00)
Killie will be going into this game full of confidence with Steve Clarke transforming the side & brining in former English Premier League talent including Youssouf Mulumbu, who has been phenomenal since joining the club. County currently sit bottom, 3 points off of the relegation play-offs whilst Kilmarnock are bang on mid table. Clarke won the most recent Manager of the Month award for the Labdrokes Premiership, the December edition!
Queen of the South vs Partick Thistle (Sat, 15:00)
An unpredictable match up between 5th placed Championship side Queen of the South & 11 placed Premiership side relegation play-off Partick Thistle. Thistle took a blow last week with Coventry City recalling Jordan Turnbull from his loan spell at the Jags with manager Alan Archibald saying Thistle are in the hunt for defenders yesterday whilst Queens confirmed the signing of Kyle Cameron on a 6 month loan from Newcastle United yesterday.
Dunfermline Athletic vs Greenock Morton (Sat, 15:00)
Going into this game The Ton haven’t won in 4 outings whilst the Pars impressively drew 0-0 with Dundee United last time out. Dunfermline currently sit 3rd in the Championship going into this game as favourites with Morton 7th. Morton’s new recruitment in defence Canadian international & former Rangers player Luca Gasparotto will be hoping to hit the ground running whilst Dunfermline left midfielder Joe Cardle has been on fine form this season scoring 7 & assisting 5 in 18 games.
Albion Rovers vs St Johnstone (Sat, 15:00)
The Wee Rovers have a tough test on their hands when Perth side St Johnstone come to visit on Saturday. Rovers haven’t recorded a W in their last 4 outings whilst fans are split on Tommy Wright at McDiarmid Park with the Saints currently sitting 7th in the Premiership. Keep your eyes on young Albion striker Conor Shields who scored 3 goals in 4 Betfred Cup matches this season & has attracted interest from Watford & Aston Villa.
Fraserburgh vs Rangers (Sun, 12:00, Sky Sports)
In Rangers last game they drew 0-0 with Celtic at Celtic Park whilst Fraserburgh drew 2-2 with Inverurie Loco Works... It’s an achievement for the Broch just to be at this stage in the tournament & to be the first ever Highland League club to have a game televised live but they won’t stop there & will be looking to salvage something from their game against a team 4 divisions above them. Fraserburgh will take inspiration from their historic 1-0 win over Dundee way back in 1959. Rangers currently sit 3rd in the Scottish Premiership whilst Fraserburgh are 2nd in the Highland League looking for promotion to Ladbrokes League 2 for the first time in the clubs history. Broch player Ryan Christie, not to be confused with his namesake at Celtic (on loan at Aberdeen), has put in several solid performances this season whilst Premiership top scorer Alfredo Morelos could he key for Rangers alongside new signings Sean Goss, Russel Martin & Jason Cummings.
Heart of Midlothian vs Hibernian (Sun, 14:05, Sky Sports)
Edinburgh Derby time! Just like to say if you made it to this point in the article you won’t be disappointed as we’ve got a real crunch clash! The Jambos will be looking to get their first win against the Hibees in the Scottish Cup in 6 years with new arrival Steven Naismith likely to start. John McGinn will be a key figure in this fixture with Sam Stanton off to Dundee United & Anthony Stokes looking unlikely to play due to a move to Charlton Athletic or Poland looking likely. Craig Levein’s could seek out a certain Harry Cochrane to steal the show with the 17 year old being the star man in Hearts 4-0 win over Celtic last year ending the Bhoys 69 game unbeaten run. Hearts haven’t won in a Tynecastle Edinburgh Derby in 9 years. Hopefully this game doesn’t bore us all to tears like the last encounter between these 2 sides back in December with Simon Murray’s disallowed goal being probably the only clear cut chance off the game.
Don’t want to miss any of the Scottish Cup action? Tune into Sportsscene on BBC One Scotland or simply keep updated with all the scores via my Instagram @transferfeed!
DM me your thoughts on the Scottish Cup 4th Round!
Written by @northcurverising
One of the most debated topics in world football is how would Scottish champions Celtic do down south in the Premier League. The money that England get for TV deals like sky sports, BT sports etc. is believed to be around £70,000,000 to £100,000,00 which demolishes the deal in Scotland that is £2,500,000.
If Celtic were given this kind of money would they be a top six side? Well let me give you some facts on the hoops. Celtic Football Club have a support bigger than probably more than half of the team in the English Premier League, the “Bhoys” also have a stadium bigger than 16/20 teams with their small budget.
Celtic have had some remarkable results in recent times against English clubs like drawing 3-3 with a high flying Manchester City side, which Celtic took the lead three times that night, and also getting a draw in City’s own back yard, 1-1, which was a very fair result.
Here is what one of the greatest ever managers in football, Sir Alex Ferguson. had to say about Celtic in the Premier League: “Within five years they’d be knocking on the door of the top four and quite possibly winning the league.” For the money that Scottish football gets, the resources that Celtic and Rangers have are incredible and if they had all of the money that teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United etc. they, IMO, without a doubt would find their feet and be a scary team to face.
Here is what Arsenal legend and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson had to say about Celtic in the Premier League: “It would be interesting, very interesting. They are a big club and they wouldn’t be fazed at all.” Now that you have been given some facts, do you believe that Celtic would be a strong power in England? Would they be relegated?
This article is written by @transferfeed. Follow him on Instagram.
After a disappointing international break for us Scots with an experimental side facing a 1-0 defeat to fellow World Cup 2018 absentees the Netherlands it was back to club football this week with action from the top 2 divisions & The Scottish Cup!
Starting off in Dingwall with Celtic defeating Ross County 1-0 with a stunning free-kick from Leigh Griffiths sealing the deal. Very few chances were created in this particular matchup with Owen Coyle's County frustrating the Hoops & Celtic playing very condensed through the middle. Standout performances came from goalscorer Leigh Griffiths and Belgian international Dedryck Boyata.
Hamilton Academical recorded there first win at Ibrox since 1928. Rangers have now spent 3 weeks manager less with interim manager Graeme Murty's chances of landing the job full time taking a big blow. The Gers have been heavily linked to Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill & Aberdeen boss Derek McIness (who has played down rumours of a move away from Pitodrie) but Rangers are yet to make an official offer for any managers.
Aberdeen's title chances took a big blow losing 2-0 to Motherwell & falling 6 points behind Celtic in the title race. Well striker Louis Moult scored a brace keeping up his goal scoring form heading into Motherwell's Betfred Cup final against Celtic next week. Manager Stephen Robinson went as far to say that the Steelmen will end Celtic's 64 game unbeaten run next week.
St Johnstone beat Hibernian 2-1 with two goals coming in stoppage time from St Johnstone's Maclean & the Hibees Anthony Stokes. St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright admitted the Northern Ireland managerial position is his dream job but he is currently happy at the Saints.
Partick Thistle drew 1-1 with Hearts as the game got a last minute go ahead. Thistle cult hero Kris Doolan's equaliser was "offside & a handball" according to Heart of Midlothian boss Craig Levein.
Last & in this case least Dundee & Kilmarnock contested a goalless draw.
Dundee United have moved top of the Championship after a 3-0 win over Falkirk in Csaba Laszlo 2nd game as Tangerines boss. The loss also comes in early days for Falkirk boss Paul Hartley's managerial reign after Peter Houston's departure.
Lothian Thistle faced an absolute thumping at the hands of Championship side St Mirren losing 7-1. Gavin Reilly scored a whopping 4 goals in this 3rd round tie.
Cove Rangers pulled off a massive shock after being 2-0 down against Airdrieonians they went onto win the match 3-2 with a Harry Milne double.
Formatine United pulled of the 2nd shock of the day beating Forfar Athletic 1-0 from a Jonathan Crawford strike.
Stranraer lost 1-0 to Brora Rangers with Steven Mackay scoring in stoppage time to send the Highland League side through.
Fraserburgh United defeated last years Scottish Cup high flyers Spartans.
Buckie Thistle were so close, yet so far against Brechin City losing 3-2.
Livingston avoided a shock against junior side Glenafton Athletic.
Dunfermline beat Queens Park 4-1 at the Scottish national stadium, Hampden.
Dumbarton defeated Elgin City 1-0.
Lawrence Shankland, Declan McDaid and Craig Moore all scored braces as League One leaders Ayr United beat junior side Banks O'Dee 6-2, who were leading 6-2.
Another brace in the Scottish Cup came from Leighton McIntosh who's Arbroath side beat Berwick Rangers 3-0.
Albion Rovers defeated Lowland League side East Kilbride in an exciting 7 goal thriller & Craig Malcolm got both goals as Alloa Athletic beat Stenhousemuir 2-1.
League 2 Peterhead won 3-0 against League 1 Raith Rovers.
Montrose & Queen of the South drew 0-0.
The draw for the 4th round of the Scottish Cup takes place in Monday with all Ladbrokes Premiership sides, Falkirk & Dundee United entering.
In women's football now & Glasgow City have completed a full season unbeaten & an 11th consecutive title after a 3-0 win over Aberdeen Women. Celtic's Women beat Stirling University 2-0 with Hibernian Women beating Spartans 3-0. Hamilton Accies matched their men's teams feats beating Rangers 2-1.
SWPL Champions Glasgow City face SWPL Cup Champions Hibernian in the SWPL League Cup at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday 26th November, 16:10.
DM me all your Scottish football thoughts @transferfeed on Instagram!
This article was written by Sam Sneddon. Follow him on Twitter @samjsneddon.
Rangers Football Club has a massive history behind them; 54 titles, 33 Scottish Cups, 27 Scottish League Cups, a European Winners Cup and many more impressive feats make them the most successful football club in the world. Recently Rangers haven't been living up to that massive name. Since the company which owns the club had some financial troubles and went into liquidation in 2012, the club itself hasn't really been the same.
Rangers made their way back up from the bottom of Scottish football - after being denied re-entry into the Premiership - with hardly any troubles, even winning against Celtic in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup after the game went to penalties. Then, under Mark Warburton, they began to fail drastically, failing to close the gap on Celtic. Which led to his resignation, or whatever actually happened. The interim manager, Graeme Murty played a few games and came away with a brilliant result: 1-1 against Celtic. Then, Pedro Caixinha was appointed. Don't get me started on that.
Pedro Caixinha: A summary - Signed lots of players that nobody ever heard of, got put out of the Europa League by a small team from Luxembourg, then it all went downhill from there. Graeme Murty to the rescue!
Graeme Murty surprised a lot of depressed Rangers fans with a win over Hearts, then another win later after. Rangers were on course to win 3 consecutive games in a row, an embarrassing feat that the club had failed to do this season.
Their opponents, Hamilton Accies (almost relegated last season!) were looking like an easy home victory. The game ended in a 0-2 loss. Once again, fans looked at the squad members that clearly didn't look like they were willing to play for the badge. Rangers ARE a managerless team, so who's going to take the reins and steer the club in the right direction?
Derek McInnes? Alan Pardew? Alec McLeish?
Derek McInnes is the favourite to join Rangers, but is currently at Aberdeen.
Fans can't agree, all those likely to join the club are very controversial. No matter what happens, change needs to come, Rangers haters are laughing as I speak and it's getting tougher for the world's most successful club to reach that stance once again.
How long until Rangers can become number one once again?
This article was written by Sam Sneddon. Follow him on Twitter (@samjsneddon) and Instagram (@samjsneddon).
Kilmarnock aren’t a top-placed team - they find themselves near the relegation zone most seasons but have successfully dodged relegation from the top flight since 1993. This season doesn’t seem to look like that for them. We may only be 5 games into the season, but Killie have only managed to earn 1 point from a possible 15, after a lucky 2–2 draw with Hamilton Academical.
Kilmarnock were extremely disappointed after a draw to the Accies. Yesterday brought even more disappointment for Kilmarnock fans as they lost away at Motherwell. It really isn't going well.
Their next game isn’t very good for them either, as they are up against currently unbeaten (and last years’ league runners-up) Aberdeen. Aberdeen are favourites to win, which would take their disappointing run of form to 1/18 points.
It’s clear to say that Lee McCullogh’s team need to step up their game and improve, otherwise relegation could be likely, even a play-off position would be embarrassing for Killie. McCullogh’s job was to improve an already weak team, not make it weaker.
Watch the highlights of the Motherwell vs Kilmarnock game below:
This article was written by Sam Sneddon. Follow him on Twitter (@samjsneddon) and Instagram (@samjsneddon).
It’s quite clear to say that Celtic are the favourites to win the league this year, but could Rangers snap a second place finish in the Scottish Premiership?
Rangers will be hoping for second after a disappointing thrid place finish last year which had them 39 points behind Celtic, however, many are asking if they can actually do it. Let’s look at what they’ve got and what they need and to get a top two finish:
Pedro Caixinha (Rangers’ new manager)
Mark Warburton caused some confusion for Rangers fans in February after the club announced that they had accepted his resignation as manager, despite him saying otherwise. It was later realised that he had requested to leave to join Nottingham Forrest, but they rejected him. Warburton rather quickly joined Forrest in the end, causing major upset to the Gers fans.
Hope was not lost, though, as Graeme Murty rose from the under-21’s and took charge. Despite having a rocky first few games, he soon got on track and his last match was a 1-1 draw with Celtic. By this point, we knew that Pedro Caixinha was going to be the 17th permanent manager of Rangers.
Caixinha’s appointment seemed to be a good one for Rangers with some very good wins, but a few disappointments. One thing that sparked some anger in fans was their 5-1 loss at home - the second time Rangers had lost by this score-line.
It had been 6 years since Rangers had been competed in a European competiton, but their first game back was a disappointing loss to Luxembourg minnows Progrès Niederkorn. Many were seriously worried about how Rangers were going to do next season. They totally made up for that in pre-season though following a draw against Marseille, a win over Premier League team Watford and another over Sheffield Wednesday
They kicked off the start of the new season with a 2-1 away win over Motherwell and a 6-0 league cup win against Dunfermline.
Rangers were yet again angry, this time not at Caixinha but at referee John Beaton, who had made some obviously biased decisions against Rangers in their game against Hibernian. This game involved Tavernier receiving a yellow card for a seemingly unknown reason after Hibs player, Anthony Stokes, dragged him down in a headlock. Ryan Jack was also given a red card after his head collided with Stokes, presumably a retaliation to Stokes’ attack on Jack’s neck. The red card was successfully appealed after the game.
Pedro Caixinha could help solve some Rangers’ problems, helping them get closer to achieving that second place finish they so desperately desire.
Pedro Caixinha has made some massive changes to the squad this season and has successfully completed ten out of his projected eleven summer signings. Some of these players include Daniel Candeias, Euro 2016 winner Bruno Alves, Graham Dorrans and Manchester City loanee Aaron Nemane.
Here’s a bit more information on some of those signings:
Bruno Alves is a brilliant defender best known for helping Portugal win the Euro 2016 last year, and almost taking off Harry Kane’s head in an international friendly.
Speaking about Rangers’ new centre-back, the boss said: “He’s a great boy, a great man that this club needs, especially having at the back that sort of leadership and experience and understanding of the game.”
Alves is considered one of Rangers’ best signings this year, showing some brilliant performances and already making a great impact on the defence. He’s displayed his great ability on free kick duty after a screamer against Dunfermline.
He’s received a lot of praise recently from teammates, pundits and fans and his performance against Marseille was outstanding. In fact, it was only once Alves was taken off that Marseille managed to equalise.
Ryan Jack, previously Aberdeen’s captain, has shown performed brilliantly recently and looks like he’ll be a crucial part of Rangers’ campaign this season. Caixinha snatched up Jack from under Aberdeen’s nose as he had less than six months left on his contract. This caused upset to some of the Dons’ fans with many immediately turning against their captain.
If Jack grabs a few goals from midfield and keeps good possession, he’ll definitely be on course for a great season.
Carlos Pena is a midfielder who recently joined from Mexican side Guadalajara, becoming Ranger’s seventh signing. He is yet to play a competitive match with Pedro Caixinha saying that he needs “a little more time” and is currently receiving “special training”. Many fans claim they think that he has an alcohol problem, but Caixinha is adamant that he just “adapting” and “needs to get fitter”. Kris Boyd has spoken out recently in an article for the Sun saying that ‘the Rangers fans have a right to know why Pena has hardly kicked a ball.” That’s a fair comment considering Rangers paid at least £2 million for him. Only time will tell if Carlos Pena is worth the value of his price tag.
Rangers latest signing, Aaron Nemane, is a winger who plays for Manchester City. The 19-year-old is on loan until January at Rangers. He is a French-born player who has trained with Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham and Patrick Roberts, so he might have an insight into how they play. Rangers also signed another winger on loan, Dalcio, who - despite many people’s initial thoughts - seems to have been a flop.
Nemane has whipped up a lot of excitement among fans as they looked at his talent and his young age, but this player has still got a lot to prove.
Most people feel Rangers have done well in the transfer window, but there are a few who think it won't be enough. The Light Blues, of course, do not expect to win the league this year, but a second place finish would be brilliant. Celtic are not the only club to pose a threat to Rangers, though;
Aberdeen finished 2nd last season after a rather successful campaign that left them 32 points behind top-placed Celtic. But how will their performance this season turn out?
Aberdeen have signed a few new players like Stevie May and Kari Arnason to name a few. They lost Jonny Hayes to Celtic and captain Ryan Jack to Rangers for free, two crucial players in their squad.
They had a bad start to their Europa League, like Rangers, losing to a relatively unknown side called Apollon Limmasol, but made up for it with three wins from three in the league. On their fourth game, against Patrick Thistle away, they drew 3-3.
Hibs and Aberdeen are the two favourites to fight against Rangers for that second place spot. Hibs just got promoted to the Premiership this season after a successful campaign in the Championship, and they look very strong going into this season. They started the league with a few wins but then were faced with an embarrassing 3-1 loss against Hamilton Accies, who fought against relegation last season.
Their win against Rangers didn’t prove much, though, as many say the referee helped them win that game.
Can Hibs or Aberdeen finish in the top two? Or will Rangers perform well enough to become runners-up? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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Here are my predictions for the 2017/18 Ladbrokes Premiership!
Last Season Finish: 1st (C)
Celtic are head and shoulders above the rest of Scottish football at the moment and no one can deny that. Last season, they took their dominance to another level entirely, winning the treble while remaining undefeated in the league. Despite all of these positives, I still feel Celtic should be in the market for a striker - Moussa Dembele is out injured until September and the only other recognisable strikers at the club are Leigh Griffiths and 17-year-old Jack Aitchison. Tom Rogic and Scott Sinclair also being able to play out of position up top, but it wouldn't be ideal.
They also should try to sign a centre-back with Dedryck Boyata out injured leaving them only Jozo Simunovic, Erik Sviatchenko, Kristoffer Ajer & Nir Bitton filling in. That being said, the title is pretty much in the bag for Celtic. Their main concern will be progressing as far as possible in the Champions League - their group includes Bayern Munich, PSG and Anderlecht, though, so it'll be tough.
Last Season Finish: 2nd
Derek McIness' men have improved massively this summer bringing in Gary Mackay-Steven from Celtic with Ryan Christie also signing from Celtic on loan. Also the arrival of Stevie May is a real talking point - the striker has already proved he is a solid Goalscorer in the league. The team have seemed to gel well together in spite of the departure of Jonny Hayes, Nial McGinn & Ryan Jack who all played brilliantly last season.
Last Season Finish: 3rd
Pedro Caixinha will be the first to face the sack, you heard it hear first. Sorry Rangers fans but this isn't your year. Right at the start of the season Rangers suffered an early exit from Europe at the hands of Progres Neiderkorn (who came 4th in the Luxembourg top division last season). They've already lost to Hibs, by 3 goals to 2 at home, and recently drew to Hearts - it's been a very poor start. They have made some decent signings this transfer window, though; Daniel Candieas looks like a great player, Ryan Jack was a key player for Aberdeen last year and should be very effective this season, and Bruno Alves, who was part of the Euro 2016 winning Portugal squad, should prove to be a rock at the back.
Last Season Finish: 1st (Scottish Championship)
If it wasn't for their recent heavy loss to relegation favourites, Hamilton Academical, the Hibs would've been higher up on my list. Aside from that loss, Hibs have been off to a decent start already with wins over Rangers and Partick Thistle, and I think they really can challenge for a Europa League spot in their first year back in the big time! Hibs have a solid squad that was good enough last season to be in the top flight, with notable mentions going to the likes of John McGinn, Jason Cummings, Liam Henderson and Simon Murray (the ginger ninja goal-scoring machine)!
5. St Johnstone
Last Season Finish: 4th
St Johnstone will finish below where they came last season due to stiff competition in the league following the promotion of Hibs. After three games, St Johnstone are in a decent position in the league, so there's always the possibility of them doing a Leicester, but I doubt they will.
6. Partick Thistle
Last Season Finish: 6th
Partick Thistle finished in the top 6 last year under the guidance of Alan Archibald and I think the same will happen again this year. Archibald has done excellently since taking over the hot seat in 2013 and with Kris Doolan up top for the Jags, Thistle fans will have high hopes for this season. Partick have already taken on Celtic this year, in a game they could've won - Kris Doolan missed a few sitters and there was a big penalty claim too.
Last Season Finish: 5th
Hearts, Hearts, Glorious Hearts; where do I begin? With a disappointing last season, Ian Cathro has already made life difficult for himself this time round after Hearts were knocked out of the Betfred Cup in the group stages! To make matters even worse, Brendan Rodgers came out and said that Craig Levien (the club's director of sports) was the one responsible for Hearts' poor performances as he's the one who makes the decisions about transfers and Cathro couldn't be given responsibility.
Last Season Finish: 10th
I think Dundee will finish higher than their fellow relegation candidates, purely because they've got the better squad. In choosing a manger, I don't think they choose right. Dundee appointed Sky Sports Pundit and former Rangers player Neil McCann this year, but will he lead the Dee to glory? I'm not so sure.
Last Season Finish: 9th
How Motherwell have held on to star striker Louis Moult this year, I don't know - it's a miracle! The Well will once again finish in bottom half of the table, just missing out on the relegation play-offs in my opinion.
10. Ross County
Last Season Finish: 7th
It's really only going to get worse for county. They've already lost star man and former Celtic player Jackson Irvine to Burton Albion recently, and now this summer Liam Boyce, one of the best players in the league last season, has also signed for Burton. The County play Rangers this weekend and I do not have high hopes.
Last Season: 8th
It just looks like nothing will ever change in the small town of Kilmarnock. They're always there or thereabouts in the relegation battle and, although they have a promising manager in Lee McCulloch, I feel as though they won't finish any higher than eleventh.
Last Season: 11th
The Accies are once again relegation favourites. They may surprise a few this year following a few early good performances, but in my opinion the end result will be that they will finish twelfth.
Aside from Celtic, the Scottish Premiership is one of the hardest leagues to predict (so forgive me if my predicitons end up being completely wrong!). Send me your predictions for the SPL on Instagram, @transferfeed.
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