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Scottish Football League


RJB

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In the wake of all Scottish clubs crashing out of Europe, the National side announced their squad for their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers vs. Czech Republic and Lithuania. The 25 man squad boasts only five players playing in Scotland - three from Rangers, and two from Celtic.

Has the Scottish league lost relevance? When was the last time that Scotland mattered in European football? I have always had a soft spot for their league, but I fear they will start to look comparable to the Welsh league.

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I watched the first half of Celtic v. St. Mirren the other day. Celtic up 2-0 at the half, scored both goals very early. The difference? Celtic had better athletes. I don't know the official first half stats, but for me, St. Mirren was very impressive and would knock any MLS team off the park. Not easily, mind you because MLS has players like Henry, Montero, Frings etc....but the overall quality was excellent. St. Mirren knocked it around with aplomb. Celtic couldn't get near the ball most of the time. St. Mirren kept it on the carpet, and looked excellent. They actually had this little striker named Hasselbaink....short in stature but lightning quick, aggressive, brave, confident. Lovely player that any MLS team would delight to have - Oduro is good...Hasselbaink is twice him. ST.M didn't play any hoofed balls, didn't "kick it in to row Z..." it was excellent to watch. Very quick too.

But, like you, I realize the overall league quality must not be high....as all the best Scots move south for the payday....and fair enough to them.

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Scottish football has killed itself with the ridiculous lack of competitiveness I don't know how non old firm fans get out of bed every morning Zero shot at the title and with only one team getting relegated there's little fear of the drop. The season is basically 38 games of nothingness with little to fear and nothing to gain.

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...I don't know the official first half stats, but for me, St. Mirren was very impressive and would knock any MLS team off the park. Not easily, mind you because MLS has players like Henry, Montero, Frings etc....but the overall quality was excellent...

Do you have some kind of family connection to Paisley? :) Didn't see the game but saw plenty of Nigel Hasselbaink when he played for Hamilton Accies last season and I wouldn't want him anywhere near TFC. I'll agree that some smaller Scottish clubs are keeping the ball on the deck more these days than they used to but can't agree the quality of the bottom half of the SPL is as good as MLS. The tempo may be higher and some people do tend to equate that with skill but on a technical level there is way more quality on an average MLS roster even if there isn't much strength in depth due to the restrictive roster regulations and salary cap.

Can see where the poster immediately above is coming from with "the ridiculous lack of competitiveness" comment but are leagues like the Premiership in England and La Liga in Spain really so different these days in that regard? If you grow up in Scotland following a smaller club your expectations of what the club can realistically achieve provide the benchmark of what represents success and achieving promotion to the SPL, a Europa League qualification or cup win becomes the goal to strive for rather than winning the SPL.

Beyond that the big problem for Scotland is that people always compare everything to England, which isn't really realistic when the population is about a tenth as big. Nobody expects Norwegian or Swiss clubs to make much of an impact in European competition so in many ways Scotland overachieved in years past and what's happening at the moment is more in line with what would reasonably be expected.

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Beyond that the big problem for Scotland is that people always compare everything to England, which isn't really realistic when the population is about a tenth as big. Nobody expects Norwegian or Swiss clubs to make much of an impact in European competition so in many ways Scotland overachieved in years past and what's happening at the moment is more in line with what would reasonably be expected.

Celtic were the First British club to win the European Cup. I think that hangs heavy on the 'psychi' of Scotish Football and its relationship with the English game. Scottish football may not seam realevant today but this years EPL story looks like been all about Daglish and Sir alex Ferguson. Both of who are from Glasgow. Also the scottish game ratified almost at the same time as the FA. Hence its significance in the International governace of the game.

Intrestingly, have you noticed that King Kenny is the only one EPL manager who refers to SAF as "Fergie"?

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Scottish football has killed itself with the ridiculous lack of competitiveness I don't know how non old firm fans get out of bed every morning Zero shot at the title and with only one team getting relegated there's little fear of the drop. The season is basically 38 games of nothingness with little to fear and nothing to gain.

The good news is that the SPL is no longer the standard for lack of competitiveness. La Liga has surpassed them.

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Scottish football has killed itself with the ridiculous lack of competitiveness I don't know how non old firm fans get out of bed every morning Zero shot at the title and with only one team getting relegated there's little fear of the drop. The season is basically 38 games of nothingness with little to fear and nothing to gain.

As a Hearts supporter for over 35 years, I keep asking myself that every single weekend. Fortunately, I have things to keep me busy on weekend mornings, otherwise I would just drown my sorrow in kippers on toast and a strong cup of tea. I still love my team but when finishing third and turning over the Hibees constantly are all one can hope for, you do question your own sanity. And let's not get started on the Mad Lithuanian that we are indebted to and the poor quality entertainment most weeks...and you have your answer right there!

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Guest Brethers

That Lithuanian guy is wierd. When Thomson got suspended cause of his sex offender charges he came out with some crazy stuff, including the Lithuanian mafia or something

That is, the chairman came out with some crazy stuff.

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SPL is the Old Firm

The rest of the league draws about about the same as Canadian Major Jr Hockey. Mind you if SPL/SFL drew the 9 million that the CHL drew last season the SFA would be shouting it from the roof tops.

The Old Firm has tried for years to get into EPL and have been denied as have efforts to form a Euro league with clubs in Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands that face the same problem.

Even the little Old Firm of Hearts and Hibs only compete for 3rd or 4th place.

I know the old club argument will come up. But let's face it Aberdeen, Dundee etc drawing 4-6,000 a game can't cut it without the draw of Rangers and Celtic and they can't cut it without the draw of ManU and Liverpool.

A puzzle wrapped in a conundrum in an enigma

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Re: attendance, if you look at it comparatively against other european countries with similar populations, Scotland is kind of impressive. 18 teams averaging over 2000 fans per game, even with the EPL to compete against.

True but the problem is that attendances are trending downwards. No one other than the Old Firm have stadiums that can draw over 17,000 or so; not like it would be needed. And the TV money is so poor that League One sides can and do pay more than the Dundee Uniteds and Aberdeens of the world. I heard last year that Motherwell missed signing a player because he was offered more by an English Conference side. Sad when you look at where Scottish football was 20-30 years ago.

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SPL is the Old Firm

The rest of the league draws about about the same as Canadian Major Jr Hockey. Mind you if SPL/SFL drew the 9 million that the CHL drew last season the SFA would be shouting it from the roof tops.

Come on, the CHL season boasts about 35 home dates, in three leagues which combined have close to 90 teams. Attendance needs to be taken on an average per game basis.

As for Scottish clubs, Celtic is in the Europa League for now, after Sion were disqualified:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/14754447.stm

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Come on, the CHL season boasts about 35 home dates, in three leagues which combined have close to 90 teams. Attendance needs to be taken on an average per game basis.

As for Scottish clubs, Celtic is in the Europa League for now, after Sion were disqualified:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/14754447.stm

Actually the CHL is 60 teams and the SPL/SFL is 42 teams.

One is professional and one is amateur.

If you take out the Old Firm what are Scottish attendances?

Although if you take out Quebec City, Ottawa, London, Vancouver................

The SPL/SFL would still love to see the 9 million plus that attend our amateur Major Jr hockey. Then there's the 5 million plus that attend our tier 2 Jr A games but that's about 140 teams.

My point is that Scottish soccer with-out the Old Firm is in serious trouble at the gate.

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^

Wouldn't go so far as to say the SPL is "in trouble" without the Old Firm but...its also worth keeping in mind every SPL team has their attendance (and gate revenue) inflated by the large Celtic & Ranger traveling contingents. Just saying it's hard to exaggerate the value of the two Glasgow giants but its also hard to predict what a vastly more competitive SPL would look like in the grandstands without them.

To my mind, truth be told (by say an MLS measure) there are probably 6 serious clubs in Scotland and like all the other clubs in every other league through out the world they all have their ups and downs. But honestly, it's been years since I started wishing for something better from the opposition. If just to keep Celtic sharp for Europe. Because that's where the most vigorous interest lays for the Auld Firm, European competition. And that's a frontier Celtic has been a victim on in recent history.

It's tough. It's hard to recruit talent even if you can match the dollars and cents (and despite the lack of a TV gold mine Celtic and Rangers are very competitive on wages even by EPL standards) when the juice of competition just isn't there.

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Actually the CHL is 60 teams and the SPL/SFL is 42 teams.

One is professional and one is amateur.

If you take out the Old Firm what are Scottish attendances?

Although if you take out Quebec City, Ottawa, London, Vancouver................

The SPL/SFL would still love to see the 9 million plus that attend our amateur Major Jr hockey. Then there's the 5 million plus that attend our tier 2 Jr A games but that's about 140 teams.

My point is that Scottish soccer with-out the Old Firm is in serious trouble at the gate.

I certainly exaggerated the number of CHL teams, that's for sure :P

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As much as it pains me to say this, the game in Scotland is at an all-time low.

Long gone are the days when the national team had some of the best players in the world on display (60's) or when we supplied the great Club teams in England with players who would help win European Cups for fun (70's and 80's).

Today, outside of games between the Old Firm and the Edinburgh derby, attendances are abysmal; watch highlights on Setanta or online and the number of empty seats is shocking. Even at some games where the OF are playing away (ie: Motherwell v Rangers, Kilmarnock v Celtic) whilst the away section is packed the remaining stands are sometimes only half-filled.

Why is this? The economy? Poor player development programs? Lack of quality facilities? Kids today have more activities/things to do than they had growing up decades ago (yes, it is like that all over the world but when football was sometimes the only game in town it was pretty simple to pick what you were going to do/play) and Scotland is suffering for it. I just got back from two weeks holiday in Scotland (just outside Glasgow) and I can honestly say that I saw kids playing football in a park ONCE. Used to be you did that pretty much every day after school before and after dinner. To me, that is an indication of how indifferent youngsters are in Scotland towards football; pretty sad really.

Money talks and there is none in the Scottish game just now. Football in Scotland has fallen on some seriously hard times and it may never recover. :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know... who watches the Scottish Parliament but me?

But a bill in front of the assembly concerning sectarian behavior at Scottish football games

I don't know if the link will work but here it goes.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/scotland/newsid_9594000/9594710.stm

Being an Nber and a Monctonian for most of my adult life.

It wasn't that many years ago that when a Moncton area hockey team (or some other sports) visited some away facilities it wasn't that unusual to see plush frogs hung by a noose from a stick at games.

With the usual frog insults hurled at fans. Kermit toy sales must have been really good in those days :)

These things are no longer sociallly accepted and let's hope similar things are thrown in the same garbage cans in Scotland

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Cup results have shown two leagues of 20 is the way to go, says Steven Pressley and Brian Reid

Sep 23 2011 Keith Jackson

LEAGUE CUP giant-killers Steven Pressley and Brian Reid teamed up yesterday to call for a radical overhaul of the Scottish game - with a 20-team top flight.

The men who masterminded shock third-round victories over SPL heavyweights Rangers and Hearts on Wednesday night believe hard evidence is now stacking up which makes a nonsense of the theory that less would somehow offer more to our beleaguered top division.

In fact, both are now convinced that, rather than cutting to a 10-team set-up, the time has come to expand on a grand scale and revolutionise the face of the sport in this country before the crowds dwindle any further.

Pressley achieved the biggest victory of his fledgling managerial career at Falkirk with a dramatic 3-2 win over Ally McCoist's cup holders - but he believes even glory nights like that amount to not much more than shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic.

And, speaking exclusively to Record Sport yesterday, he said: "People have been talking about a 16-team league and last year I'd have gone along with that because at our club we just needed a change - any change.

"But now I look at it and the more I see, the more I'm convinced we need something more radical in the shape of a 20-team league.

"Yes, there must be criteria for any club in the top flight. They need their own permanent training facilities even if they are not state of the art. And all clubs must also have their own academies. If you've got those things in place then that should be enough.

"It's not about everyone having 10,000 all-seater stadiums that no one can fill. It's about getting the football right and making sure the fans come back.

"We've become obsessed with chasing TV money to the point our clubs are now reliant upon it. But that is entirely the wrong way round and we must reverse the cycle.

"Our clubs should be less reliant on TV money and more focused on getting the punters back through the doors. It's not rocket science.

"There is a monotony about Scottish football and it is killing the game. You just need to look at all the empty seats.

"Tell me this, how long do you think it's going to be before the TV firms turn round and say: Your stadiums are empty - we can't keep showing this.

"Are we going to wait until they refuse to pay or will we act now to turn it round and give the fans a product we can be proud of."

On Wednesday, as Pressley's youngsters were sending Rangers crashing out of the cup, Reid's part-timers at Ayr United were producing a no-less astonishing result to topple Hearts on penalty kicks.

Ironically the pair were one-time Ibrox team-mates and they were back on the same side yesterday, singing from the same song sheet, as they reflected on the two biggest triumphs of their careers. Reid said: "We need a bigger top flight and I'd go for a 20-team set-up.

"Listen, I like cream crackers. But if I ate them every day for a month I'd soon be sick of them.

"On the other hand, if I went a month without them and then ate just one I'd probably think it was the best cream cracker I'd ever tasted.

"When I played in England with Blackpool and Burnley I found the whole thing so refreshing because we were playing different teams at different grounds every week.

"You'd be excited about a long trip down south to a place like Plymouth because it was new and you only got to go there once a year.

"It's a simple concept and I don't understand why people here don't get it. The supporters are fed up watching their sides play the same teams five or six times a season.

"It's the same old story and that's why crowds are dropping.

"The prices have stayed high, the economy is struggling and the fans are being asked to dig deep for the same old stuff they've seen a hundred times before. It's stale."

Pressley's plan - which he has spent some time on - would certainly offer up something fresh.

He explained: "A 20-team league would create all kinds of interesting local derbies spread throughout the season. And how much more exciting would Old Firm derbies be if there were only two a season?

"I watched the fourth Edinburgh derby of last season and there was hardly anyone there!

"I've never seen Easter Road so empty for a match like that.

"So we have to find a way to excite the supporters and I'm convinced 20 teams is the way ahead.

"The top three would qualify for Europe. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh-placed teams would go into play-offs for the final European spot.

"You could have 11 or 12 teams all fighting for those places all the way to the end of the season.

"At the foot of the table two teams would go down and the side third from bottom would go into a play-off.

"That could involve five or six teams all battling it out. Most teams in the league would therefore have something to play for.

"Managers would also have the chance to do what we're trying to achieve at Falkirk in terms of bringing our own players through.

"I couldn't do that in a 10 or 12-team SPL. It simply doesn't allow for it."

Reid also believes clubs need breathing space to bring through young talent. And he warned failure to recognise this now, in favour of making a short-term buck by flogging the Old Firm derby to death, could do irreparable damage to the game.

He said: "I realise the TV deals are all about getting four Old Firm games a season but when are we going to realise Scottish football is not just about Rangers and Celtic?

"We have to do what is best for the game in general.

"The evidence is there when you look at results like our win over Hearts and Falkirk knocking Rangers out on the same night.

"I'm not saying a club like Ayr could beat these teams week in week out but the top six or seven clubs in the First Division are full-time and there is not a big difference in the standard between them and most of the SPL.

"What we should all be aiming for is to improve those standards and, for me, having a bigger league would help managers do that and bring through their own young players.

"If our result against Hearts or Falkirk's win over Rangers makes people sit up and take stock and debate the idea of two leagues of 20 then between us we might have done the game in this country a right good turn."

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/football/spl/2011/09/23/cup-results-have-shown-two-leagues-of-20-is-the-way-to-go-says-steven-pressley-and-brian-reid-86908-23439966/

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