You have to admire the SPFL’s moxie if nothing else. ‘The Premier League is back this weekend, mate – shall we shift some games to the Sunday to try grab better coverage?’
Not a chance, they said. Real football fans know the cumulative worth of Livingston v Hamilton and St Mirren v Hibs exceeds any opening day south of the border.
Or, at least that appears to be their marketing strategy. I wouldn’t have voted for it personally, but it is so gorgeously Scottish that maybe they have a point.
And what better way to toast the quality of Scottish football than with a Saturday afternoon accumulator that doesn’t include anything related to the English top flight?
Poor Killie are getting a bad doing from traders despite having not played particularly badly yet this season. They had very narrow defeats to both Hibs and St. Johnstone (after being down to ten men), were in the game for 77 minutes against Rangers and just hammered Dundee United 4-0.
It’s largely due to their lack of possession that teams believe they can steamroll them, but they generally don’t. Zeno Rossi’s long throws are a nightmare to deal with, so they score goals in many different ways – and is there a more confident player in Scottish football than Nicke Kabamba?
I don’t think so.
Admittedly, it’s a strange thing to say – that I reckon Hamilton could cause Livingston problems.
Given they’ve scored twice in five games and have genuinely looked like Championship fodder in stages I can see why you think it’s not possible, but in games like this Mario Ogkompe can come into his own.
He’s the only striker in Scotland with a combination of being annoying to mark because he’s faster and bigger than you, and being so unpredictable that not even he knows what he’s going to do with his second touch.
And I very much take the point about that bloody pitch, as we’ve been stung backing Rangers in the only game they haven’t won this season. However, Livingston looked toothless against Ross County last week until the red card. Expect that to carry over.
Big. Shane. Duffy.
Nah, seriously, this should improve Celtic to no end; which is funny, because conceding twice in five games is hardly an identity crisis for a club regardless of the league they’re in – except the mighty Rangers have yet to actually a ship a goal this year.
With the emphasis moving to being functional rather than entertaining, which is a clever sacrifice Gerrard has made at Ibrox, Celtic should be keeping more clean sheets going forward and this seems the ideal starting point.
Dundee United had 19 shots last week, with just one finding the target and went onto lose 4-0.
They might genuinely be the worst side in Scotland at the moment because they’ve no idea how to break teams down – and going up against a side who probably won’t concede all season isn’t exactly an ideal follow-up game.
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