Celtic Should Be Concerned By The Dire State Of The Rest Of This League.

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Last night, a dreadful Ibrox side easily dispatched one of the most abject Hibs sides I think I’ve watched in years. Right now, they are hovering on the brink of being outside of the top six. At the time of writing this, Aberdeen are outside the top six albeit they have some games in hand. Still, both of those clubs are in as bad a state as I’ve seen them in.

Hearts are scrambling around in the free transfer market and preparing to sell their best player to Ibrox for an absolute pittance. The longer this saga drags on the less likely they are to get any sort of replacement player. I don’t know if that is enough to stop them. That they appear so willing to roll over speaks to the shocking state they are in, from the leadership of the club to the comedian in the dugout pretending that he’s a manager.

If Shankland goes I think Hearts will very quickly drop out of third place and where they’ll end up I wouldn’t even like to guess. Who knows what sort of atrocious state our league will be in by the time of the split? I cannot believe how abysmally run the likes of Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen are this season. Once proud clubs are virtually on their knees.

Aberdeen are probably the worst of the three, although Hibs conspire to take that title for themselves. Their managerial appointment was imaginative. But it has utterly failed and their reluctance to give up on it is the mark of a club with no clear idea where to go next. The answer might be at Ayr United. In a year or two they’ll know. In the meantime, I can’t see them doing anything but staggering on in their present condition.

Aberdeen has real problems. All of us wanted to see Barry Robson succeed, but right from the start I thought giving the job to a rookie was a stupid risk, especially as they’d already failed with a similar experiment in giving the job to Stephen Glass. Their chairman might be a nice guy and he might care about the club, but he is dreadful at selecting managers.

You could say the same about Hearts. What in God’s name will it take to shake that club out of its own self-inflicted mess? Their own managerial selections have been so consistently bad that it makes no sense to keep blaming the guys in the dugout; it’s those above them who should come in for the harshest scrutiny and the fiercest criticism.

They believe that third place and a decent cup run is good enough. There’s no aspiration to be more than that. The appointment of Steven Naismith was a cheap, lazy option divorced of ambition or intent. Their only satisfaction in life is sneering at their Edinburgh rivals, which is hard to do considering they last won a League Cup in 1962-63 and Hibs have three of them since then, and a Scottish Cup to boot since Hearts last one of those.

Silverware is supposed to be the objective at the start of the season, right? Hibs have had more recent success on that front. But overall none of these three clubs has got much to shout about and right now what a one of them is worth a damn.

Scottish football really needs better than these clubs have offered. Their leadership is shambolic and that is reflected in the state of their teams. They need to up their game fast, and Celtic should be watching it all with grave concern because a one club challenge does not make us stronger and it does not make this league stronger. That must change.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    What ah find laughable, is the constant, continual attempts by the media, tae try and make out that the ibrox club are playin some sort of top drawer football. They’re ‘cruisin’ by this yin and ‘strollin’ by that yin. We even have berry of the DR (nae surprises there eh ) sayin they were ‘red hot’ last night. Whit utter pish. Who exactly is it they’re tryin tae convince ? Hibs were poor, that lot were extremely ordinary, as they have been before the break, that’s the reality. We have a better team imo, although we need tae get signin these key players, for the back up thats goin tae be needed this half of the season. Thats crucial.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    I agree with what you say about those 3 clubs and the rest of the League, but what does that say about our 1st half of the season. Nil Nil draw with a bad Hibs team, 2-0 defeat at home to a one man Hearts team, a home nil nil draw to a St Johnstone team lying 2nd bottom of the League, a 1-1 home draw against Motherwell add up to some desperately disappointing results. Let’s face it if it wasn’t for two good victories against the hun then we’d be in crisis mode.
    Things are looking a bit brighter and I’ve high hopes for the post winter break games. There has to be no more slip ups against teams in Scotland who would be lucky to survive in the English 2nd Division.
    If the board insist on leaving us short of cover in a couple of positions, they’re asking for trouble, and if we don’t wrap up this title that’s exactly what they’ll get.

  • Davie says:

    Good topic James, here’s my view.

    The league was changed in the 70s, supposedly to make it more competitive.
    The league needs changing again, young talent like Davie Provan, Davie Cooper, Danny McGrain, Sandy Jardine, Paul McStay Ian Durant, are nowhere to be seen, many more names could be written.

    The league is Duff and has been for years, clubs try to stay in the premiership for financial gain, so mgrs/coaches get fired for director failings.
    I think we need a larger division again, the meaningless games that they wanted away from in the 70s are still there.
    The meaningless matches gave Scottish youngsters a chance to play and develop, mid table teams like now won’t ever win the league, they had little to worry about with relegation, so they survived by developing and selling talent, Hansen, McAveny etc.
    Having watched matches with so many foreign players, I only see these players picking up easy pay packets for pulling on a Jersey, surely we can produce young Scottish players with the clubs interest at heart.
    Sometimes a step backwards can take you forward again.
    Hibs v The Rangers was an absolute bore, if that’s how our football is going to be, I think I will go watch the amateurs again, you get honesty from guys who also work for a living.
    16 year old school kids would have beaten Hibs.
    Time for change, but will the stuck in their way club directors do so.

    • Martin says:

      You’re spot on Davies. That’s what we need. I also think the current setup and the fact all the non Glasgow teams are often utter dross means the Glasgow Derby games (4 is too many, as well) take on most seasons the role of kingmaker, which is grossly unfair.

      We might not go all the way back to the 70s, but I do think a conversation about what we want our league to be and do (here’s a good start, not a cheap knock off epl) is overdue.

  • John Copeland says:

    Naismith’s description of the atmosphere inside Tynecastle from Hearts fans at half time as his lot trudged off the park 2-0 behind to Dundee was ‘ toxic ‘ ! Yet when asked about the players ‘ reaction to the same situation ,he described them as being ‘fine and calm !’ This charlatan of an imposter football boss does not even talk a good game …he can’t read the room . If I was a Hearts player in that dressing room , I’d be getting a large fine Imposed on me by the club for insubordination in calling out exactly what an idiot the boss really is …or words of a similar nature !

  • SSMPM says:

    Scottish football is as close to talentless as I’ve ever seen it, it produces very little in the way of saleable assets so the jam tarts will take what they can I guess as we have no apparent interest in competing with the baby hun club for Shankland or anyone it would appear. It would take a miracle working manager to turn these clubs around with little talent coming through from the youths to their first teams and with no investors and no available budget to do so with good imports.
    That leaves the Craig Levein tough tackling defensive model aimed at getting whatever result can be achieved towards the survival campaign. As Michael stated we’ve struggled to get results against that model several times and entailed several injuries in doing so.
    A top and bottom league inventive revamp may help as any talented youth we have leave young or face football in a sub par league ie Vata. With nothing brighter on the horizon Scottish football is in a precarious position. HH

  • Jim says:

    Look at the old videos of Aberdeen and the Dundee and Edinburgh clubs in the 70s and 80s. There’s no comparison.

    The league has been set up just to maximize the number of times each team plays Celtic and Rangers. That means the league is ludicrously small with no room for error. So young players don’t get blooded. Managers can’t try things. And they are obsessed with quick-fix Bosmans.

    Result, no development of the talent pool, and star players you can sell on, no chance of a truly strong team emerging out of a nucleus of players that stay together for several years.
    It took decades, but gradually the modern SPL format has totally wrecked our game.

    Celtic and Rangers have been culprits in this.They have never seen their own future as tied to the strength of the league, but of course it is. The SPL’s weakness is their weakness on the European front.

    Why don’t Celtic and Rangers not just make up any shortage of revenue the others would suffer by going back to two games each against them? It’s not as if they couldn’t afford it. And introduce a rule that more than half your team must be Scottish. It would take decades to reverse the damage, but eventually the talent would return.

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