We are now a couple weeks into the new season of football in Scotland and as always, there is no lack of talking points. From off the ball clashes, attempting to force transfers and everything in between, Scottish football has never claimed to be a sanitised, cool, calm and collected place.
I’m going to do these articles whenever a time suits. For a weekly look into my thoughts and opinions on our game, please consider having a listen, either live or on demand, to my Monday Night Football Hour, 9-10pm on Mearns FM. These articles are going to be less on a regular schedule, they are more or less about having some discussion when topics are there to be discussed – and hopefully with the help of other passionate Scottish Football supporters, I can include others analysis and opinions.
Let’s start with off the ball incidents and the SFA’s decisions regarding these. Regardless of your opinions on the Morelos kick, the Brown elbow or the Naismith stamp, the worrying inconsistency with how the SFA has dealt with these issues in comparison to how previous issues have been reacted to is an issue that needs to be highlighted. The SFA have now given themselves some difficult situation to deal with, because the next time they do decide to punish someone, these issues will certainly be pointed to when appeals are lodged. It is also of course confusing how among football, you can often see greater punishments handed out to players whom have mistimed a tackle than those who have purposely attempted to hurt an opponent.
There is plenty of debate in Scottish football but I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find a supporter of any team who could tell you with a straight face that they feel Dedryck Boyata is acting completely within reason with the way he is attempting to get a move from Celtic. While Boyata himself claims he is injured, rather than refusing to play in Greece, I’d highly doubt Brendan Rodgers would make such claims about a player you’d assume he wants to keep.
When you look at the prices being thrown around in discussions about moves to a number of different clubs, I’d have to say I wouldn’t blame Celtic for taking the money. That said, the number of centre backs Celtic have gone through without really finding a situation they are happy with shows exactly why they probably wouldn’t be confident of finding a replacement for the Belgian international, especially with English clubs unlikely to do business at a time they can’t bring new faces through the door.
Jason Denayer is a player who’s return would probably be welcomed with open arms by Celtic supporters. In terms of any other suggested options at this point, I’m not sure I’ve seen a better alternative. However, the gossip recently has suggested the player himself is more keen on a move to Turkey with Galatasaray.
The Championship this season, as always, is about as predictable as the length of the grass at Tynecastle (Literally could have had another 500 words in this on the topic of grass, thank me for not doing that later.) From the early stages it’s hard to predict a real favourite to take the League title and with it automatic promotion this season. My pick would still be Ross County when you consider their two wins thus far, their form in the League Cup and overall transfer dealings this summer – which has just be supplemented by the incoming Don Cowie.
It’s a league that’s bound to be hectic as always and there are plenty of stories already materialising. I expect Lawrence Shankland to stay with Ayr United now, as frankly as of the sides that would be interested in him, I just don’t see paying the amount Ayr are wanting for him at this time in the transfer window. Should the former Aberdeen player keep up his goal scoring form – certainly easier said than done – he could very easily be pushing Ian McCall’s side into a position where they might even challenge for a playoff spot.
Hibs have managed to do some wonderful transfer business this summer. Stephen Mallan is a player that the clubs around them may well end up being quite jealous of not snapping up themselves. Neil Lennon has got a couple of fantastic strikers who have already proven last season that they fit into the team. Having a lad like Ollie Shaw, who has started the season well with two goals in as many games, continuing to develop behind Maclaren and Kamberi shows a very healthy front line. Sometimes last year you felt as though Hibs maybe lacked that little bit of depth and that’s certainly an issue they’ve addressed. Emerson Hyndman is a player who I feel will fit in at Easter Road, but I wouldn’t regard him as a direct replacement for John McGinn. I wouldn’t put it past them to have a transfer or two still up their sleeves in Leith – one of them should be someone as similar to McGinn as possible. Their defenders and goal keeping situation I’m sure is still a bit of a concern for many supporters.
Always happy to have a good football discussion on Twitter, so if you’ve got any thoughts on the topics discussed in this article, let me know – @NE98FT