No sport survives by creating more mismatches


Tonight I’m off to watch Celtic take on Hamilton Accies to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.  Here’s what’s going to happen: either we’ll win, and I’ll go home thinking about 5-in-a-row, or we’ll drop points at home to Accies, again, and there will be a joyless walk along London Road.  There would be no compensation whatsoever in the latter, no matter how bravely Accies defend their 18 yard line.  The former will provide limited joy, as despite previous results, I’ve already anticipated a positive outcome.

Hamilton Academical are a remarkably successful community football club.  They are a fraction the size of Dunfermline, St Mirren or Hibs, who languish in the lower leagues, not to mention Dundee United, but no matter how admirable, they are not box office material.

The prospect of league reconstruction – creating a 14 or 16 team top flight, bringing in clubs unable to match Accies on the field, at the cost of games against top 12 teams, is enormously unattractive and unwelcome.

We abandoned an 18 team top flight in favour of a top 10 in 1975 because we are a tiny country who cannot support more than 10 competitive teams (or even that many).  Football fans turned up in huge numbers for games against genuinely top clubs, but attendances against semi-professional clubs were as lousy as you would expect them to be.

My first objection against the last reconstruction was use of the word “Professional”.  The SPFL includes professional, semi-professional and amateur clubs.  The four division league was tarted up as something it’s not.  We can, at best, support two leagues of genuinely professional clubs, with two leagues of semi-professional clubs below them.

A professional group of 20 clubs, separated into two divisions, should be created, with only marginal drops in commercial income distribution as you go down the gradient.  Semi-professional clubs should acknowledge that status and organise their game accordingly.  Set participation criteria, objectives, partnering and commercial plans to suit their needs.  They should be free to formally partner with professional clubs, share resources, including expertise and youth development objectives.

There should not be automatic promotion and relegation between the professional and semi-professional leagues.  At most, there should be a one up, one down, play-off.  This would give teams who drop quickly, like St Mirren, a floor from which they can bounce off, instead of having to take unplanned or worse, un-budgeted, action mid-season to remain in tier two.

I love the prospect of a Scottish Cup game at East Kilbride, but that anticipation required the immediacy of the Cup.  No sport survives by creating more mismatches games than it already has.

But this is Scottish football, so I suppose we should expect the worst from Hampden this afternoon.

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  1. the long wait is over on

    from the last thread



    “lionroars67 on 19th January 2016 12:04 pm
























    I envy them the luxury of having that amount of time on their hands.




















    Its been a while since i spent a morning on/off blog, recently it as been unpalatable with some gutter posting. ”



    I agree

  2. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    TWISTS N TURNS on 19TH JANUARY 2016 12:19 PM



    have you tried bisodol ?




  3. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Scottish referees receive FIFA international Elite badges


    Monday, 18 January 2016




    Scotland’s FIFA international Elite referees for 2016 were recognised in Glasgow on Saturday night.



    The 2016 FIFA International Lists contain a total of 21 officials and includes nine referees and 13 assistant referees, all of whom were presented with their Elite international badges for 2016 at Saturday evening’s reception.



    The FIFA International Elite List for next season includes promotions for John Beatton and Lorraine Clark (from UEFA Second Category to UEFA First Category), Andrew Dallas (UEFA Third Category to UEFA Second Category). Craig Thomson, William Collum and Morag Pirie all retained their UEFA Super Elite Category status.



    Super Elite category referees are qualified to officiate high level matches anywhere in the world, most notably in the UEFA Champions League, while First Category referees can be appointed to the latter stages of the UEFA Europa League and the earlier rounds of the UEFA Champions League. Second and Third category referees are qualified for youth tournaments, and First, Second and Third category referees can be appointed as Additional Assistant Referees (AAR).



    2016 promises to be an exciting one for Scottish refereeing with William Collum – who refereed the 2015 UEFA Super Cup between FC Barcelona and Seville – one of 18 referees appointed for UEFA EURO 2016.



    The Scottish FA’s Head of Referee Operations John Fleming said: “It is very enjoyable as Head of Referee Operations to see so many Scottish referees awarded FIFA international badges for the year. It is recognition of the hard work, dedication and sacrifices that they have made over many years to reach the highest level and how very cooperative we are are with the worlds football bodies.”

  4. Awe naw


    Ha… Might give that a go . How’s ya doing anyway? If you get time can you update me on the CQN’ers bank details pls? Account numbers and balances pls. Assuming of course you’re still working in banking security / I.T. Just a wee project my mate out in Nigeria and I are involved in. :-)



  5. paul



    do you remember me telling you of this ‘re-structuring’ early last year?


    the plan will go thru.



    our game is corrupt to the core


    no more green pounds from me.




    ” two for a pound ” ????.



    Profiteering b’s! — I got 70 cents a kilo for mine .A kilo is usually @ 10 / 12 . of the lovely things.

  7. traditionalist88 on

    What exactly is their remit this afternoon?



    The prospect of a 14 team league would be exciting and it could work.




  8. We should have 2 leagues of 10 teams (Premiership & Championship). One up/one down automatically and a play off between second bottom and second top. Below that we should have regional leagues, the champions of each play off to meet the bottom of the Championship in end of season play off.



    16 team league isn’t viable because it means 4 home games less for teams in top division. That’s a reduction of 4 x match day incomes, no way will clubs vote for that.



    From 75/76 to 85/86 we had a 10 team league, 36 games, this was the last time we had a truly competitive league where more than one or two teams could win it. Four team won it during these years with others coming very close. Some of our teams, outwith us, competed well in Europe as well.

  9. Thomthethim, SPFL meeting, where they will discuss reconstruction.



    Rev Davie, I don’t recall, however, this reconstruction bid has been on the horizon for years. In the old days Celtic and Rangers had power to veto it. Voting is now more democratic, which is neither a good thing for the game, or corrupt.

  10. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Taken from https://johnjamessite.wordpress.com/



    Pulled Punches on a Rainy Parade



    I’m indebted to James Doleman for his tweets from The Royal Courts of Justice this morning. This morning’s preliminary hearing went much further than anyone had anticipated. I predicted a reverse for Ashley. What I did not expect was for his counsel to throw in the towel.



    There was a degree of confusion yesterday. The Royal Courts Press Office was briefing that the matter had been postponed until February 1. The courts’ listing stated that the preliminary hearing, Sports Direct International Plc v Rangers International Football Club, would commence this morning. The latter proved to be accurate. The maverick Justice Smith continued to preside. Counsel for Ashley was Mr Guest. RIFC were represented by Mr McCormack.



    Mr Guest for SDI stated that: “There was no verification of the loss statement as it had been decided not to pursue the matter further.” This leads to the conclusion that Ashley had agreed to drop the claim for £200,000 damages as a condition of the repayment of the £5m loan. We can also speculate that he will similarly pull his punches at the judicial hearing in April, should this proceed, which in the circumstances is unlikely. King added conditions to the loan repayment. Ashley acquiesced. Costs will be awarded to RIFC. Justice Smith directed RIFC to produce a detailed report for his consideration when the matter returns to court for the formal hearing on 8th February. Five days have been allocated. Both Ashley and King will be in attendance.



    The judge inquired of RIFC counsel whether they would like to send Mike Ashley to prison? Justice Smith stated that SDI had been abused the process of the court and had wasted the court’s time. He continued that SDI had plucked the figure of £200,000 damages from the air. This figure was neither quantifiable nor justifiable. Justice Smith stated that:“there must have been a deliberate decision to serve the damages figures without a statement of truth attached.” The judge also castigated counsel for the late production of Ashley’s witness statement which was sent to his clerk at 5pm on the eve of this morning’s hearing. Justice Smith concluded that SDI wanted a “parade in the course of the trial, possibly for outside consumption.”



    Justice Smith intends to rain on Ashley’s parade. He stated to counsel for RIFC that ‘they can have fun with Ashley at the trial.’ My experience of The Royal Courts of Justice, and my analysis of Justice Smith, did not prepare me for this statement. It is the most prejudicial statement that I have ever encountered. Justice Smith has Ashley in his cross hairs. Ashley is now on trial. The judge ordered that a section of Ashley’s witness statement was ‘struck out.’ King,whose counsel lied in court in December. has been exonerated.



    This preliminary hearing should have brought this matter to a close. Ashley’s counsel were prepared to walk away with a rap on their knuckles and the tab for King’s costs. I was astonished when Justice Smith decided to proceed to trial. RIFC had requested that the action should be dismissed. This maverick judge denied their request. In what seems to be a further waste of court time and money, Justice Smith wants to have Ashley in his gladiatorial court room for his entertainment. RIFC’s counsel concluded that ‘they would dearly like the money.‘



    Justice Smith noted that the SDI share price had been falling since Xmas and was dismissive of SDI counsel statement that a calculation of reputational damages was ‘inherently difficult.’ The judge retorted that if SD had really lost millions “Mr Ashley would be kicking the door in.”



    The judge made a comment that his wife did not support Rangers. I’m not sure at this point whether this statement was being attributed to this site. What I actually said was that his wife was from a Rangers family tradition. He had received a complaint to take action against the bloggers, but he was not minded to do so.



    Ashley is now facing a trial where the conclusions and costs are predetermined. I had predicted that Justice Smith would find for Rangers, but I did not anticipate that he would prolong matters to punish Ashley, who will be paying the costs of the five day hearing in February.



    This is not the first time Justice Smith has been accused of prolonging an action to the detriment of an appellant. The absence of a statement of truth in the witness statement was at best ill-conceived. Ashley had attempted to pull his punches. Justice Smith on the other hand has removed his gloves.

  11. you replied when I said moves were afoot to change the league set-up to facilitate the Zombies getting into and being able to stay in the top league and you had replied of knowing nothing of an impending change to the set up…now you are saying you knew of it????



    and its not corrupt!!! oh deary me

  12. Get the Huns back in top league…at any cost.


    Thats the reality.


    A resounding Boooooo, from the Green Man.


    They should be banned from football for eternity,…with 50 years threw on top:)


    Its staggering how far businessmen will go to enrich themselves.


    No principles whatsoever.






  13. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    I see the ‘daily sevco’ have another ‘rotten’- type headline using the word ‘kill’ this time……. When is our Board going to ban that rag …… It is truly pathetic that they go unchallenged. ……..

  14. traditionalist88 on

    A 14 team league would be the best compromise.



    play each team x2 – split after 26 games – top 6, bottom 8. Play each team twice.



    Downsides? Would have to be an incentive for the mid table teams to reach the top 6 as they would play 2 less home games.



    On the up side, no arguments about who plays who at home post split as you play home and away. Not visiting the same grounds as frequently. Giving the genuinely big clubs in the lower tiers a chance to thrive- Falkirk, Dunfermline, and a number of other clubs have the infrastructure to support top flight football and thrive. Less monotonous and allows new rivalries to form.




  15. GARY67 on 19TH JANUARY 2016 12:40 PM


    We should have 2 leagues of 10 teams (Premiership & Championship



    Reduction in the number of clubs is long overdue, 4 leagues in our small country is a joke






    Scotland needs modernizing the system in Denmark would be a good starting point for discussion

  16. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Sports Direct can point to the calls for boycotts of Rangers Retail from Dave King et al to demonstrate that they have lost millions due to their interference ????


    what am I missing here ?




  17. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    THE GREEN MAN on 19TH JANUARY 2016 12:52 PM



    It CERTAINLY is sickening ….. The good aspect it all is that the whole sorry saga has confirmed my long term suspicions that they were a totally corrupt club, and I am very pleased that I have will never have to watch their tribute act / hate-filled hordes ever again….

  18. rt rev david hay on 19th January 2016 12:51 pm



    Provided they stick to their rules which state structural changes can only take effect 1 full season after the season they’re voted in ie if a change was voted for today, it would take effect for season 2017/18 I would have no problem if it resulted in RIFC getting into the top league where they hadn’t by merit.



    What we’ve all been asking for throughout this, is for the rules to apply evenly to all.

  19. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on

    Todays league restructuring proposal is Sevco insurance in case of administration that´s all. Nothing will change. A pig in a poke is a pig in a poke. All with Celtic´s blessing of course.




  20. Sorry but a 14 team league is better than what we have so long as they increase relegation from and promotion to it, the 12 team league does not work and the split shows that to be the case.



    but not for next season, this needs to be for the following season given that all teams need to know the rules at the start of the season not midway through it hh

  21. Hi Paul67,



    Good thoughtful article and a lot of sense, as usual.



    Yet interestingly enuff, Wee Jay’s goal at Hamilton last year popped up on my FB yesterday. I thought what a great occasion, what a great crowd of Football supporters – I Thought that’s what makes Scottish Football different, that’s why it’s my favourite league.



    Now I get your point about the top ten Clubs, but there are any famous Clubs outside that surely should be given a platform to Compete.



    I posted a curious out of the box solution last year but personally think it has merit and is no more outlandish than something’s being proposed.



    Here it is again…



    We start off with a league of the top eighteen Clubs in August.



    After the first round of games, we have a winter break.



    We return to the Football with two leagues of nine, obviously determined by the Clubs finishing position in the 18 team league.



    The Premiership Clubs play home and away, looking to be Champions and for European places. The Championship Clubs play to win the league and avoid relegation.



    Two very Competitive leagues and a chance for the Community Clubs to thrive and see some top teams.



    Works for me.






    Hail Hail

  22. Awe_Naw_No_Annoni_Oan_Anaw_Noo on






    Bill Ng


    George Taylor



    the 6.5m loan came from Singapore




  23. When all is said and done Bhoys, no matter how much favour they may find in the courts, or with other authorities, they are as extinct as the dinosaurs. Deed, defunct, expired. Dodos.



    They know it in their hearts, and any informed discussion will bring the truth to light.

  24. Paul67 you are right no sport can survive with more mismatches. It becomes boring and repetitive. We need a new league and waiting for the promised land of EPL is not going to happen.



    I still think that a Scotandanavian league would be a good step forward with the a top tier of 4 teams from Scotland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark competing in a Super League and the winners representing this league in the Champions League and the next 3 or 4 in the Europa league.



    The team that finishes bottom of the four from each nation should play off with the team that wins the top tier in their national league.



    I think such a league would attract greater revenue than currently is being offered and would give us a more competetive league to participate in.

  25. CELTIC moved closer to landing Rasmus Falk after the creative midfielder revealed he is refusing to sign a new deal at Odense BK.



    The 24-year-old has been on Ronny Deila’s radar and SportTimes reported yesterday that talks are already underway with the Danish internationalist.



    The Parkhead club lead the charge in the race for his signature, with clubs including Brondby, Copenhagen and Midtjylland reportedly interested.



    But following discussions over a potential move to Glasgow, it has now emerged that Falk has expressed his desire to leave Odense and not return after the summer.




    In a statement released through his agent Mads Bach Lund, he said: “I have taken many decisions in my life, but the decision I have taken now has been amongst the most difficult.



    “It is also the reason why it has taken time for me to decide that I cannot prolong my contract with OB.



    “I have never hidden my feelings for the club, that will always stay close to my heart, but I also have to think about the fact that I have a football career, which is limited in time.



    “I have a dream of winning trophies and establishing myself further with the Denmark national team.



    “In that sense, I feel there is time for me to take the next step and discover something new.




    “This is not necessarily a farewell to OB but just a reunion. You never know what happens in this world.



    “It is not always self-controlled what is going to happen, but right now my biggest desire is to play this spring and finish with OB, and finish on a good way with my teammates and fans of all around the club.”



    While Deila will be keeping tabs on the possible arrival of Falk, there is one great Dane who he is already delighted to have welcomed to the Scottish champions.



    Erik Sviatchenko was unveiled at Lennoxtown yesterday after signing a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Hoops.



    He returned back to his homeland yesterday to continue building his fitness after only starting pre-season last month, but the Celtic manager is already tipping his latest recruit for big things.




    “I have known about him for a long time and now was the right time to do it. I am so happy we have done this deal,” said Deila.



    “He is a player who has been important for his team, a team which has developed a lot, won their championship and done well in Europe.



    “He was their captain at a very young age, 22, so this is a guy who wants to get better. When you talk to him, you understand what kind of ambitions he has. He suits our profile.





    “He is a very aggressive defender. He’s not the tallest, but is good in the air – he has a good spring.



    “He is a leader, a communicator. He is good on the ball as well, so he has a lot of good attributes.”

  26. Looks like Big Mike has annoyed the secret handshakers.


    His troubles get worse, while liars are Teflon coated.


    Wont end well for Mike.


    They will eat him for breakfast.