The fallacy of a ‘premier’ top 12


There was always an outside chance Celtic would go back to the top of the Premiership this weekend, but with a two-point and six-goal swing required, it was a longshot.  When it happened, by the slenderest of margins, I repeatedly heard the lead will vacillate throughout the season.  Maybe.

The champions have Pittodrie on Sunday, 62 hours after leaving the field to Lazio.  Aberdeen always have a go, but Celtic have won all six leagues games there during our Treble Treble years, scoring 16 and conceding just four (three of which came in a 3-4 away win).  If we come through this one with a win, the signs are ominous for any would-be challengers.

The most pleasing aspect of Saturday’s comfortable win over Ross County is that the result was achieved without serious levels of exertion.  The players were granted the freedom of Celtic Park to throw passes around and get some shooting practice in.  County are the worst team we have seen for a long time, worse even than bottom side St Johnstone, who shipped seven on the opening game of the season.

You have to wonder what proponents of a bigger top flight would want us to sit through when side with such limited resources are already filling the calendar.  There are not 12 ‘premier’ clubs in Scotland and Celtic winning without breaking sweat does our opponents no good.

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  1. Two wins in the next two games will imo go a long way in getting us into knock out Europa football and sitting top of the league come the break. They’ll be looking at Sunday as a potential slip up – a good win will lay down a marker.

  2. I’d rather see a league of 18 teams that we play 1 x home and 1 x away.


    Better to see us playing poorer teams twice a season rather than four times and avoids us playing Sevco, Aberdeen, Hearts etc 4-6 times as is the case now when you factor in the likely cup games.


    Much better for Scottish football but it wouldn’t suit the money men.

  3. NOTTHEBUS on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 12:09 PM


    In that case why are we loosing to Livingston?





    Bayern Munich lost 2-1 at home 3 days after humping Spurs 7-0 away. It happens. Especially down to 10 men after half an hour.


    SOT- just seen Immobile’s 2 penalties. Hope Big Kris has also seen them and takes notice.

  4. BGFC –



    For what it’s worth my reply to your question re Immobile is at the bottom of the previous thread .



    PS – the immobile I don’t want to be substituted was v Parma .



    I ‘like ‘ Immobile .Comes across as a guy who knows he has a privileged life and thinks it’s appropriate to help those less fortunate. Played in the great Pescara team managed by Zeman . Insigne and Verratti etc – scored 28 in 37 .. Plagued by inconsistency – when he’s good he’s good and when he’s not he might as well not be on the pitch . Missed an absolute sitter v Salzburg last season -so bad it visibly deflated him and his team mates.

  5. By your argument Paul I doubt there are even 8 ‘Premier’ clubs so where does that leave us?



    Seems to me the Premiership split is of much more concern especially the uneven nature of post split fixtures.



    An increase of two teams to the Premiership would actually be a better thing to do. This would allow a top six/bottom8 split after 13 home and away matches for each club.



    It would limit the games with the poorer sides to 2 while having an even 4 with the better teams. A league of 36 matches thus created for top six and of 40 for the bottom 8. Supporter interest increased at both ends of the table I’d suggest.




  6. Wait a minute, Zdeněk Zeman is STILL living?



    That guy looked about a hundred 30 years ago… smoked about carton a day too

  7. BHOYLO83 .



    Zeman – Yes – occasionally does media work – fag in hand . . Saw a thing on Italian tv recently which included Sarri and Guardiola heaping praise on his human and professional qualities.

  8. DENIABHOY on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 12:18 PM


    I’d rather see a league of 18 teams that we play 1 x home and 1 x away.



    Better to see us playing poorer teams twice a season rather than four times and avoids us playing Sevco, Aberdeen, Hearts etc 4-6 times as is the case now when you factor in the likely cup games.




    Belgium & Sweden have leagues of 16- that would give us Dundee Utd, ICT, Partick Thistle & Dundee(Yuk) just going on attendance. If you wanted 18, add Dunfermline and Morton.


    Denmark, with a similar population to us, has a 14 team league but a weird 3 Way split rather than our two split which looks very complicated.


    I’d go for a 16 team league playing 30 games per season. Dundee Utd and ICT would provide adequate quality and half decent turnouts.


    Now, away to think about 5 albums.

  9. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    SOUTH OF TUNIS on 21ST OCTOBER 2019 12:04 PM



    Rest Immobile ? ….etc.






    Thanks for the reply.



    I am a tad worried, given big Kris’ propensity to put his hands on opponents, that we could be in danger of conceding penalties.



    Hope he doesn’t play…or – as BHOYLO83 suggests – they play MonsterMunch instead :-)






  10. The Battered Bunnet on

    Looking at senior clubs in Scotland in terms of the ‘financial weight’ of each, and it’s difficult to find any configuration of leagues and clubs that provides consistent competition.



    Celtic are the financial behemoth, with revenue of £80-100M and a player trading strategy which taken together supports a football budget (wages) of around £60M.



    In most respects, Sevco are half the scale of Celtic, and their £30M apprx football budget would be half again were they run on a self-sustaining basis.



    After that, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs are half again, with a budget of £6-8M, around one tenth that of Celtic.



    And after that, it’s pretty much subsistence football, clubs from Kilmarnock to St Mirren to Motherwell and so on breaking even +/- each year on a budget of around £2M, less again for Hamilton and Livi and so on.



    Take Celtic out of the mix, and you’d have a pretty tidy competition most seasons between the top 4.



    Similarly, there’s little to choose between the rest of the pack. St Johnstone and St Mirren are peers of Dundee Utd and Partick Thistle, and doubtless there is a decent competition to be found in grouping these peers together. Falkirk, ICT, Dunfermline and so on are all the same scale in virtually every respect to the cubs in the bottom half of the Premiership. There’s probably a cracking 16 team league in it all, but it is compromised by having the bigger clubs let alone the behemoth in there.



    In the current situation, the clubs at the lower end of the financial league depend upon the meagre payout from SPFL TV rights to keep the lights on. The problem with increasing the size of the league (even further) is that the money gets diluted, and therefore the budget and the quality.



    Add 4 more teams to the current Premiership, and most clubs will see budget reduced. It’s not one of the great ideas.

  11. Good afternoon all;



    Weeroch1 from previous thread, you will never bore me sir, you are a fellow Tim and i could chat all day about life and Celtic to anyone on here. Hail Hail



    Bring on the Dandy Dons. Looking forward to the challenge.






    D ;)

  12. Paul 67,



    Absolutely spot on and that is why we look forward to European football.




  13. The Battered Bunnett – good points, well made. My preference would be a bigger league but appreciate there are pros and cons.



    In the old days, when there was talk of Celtic and Rangers going to the EPL, I thought it would be great for Scottish football. It would have allowed a much more competitive league to develop, with at least half a dozen teams in with a genuine chance of winning trophies. It would also have encouraged smaller teams to remain “semi-pro” or “part time” and keep their budgets in line with income. I always thought it was unrealistic for teams with home gates of 4-6,000 to go full time.

  14. League Cup Semi-Final Tickets: Deadline 5pm Today



    By: Newsroom Staff on 21 Oct, 2019 12:21



    WITH the deadline just hours away, time is running out to secure your ticket for the Betfred League Cup semi-final against Hibernian.



    The Hoops go head-to-head with the Edinburgh side at Hampden on Saturday, November 2 (KO 5:30pm) as they chase a place in the final for the fourth year in a row.



    The club have received an additional allocation for this fixture, and these tickets are now available to those who are:



    •             Season Ticket holders who met the original criteria and were unsuccessful in the ballot – those on the Home Cup Ticket Scheme and whose payment was taken by Direct Debit for the home League Cup matches against Dunfermline, August 17, 2019 and Partick Thistle, September 25, 2019.



    •             Season Ticket holders on the Home Cup Ticket Scheme who purchased tickets for both home League Cup matches against Dunfermline and Partick Thistle.



    •             Season Ticket holders who purchased a ticket for both home League Cup matches against Dunfermline and Partick Thistle.



    The deadline for eligible Season Ticket holders to purchase their ticket is 5pm today (Monday, October 21).

  15. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    Changing the subject somewhat but the linked article is potentially very significant.


    Could we see the day in the near future when heading the ball will be outlawed? – treated as a foul just like a hand ball.


    When you think about the implications of health and safety and potential litigation – either outlawing heading or forcing players to wear protective headgear might be the only way forward.




  16. Without intentionally labouring the point of a 14 team league with a top 6/bottom 8 split of matches after two rounds of games there are other benefits…



    The incidence of more meaningful (or more pertinently less meaningless) matches may be more attractive to sponsors/broadcasters.



    The added opportunity of more of the better supported clubs being in the top tier. (I realise they have to be there on merit however)



    Post split has an even distribution of fixtures



    The bottom 8 becomes almost a mini league of its own after the split with efforts to avoid relegation, gain financial reward from league positioning and perhaps be fighting for a trophy awarded to the club finishing top, The Premiership Plate perhaps. Generate interest from the support.




  17. Re the “Split”


    I think it is the most ridiculous thing ever and don’t get me started on the English play off, a joke!


    Keep it simple folks, top two promoted, bottom two relegated. Or is that too easy??





  18. Paul67 et al



    Judging from the comments made so far Paul most would disagree. Don’t think Celtic would mind you. The SPL was based on greed, that and the fact that Celtic had won the league nine times in a row. Seem to work well for a while with Aberdeen and D

  19. it is normally the case when Celtic are winning, then League reconstruction comes up. When we are not winning there is no mention. We have won last 8 Leagues and I am happy with the League structure.




    We are the Giants of the Scottish game, our much criticised board has built our club up to the top of the table. The off field commercial deals are a triumph as are our on-field 8 in a row and treble treble . After Fergus and his successors we took the Huns on and drove them to cheating and other desperate measures to hang on in our slipstream. They are still skint and lose money each year.



    We have faced a hostile press, hostile SFA and crap refereeing as well as the Huns but we are driven and we can overcome all these obstacles. Indeed, I believe the our support are strengthened by the fight.



    No time for changes until our run finishes

  20. Paul67 et al



    Seem to keep either losing my posts or posting them incomplete. Main point is that Celtic do not care if we play Accies four times a season. Do not care if a City like Dundee is absent or that towns with sizable populations around them, Ayr, Falkirk and Dunfermline are left bouncing around the lower leagues. We are left with trips to Livingstone, Hamilton and Kilmarnock matches which on paper look like a shoo in. But to paraphrase Bill Shankly, we don’t play on paper son, we play on plastic.

  21. TIM MALONE – Sports seem to be exempt from these kind of health and safety responsibilities. A number of professional boxers have died this year due to blows to the head yet the sport is allowed to continue as is.


    Seems to be that the risks are somehow deemed acceptable.



    An obvious observation on this report is that it perhaps only reflects the era of the heavier ball. Maybe the current lightweight footballs do less damage but we won’t know until a future report is done looking at players from the 80s onwards.



    A possible option going forward is that in kids football there is no heading allowed. As you can see from this article in the Guardian from 2017, that already happens in the US where studies highlighted that heading the ball led to brain damage. Now there is no heading for under-12s.




  22. South Of Tunis on

    Rome based football journalist — on the 3.30 pm radio news



    ” Lazio have won 3 of 8 serie A games . That’s Inzaghi’ s worst start to the season since he got the job . Form like that will see him sacked ” .



    He also opined that this was a likely starting 11 for Glasgow .
















    Luis Alberto





  23. South Of Tunis on

    — Oops -Jumping box .-all is not well with this site



    Cacheido .



    Ref is a Croat -Ivan Bebek — Lazio blogs are happy with him – He’s Ref’d 8 Serie A team games in Europe – 5 wins / 2 draws / 1 defeat

  24. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Not at all concerned about Lazio on Thursday night, it has the feel of a free hit about it, as do ALL of the Europa League cup ties, nice to win but if you don’t….



    Can’t say the same thing about the trip to Aberdeen next Sunday with the sevconians breathing down our necks, that is most definitely not a free hit, for us that’s a must win game,



    So on the back of an indifferent league performance against Hibs, we rise to the occasion in the Europa and give Cluj a football lesson, then a few days later almost the exact same team crashes domestically to Livingston in the League, it was a blip right….?



    So this week all the talk will be about Lazio and The Europa League, when in truth at least for me the most important game for us next week is on the Sunday. If we blow the 9 the consolation of a good run in the Europa League will be no consolation at all.

  25. deniabhoy



    BBC produced a programme last season looking at this very subject. Alan Shearer hosted it and if I remember rightly part of it involved visiting the University of Stirling, and in particular the football related work at Glasgow University. One of the factors discussed was the relative weight of the ball, and surprisingly for Shearer, and for me, there is not much weight difference between the 1960s ball and the present one, matter of ounces. Modern one doesn’t soak up water, a big difference, but heading a dry ball back then or now could potentially cause harm. What is it they say about boxing? Every punch counts. And they all add up.

  26. ROCK TREE – many will share your sentiment but it is not realistic to ask or expect Lenny to pick anything but his strongest team. He will put out his best XI and try to win the game. Just as he will against Aberdeen. All the players want to play in these games.


    Squad rotation is best left for domestic home games of which we have a good few coming up, not to mention the 3-week winter break.

  27. 2 of the most important goals in our history came via the head of Billy McNeil.



    Frightening to think what the accumulative effect of his ability in the air may have caused him.

  28. Watched Match of the Day last night… what an absolute shambles VAR was this weekend… it was a bit embarrassing tbh



    I was all for VAR at the start but they are making it waaaay too complicated



    Stick to using it for penalty and offside decisions and let the ref deal with the rest



    F*ck me it’s not as complicated as they are making it

  29. CELTIC MAC – The article I linked to above in the Guardian backs up that point as it was done recently. The most worrying part of that for me was that the damage could be detected immediately. Basically the players were bruising their brains without being aware of it.


    In case any of you can’t open the link, the meat of the article is below:





    “No one disputes that this research is necessary and overdue. But the danger of always gazing backwards is that we miss what is in front of us. Fresh research suggests the dangers of heading didn’t disappear with the arrival of lighter and water-resistant balls, and the risks, particularly to children and teenage girls, may be under-appreciated.



    In 2015 I wrote about ground-breaking research from scientists at Purdue University in Indiana which showed that even with modern footballs the forces involved in heading back goal-kicks and long punts were far higher than expected. Some registered at between 50Gs and 100Gs – similar to American football players smashing into each other or punches thrown by boxers.



    The team at Purdue have now discovered another potentially worrying issue: that when teenage girls head a football regularly there is a risk of low‑level brain injuries, which in some cases lasts for four or five months before the brain looks normal on MRI scans. Think about that and ask yourself why, with all the money sloshing around football and flowing into agents’ pockets, aren’t more studies conducted?



    The Purdue blueprint would be a good place to start. Their scientists recruited 26 female high school athletes – 14 of whom played soccer and 12 who did other non-collision sports such as track and field, swimming and basketball – and gave them several MRI scans over the course of a year. The soccer players were scanned before the season started, twice during the season and then two or three times after the season had ended. Each training session and match was also filmed, with players wearing an xPatch sensor behind their right ears, allowing the academics to record the impact of every header and collision greater than 20Gs of force .



    The results were startling. While the soccer players didn’t suffer concussions, some of them developed what researchers called “marked cerebrovascular reactivity changes in the frontotemporal aspects of the brain”, which persisted for several months. “It is a big deal,” Eric Nauman, the director of the human injury research and regenerative technologies laboratory at Purdue, told me. “Some players saw pretty dramatic changes in their cerebral blood flow because of accumulating head impacts. Those levels changed significantly and stayed elevated. That was kind of a shock to us. We knew we would see those changes when we studied American football players but we didn’t in soccer.”



    Nauman’s colleague Tom Talavage says they have as-yet unpublished data that strongly suggest a long-term physiological response to asymptomatic injury taking place – a form of inflammation coupled with elevated blood flow levels – which can be associated with tiredness, lower concentration levels and impaired cognitive function. “This response is arguably a ‘healing’ process but one has to consider the idea that if an adolescent’s brain is expending energy repairing itself, it is unlikely that its development is progressing optimally,” he adds.



    In women’s sports it has long been known soccer has the largest number of traumatic brain injuries annually and has among the highest concussion rates, with rates slightly exceeding men’s football at the collegiate level. But this research shows sub-concussive injuries, from heading footballs, are also a potential issue.



    What exacerbates the problem is that players usually don’t realise their brains have minor damage and so keep on playing, increasing the likelihood of more serious problems. “You can bruise any other part of your body and it feels sore so you lay off that spot,” says Nauman. “But your brain doesn’t have that kind of response.”



    So what should be done? On Friday Uefa promised to undertake a research project which would count the number of times children aged eight to 12, and 14 to 16, head the ball in games and training sessions. But the Purdue scientists consider that insufficient. As they point out, every time kids dive or collide with each other there is a risk of whiplash or other rapid head movement that may well contribute to low-level damage that leads to injury.



    Instead they suggest a number of measures: banning players under 12 from heading the ball – something that already happens in the US – and reducing the severity of such impacts among teenagers by making sure they are not playing and practising headers every day. “People argue that if youngsters can’t head the ball then they don’t learn proper technique but the big point is when you are 12 and under, your neck and shoulders and back aren’t strong enough for you to have proper technique,” says Nauman. But he wants to preserve the game not radically alter it. “It isn’t hard to reduce the head impacts in practice and save them for games. Really it is about giving the brain a chance to rest and recover.”

  30. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    The impression I definitely got watching the Cluj then the Livi performances, against Cluj clear as day to everyone, all the players 100% up for the occasion and delighted to be out there in the lime light (nothing wrong with that of course), then against Livi we had the exact opposite, the good suit was put back in to the wardrobe and the overalls were back on, try as they may we could all see same team totally different application,



    This is where Neil gets to earn his salary – he has to be able to spot who can replicate their good form 3 days later – and who will say they will but can’t, not easy but thats why we have a big first team squad and why Neil gets paid big bucks – to manage tricky circumstances like these.

  31. deniabhoy



    Thanks for that! For some reason I am not allowed to open articles from the Scotsman or the Guardian.


    Very informative. Football really needs to take account of the research in both the USA and in Scotland, especially for younger players. Nobody on here who ever headed a wet leather ball would doubt the potential for harm.

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