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A Winter's Tale

Scottish Football 2012/2013

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Saturday is the first day of the Scottish Football League season with:

Champions Celtic vs Aberdeen (Sat 1245)

Hearts vs St Johnstone (Sat 1500)

Kilmarnock vs Dundee (Sat 1500)

Ross County (DEBUT SPL SEASON) vs Motherwell (Sat 1500)

St Mirren vs Inverness CT (Sat 1500)

Dundee United vs Hibs (Sun 1300)

Of course we've got Scottish clubs competing to get into the European Competitions and last night Dundee United lead twice again Dynamo Moscow to only draw 2-2 with a last minute goal from the Russian side in the Europa League qualifier in Dundee. The SPL will have one Champions League place and two Europa League places and as Rangers are now in Division 3 with liquidation Dundee and Ross County will be in the SPL and the Dundee and Edinburgh derby will make up with the loss of the Old Firm derby. Of course there are the other leagues aswell including newco Rangers and the cup competitions so it'll be interesting to see how the Scottish Footballing season pans out. The Scotland National Team have got a friendly againt Australia at Easter Road this month and will begin their World Cup 2014 Qualifying Campaign against Serbia next month at Hampden Park in a tough group of Wales, Croatia, Belgium, Serbia and Macedonia.

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Celtic are currently drawing with Aberdeen. Celtic are expected to win the SPL with ease but the Dons have made themselves awkward customers.

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Scotland 3-1 Australia. FT

Very impressed with tonight's result and performance, only a friendly but it was nice to see Scotland play well, command, play solidly and score goals against a team ranked 20 places above us in the world rankings. Lots of positives to take from the game and we are now in better position for the World Cup Qualifiers next month than we were in May.

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I shouldn't take any notice of world rankings. England are ranked third. The men in white coats are en route.

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I shouldn't take any notice of world rankings. England are ranked third. The men in white coats are en route.

Pull the other one, knocker...England third!rofl.gif

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I shouldn't take any notice of world rankings. England are ranked third. The men in white coats are en route.

The elo rankings are supposed to be a good and possibly better alternative to the FIFA rankings. Argentina, Brazil should be higher than England and Italy, Portugal, Uruguay and the Netherlands should be just about on a par with England's quality but yes, third behind Spain and Germany is a bit high for this England team.

A team like Belgium in any reliable ranking should be placed a lot higher than 53 (behind the likes of Estonia, Zambia and Libya) after they defeated the Netherlands 4-2 last night. 46th in the world for Scotland isn't our best ranking, not a poor ranking by no means but considering some of the countries ranked above us and comparing them to the Scottish squad then I'd say that we could possibly be a further 16 places higher in the rankings. But it's not worth taking these rankings seriously anyway.

A worry for Scotland is the injury of Alan McGregor last night, with Craig Gordon out we may be without are quality keepers but the replacement Matt Gilks seems to play at a reasonably decent level with Blackpool and should do a job for us in the World Cup Qualifiers next month. One other negative from last night was the way Rangers player Ian Black was booed on his debut which is disgraceful behaviour - probably the Hibs fans, as Black used to play for Hearts. As with the qualifiers next month, I'm quite excited as in last night's friendly for once Scotland looked fairly potent at times and seem a lot more difficult to beat. Serbia and Macedonia will be really awkward opposition, but if we can get our strongest team - 10 usual players were missing for the game last night - play attacking football, and make the most of our strenghts then there could be a real possibility that we can be a really tricky team to beat in the group and like everyone in Group A, we stand a very decent chance of qualifying.

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Celtic draw away to Ross County. They were 1-0 down until Scotland internationalist Kris Commons scored with 30 seconds remaining of injury time. Well played Ross County!

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Celtic draw away to Ross County. They were 1-0 down until Scotland internationalist Kris Commons scored with 30 seconds remaining of injury time. Well played Ross County!

Aye, the SPL no-hoper so very nearly beat the runaway 2012/3 champions :D

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The first Dundee derby in years finished 3-0 to United with Johnny Russel scoring 2 of the goals aswell as receiving one of the two red cards in the game.

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Helsingborg 0-2 Celtic - UEFA Champions League Play-off (first leg).

A very good and very important result for Celtic away from home. The early goal from Commons was great to have but it changed Celtic's game plan and Helsingborg were close to getting a goal. The introduction of Forrest was a massive boost as he played really well and Celtic's performance improved too and they got the vital goal from Samaras and hit the woodwork twice and missed two one-on-one chances. Overall, the strongest team one and that was evident in the latter part of the game that Celtic were a better side but they would want to have a better collective defensive performance and use and pass the ball a little better than they did today and in particular the first half. Celtic should go on and qualify for the group stages of the Champions League which will be great for Scotiish Football.

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Hearts lost 1-0 at home to Liverpool with Andy Webster scoring an own goal twelve minutes from time. An improvement from the 5-0 drubbing of Tottenham last season but it looks like Hearts will not make the group stage of the Europa League. Motherwell lost at home too, 2-0 to the La Liga side Levante.

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Celtic have been drawn in Group G with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

Hearts have drawn 1-1 at Liverpool after David Templeton gave Hearts the lead in the second leg of the Euorpa League. However, Hearts are out on aggergate.

Motherwell lost 1-0 away to La Liga side Levante and they go out 3-0 on aggergate.

There will be now Scottish team in the Europa League group stage this season however there's a improvement in the manner our sides have gone out with Heart's brave performance against Liverpool. And it's vital to have Celtic in the Champions League, and, if lukcy, in a tough Group G they could get enough points to stay in the CL or finish third to go into the knock-out round of the Champions League.

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Third goes into the Europa league. First and Second go through into the CL knockout stages!

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Third goes into the Europa league. First and Second go through into the CL knockout stages!

Ah, thank you, that's what I meant Europa League last 32!:)

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Scotland 0-0 Serbia. World Cup 2014 Qualifier Group 1. FT

The tartan army had higher hopes than a 0-0 draw at home against Serbia but we've prevented one of our rivals from getting two points which is good thing and we NEED to beat Macedonia. If we win on Tuesday night we'll be in a decent position and if Wales can take some points off Serbia then that would be even better.

As ever, there were injury problems coming into today's game and it was strange for Craig Levein not to pick Kris Commons, Barry Bannan or James McArthur for the squad. The line-up was a bit odd too - I'm not sure about having Webster in the CB role, Paul Dixon made his debut at LB (did very well too) and Kenny Miller playing the lone role wasn't popular with everyone.

The positives are that generally we defended pretty well and seemed to cope with Serbia's attacks but we did allow the opposition to have more time on the ball then they should have. There were some decent moves with the ball but as ever it's always a struggle to get a fluent move together without a poor pass or decision. So Serbia were the better team in the first half and looked most dangerous. In the second half Scotland was the better team and created the best chances of the game and should have scored one of the chances we created. Serbia also looked less threatening. But Kenny Miller isn't the same player he used to be and the manager was very slow in the changes. James Forrest should be in the starting line-up and Dorrans and Maloney could add something that the starting-line up couldn't give and of course Jordan Rhodes should be in ahead of Miller. If Levein could get sort his attitude out and bring back Steven Fletcher then that would be great.

I feel that if Levein's side doesn't beat Macedonia then he should be sacked. Yes, he's done well in friendlies but his tactics are too negative, he is stubborn and can't admit being wrong, the debacle of the 6-4 formation against Prague, plus the struggle against Liechtenstein, the Steven Fletcher scenario and the diabolical performance in a 5-1 defeat by the USA doesn't go down well on his Scotland record. The fact is that we don't play to our strengths under this management and it's about time we made the most of the best squad in a few years and try to qualify in this open group.

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Scotland 1-1 Macedonia.

A disapointing result and but even more disapointing performance by Scotland - far worse than on Saturday. All I can say is that Levein should go because he's made too many costly tactical errors and is making what is an attacking group of players play defensive at home where fans have payed lots of money and travelled from all over to watch this nonsense. It was obvious tonight that Levein hasn't organised his team as what is a decent midfield was completley all over the place and at one stage there were no strikers. There are no training ground moves as far as I'm concerned. The Macedonian side deserved all 3 points and for a country ranked just above 100th in the world and with a population half the size of Scotland they played great, positive, telepathic one touch football which was a joy to watch.

It's time for a new manager who isn't delusional or stuborn and is much more organised and knows how to get the best out of the team and give the fans value for their money. The Scotland squad is half-decent but the manager's tacticts and squad selection doesn't go well for qualifying for major tournaments. There are some exciting young prospects in Scottish football but the current system that is evident throughout the other home nations isn't good enough for a nation/association to thrive in the sport.

The results for all the home nations tonight were disapointing. Currently Scotland stands in 4th position, 2 points off the top and the 0-0 draw with Serbia doesn't look too bad after Wales lost 6-1. Drawing home games in the manner that we did is far from ideal. There were injury problems that did hit Scotland in the opening fixtures so if we can get our strongest squad together and the unlikely scenario of Steven Fletcher coming back aswell as captain Darren Fletcher returning then a victory against Wales next month would be still mean that Scotland would be 2 points off the top in a group that should see all teams take points off each other. It's not over yet, but we need to have a much better go at beating teams if we are to be in Brazil in 2014.

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Well done Celtic! First away win the Champions League for many a year. A 3-2 victory in Moscow will do Celtic wonders - hopefully at least they'll stay in Europe in the form of Europa League if they don't reach the last 16 of Champions League.

In other news, another miracle occured as the most inform striker in the PL right now Steven Fletcher has been called up to the national squad for the first time in over a year so it's good to see the row between manager and player is over.

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Let my accumulator down... But Made up for the hoops, Scottish football... Needs a good Celtic run in Europe... plus there fans our classy...

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Great to see the Celts improve their British-o-meter reading!biggrin.png

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Sneck 2-0 Ross County

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20241385

Grim looking news for Heart of Midlothian FC.

Hearts currently sit 9th in what is currently an interesting looking SPL table.

Also, tonight Celtic play Barcelona at Parkhead. Celtic were quite lucky in the away game but there were some great performances and for Celtic to have been winning against a side like Barcelona and to be so close to a draw aswell as stopping the best player in the world was more than what anyone had asked for them and they did a lot of good for Scottish football but they'll need another good performance tonight infront of the Celtic crowd. I hope that it won't be a thrashing but there's no shame in conceding goals against Barcelona.

Billy Stark has also announced the squad for the Scotland friendly vs Luxembourg.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/20240228

However Scotland have dropped to 70th in the FIFA World Rankings - a win is essential against Luxembourg to avoid Scotland crashing to our lowest FIFA World Ranking.

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