*note: very few of the things that are going happen in this article will probably happen in the actual league this season, but maybe they will and then who’ll look the idiot, eh?
So, it’s that time of year when the SFA dust off the Mitres, the pointless pre-season defeats against Steaua Bucharest finish, Kilmarnock make their last-ditch signing of a ‘promising Spanish youngster’ who was once the in Real Valladolid under-10s and Rangers draft fun new excuses for their fans’ behaviour. But come on, eh? It’s exciting. A new beginning. Who’ll win the title? Who’ll get into Europe to be shafted 18-0 on aggregate by Urinea Urizceni in a Europa League qualifier? Who’ll be relegated?
Here’s my team-by-team prediction of how the teams will finish this season. I’m probably going to be wrong.
Aberdeen Last season: 9th
You never know quite what you’re getting with Aberdeen. As inconsistent as a team could get, many were calling for Mark McGhee’s rather oddly shaped head not long into the SPL calendar, with little in the way of new signings and disappointing performances. This time round, Aberdeen have blockbuster signing Paul Hartley to stand around looking annoyed in the heart of their midfield, but his experience should provide more composure in a team that’s rather accident-prone at times. New boys Yoan Folly and Scott Vernon have replaced the likes of Tommy Smith and Mark Kerr, while Mark Howard provides competition for Jamie Langfield in goals. Either they’ll chase doggedly towards Europe, or battle towards the top end of the bottom half of the table, but I can’t see Aberdeen finishing any lower than 6th.
My prediction: 5th
Celtic Last season: 2nd
It’s maybe a bit too obvious to say, but Meltown Mowbray wasn’t exactly a success at Celtic. Having introduced the huddle in his playing days, his signature looked promising: allowed several new players to spend money on, a Celtic man through-and-through, with an onus on passionate but attacking football… deja vu, anyone? The new, mellow Neil Lennon is at the helm after an impressive string of managerial performances towards the end of last season, and has spent wisely in the transfer market, with the additions of Joe Ledley and Efrain Juarez looking rather promising. Gary Hooper could be Lennon’s most sound investment, however, a veritable goal-whore amongst virgins: Samaras and Fortune are good at holding the ball up, but seemingly little else. Sammy lumbers around like a kind of lazy Jesus, before blasting it over the bar, although he can be an aerial threat – a lazy journalistic term which means he’s quite tall. With the loss of Kris Boyd and Kevin Thomson over at Dante’s seventh circle of hell, all the title signs are pointing towards Parkhead, but the loss of Artur Boruc is troubling, even if he was becoming increasingly robust in his tenure, like a mental, bigoted Violet Beauregard.
My prediction: 1st
Dundee United Last season: 3rd
The tangerine section of Dundee has had a lot to celebrate recently. Not only have evolutional developments allowed the city’s population opposable thumbs, but because of this, the local industry has thrived, as shops and tourist spots have emerged. Also, people are taking up football: United boast the best young squad in the SPL, with players like Craig Conway and Paul Dixon helping to provide a fast, fluid method, which has been far too much for lower teams and has even overcome the gruesome twosome in the last few seasons. Whether or not they can improve on this form is yet to be seen, as additions to the squad have been sparse, save for the brilliantly named Fillip Mentel from Manchester City, and Queen’s Park’s Barry Douglas. 3rd place shouldn’t be out of sight for this lot.
My prediction: 3rd
Hamilton Academical Last season: 7th
Ah, Hamilton. It’s a sad indictment of the Premier League when a club is promoted and settles in so well that it’s like they were always there. They’ve made everyone look a bit stupid for a couple of years now, but with the loss of McArthur to Wigan Athletic, it’s difficult to see where the creativity and goals are going to come from. Billy Reid organises his teams well and his signings have been sensible: Jack Ross and Gavin Skelton are good signings (from St Mirren and Kilmarnock respectively), while Gary McDonald was underrated at Aberdeen. Finish 7th marked a great season for the Accies, but I can’t see them reaching further than 9th this year. I hope they prove me wrong, they’re weirdly likeable.
My prediction: 9th
Hearts Last season: 6th
What a strange club. Vladimir Romanov, who’s becoming more and more like a Bond villain, has actually been relegated from “Fucking Mental” to “Frustrated Psychopath”, as Jim Jeffries hasn’t been sacked yet, and has been at the club for over 8 minutes. Results got worse after Cszaba Laszlo was got rid of for no particular reason, but Jeffries has provided some interest with his unbearably clever signings. There’s only one FBK Kaunas player, goalkeeper Marian Kello, while Kevin Kyle and Darren Barr provide a Scottish contingent. Despite this, there are still concerns about Hearts, in that I really don’t like them and I’m not willing to see them finishing above 6th. Same as last season, hopefully more red cards, because that’d be funny.
My prediction: 6th
Hibernian Last season: 4th
This is getting a bit boring now. My predictions are getting more and more like the table from last season, not because I’m lazy and meant to be studying (well, that), but because I just cannot bet against Hibs and Hearts finishing in the same places as last season, okay? I’m sorry. I’m not good enough for you. So, Hibs: Yogi Hughes is doing a fine job preserving the attacking, fluid football that Hibees have become famous for, with Riordan, Nish and Stokes providing a pretty fearsome front line. This’ll be a big season for Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson, who have the potential to break into the Scotland squad, I reckon. Yeah! Okay, I reckon that! So leave it out. I’ve been right before, you know.
My prediction: 4th
Inverness Caledonian Thistle last season: Promoted
Oh fuck off, Caley. You’re a right hike, and Terry Butcher’s just a terrible human being. You won’t get relegated, but it’ll be close. Whatever. You’ve got a new striker called Gil, that’s ridiculous.
My prediction: 11th
Kilmarnock Last season: 11th
I hate Killie. Sorry Michael, I just hate them. Look at their badge, it’s a crudely drawn football with squirrels on the sides, and Craig Charles’ ‘Thanks for watching Robot Wars’ hand salute growing out the top. It’s a disgrace. Anyway, Killie have got rid of their ferocious forward Trifeca of Fernandez, Burchill and Kyle, and you’ve got to wonder where the goals are going to come from. David Da Silva will probably be a disappointment, having been injured in the first game by defenders who don’t like him because his name’s ‘a bit gay’. They look a bit hopeless. I reckon it’ll be a three-way relegation battle with Caley and St Mirren, and somehow Killie will come out on top. They always do. Fucking Killie. It’s a shithole, by the way.
My prediction: 10th
Motherwell Last season: 5th
Ah, Motherwell. With alleged bigot Craig Brown at the helm, they finished a very respectable 5th last season. Remember that game against Hibs? All those goals? That was fun. But I can’t see them reaching above the split at the end of the season. In Giles Coke and Jim O’Brien, they’ve lost good players, and in Lukas Jutkiewicz, they had a player capable of scoring frequently. Their European performances are encouraging, and I certainly don’t think they’ll struggle this season, but 7th place seems likely for Brown’s men.
My prediction: 7th
Rangers last season: 1st
It’s all a bit doom-and-gloom at Ibrox. They’ve got rid of Kris Boyd, who you’ll remember from having an annoying face and scoring heaps of goals from 3 yards out. He’s gone to Middlesbrough, an internment camp for good SPL players, along with Kevin Thomson, meaning that Maurice Edu will have a more important part to play this season. Remarkably, no big offers have come in for Steven Davis, who’s, y’know, good. Kyle Laugherty and the brilliantly named George Welcome look to be the goal threats for Walter Smith’s side, their manager turning more and more into a grey, lifeless blob of human being. The kind of person who signs Duncan Ferguson for a Premiership team. They’ll finish 2nd.
My prediction: 2nd
St Johnstone Last season 8th
Ah, St Johnstone. Nice stadium, nice fans. With Scott Dobie and Sam Parkin up front, goals shouldn’t be too hard to come by, and 8th again is pretty reasonable. They’re not as exciting as other teams. I can’t put a pentagram for their badge or anything. Whatever. Shut up. You do this.
My prediction: 8th
St Mirren Last season 10th
Absolutely the worst football team to watch in the entire world. Gus McPherson’s one-man tirade to beat the sport into submission until it’s just a game called ‘Punting’ has seen the extremely likeable Billy Mehmet leave Paisley, while a myriad of defenders have come into the club. Jack Ross was a star performer for the club last season: with him gone, will they survive? I bloody hope not.
My prediction: 12th