In a couple of hours time the curtain will raise on another season when Celtic host Hearts. My thoughts turn to predictions. My thinking has been coloured by an excellent analysis by Matt McGlone and Ally Beg in A Celtic State of Mind podcast on CQN. They ran their rulers over how Celtic and Aberdeen will measure up. There was much to agree with, but I will strike a note of discord with my prediction that Aberdeen will finish third this year.
Will Rangers Lite be runners-up to a rampant Celtic? This is highly unlikely as there is a schism in their squad. The WhatsApp group could be renamed WhatsLeft, with Kiernan being the latest departure, rocking up at Southend for a mere £75,000. Would it be unkind to suggest that they were robbed? Rangers will be harder to beat now that the centre half pairing of Kiernan/Wilson has been replaced, but lack bite upfront. Kenny Miller will be 38 on December 23 and to exacerbate matters refuses to talk to Caixinha who wanted to ship him out. Miller refers to the Poundstretcher’s Mourinho as “Banger.” Bringing in second tier foreign journeymen on higher salaries has upset the WhatsLeft group. Wallace was forced to cancel his honeymoon to prepare for the Progres humiliation. Lite will do well to finish fifth.
I’m tipping Hibs to make a stunning return to top tier football. Lennon will have them well prepared and as we saw with their Scottish Cup triumph of 2016 they don’t know when they are beaten.
As for Celtic I do not anticipate another unbeaten season. The away leg of the play-offs against Astana will be a logistical nightmare. A domestic upset after a European tie is more than likely. With Aberdeen exiting the Europa qualifiers only Celtic will be carrying the Scottish standard in Europe. The domestic teams with a full week to prepare and no disruptive travel will be waiting to pounce
In short my top 5 are:
5. Rangers Lite.
As for cups the SFA will continue to cheat to provide Lite with home ties all the way to the semi-finals stage. Is this a condition of their contract with William Hill? However I anticipate Aberdeen posing the biggest threat to Celtic’s defence of the trophy. I cannot see any further than CFC for the League Cup.
It will be another good year for the bookmakers who will find even more creative ways to make one bankrupt and usher in warrant sales. The English FA have outlawed the gaming succubi, but in the corrupt backwater of Scottish Football the bookmakers will continue to exact their ounce of flesh. Children will go hungry as Dads bet in play to feed fat cats like Ralph Topping.
Does Topping honestly believe that Moynihan’s fantasy rebuttal will survive Judicial scrutiny, or was he trying to sell inordinately poor goods? The real action this season could be at the The Court of Session where 17 tainted titles are up for grabs.
With twenty titles to be contested it should be an interesting season.