Scottish Premiership: Can Anyone Ever Shake The Old Firm SPFL Stranglehold?
Scotland’s passion for football sometimes teeters on the absurd. It’s an intoxicating blend of bittersweet memories, anticipation, and moments that would be comical if they weren’t so heartrendingly real.
Imagine, if you will, a Premier League manager in England fussing over the height of a crossbar just before the game. Seems far-fetched? Yet, Livingston’s David Martindale did just that last season.
Would you ever think of Bundesliga players opting for a game of rock, paper, scissors to decide a free-kick taker? That’s exactly what happened with St Johnstone against Celtic.
And then there’s the peculiar case of Bobby Linn, from Arbroath, signing a Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie, turning it into a raffle prize. Only in Scottish football.
The humour is ever-present. Take, for instance, Brora’s commentary on their severely flooded pitch: “Who’s inspecting it? Aquaman?”
Resilience of Scottish Football
Despite the quirks, the sport thrives. In a protective bubble, it seems, where attendance soars even when the odds stack high. The SPFL recently announced a staggering attendance of 5,087,400 for the 2022-23 season. The heavy lifting, admittedly, is done by the big players like Celtic and Rangers, but in these challenging times, any rise feels monumental.
Many clubs here dance a dangerous waltz on the financial tightrope. Supporters, bless them, often arrive more in hope than real expectation. The governance, the quality, the officiating – all topics of fervent debate, yet the heartbeats continue, fervent and strong.
In fact, Scottish club football was Europe’s most-watched last season, with a 65% margin over the Netherlands. The glamour of Europe might elude, but the Scots see football as life’s less significant yet deeply meaningful indulgence.
New Dawn: The Season Ahead
The air brims with anticipation as the new season approaches. Already, the Premiership has witnessed recruits from 28 countries. While new talent floods in, focus remains on the chances given to homegrown players.
One can hardly stake a claim on predictions, except perhaps the almost inevitable dominance of Celtic. Dundee United started strong, only to falter. Hearts seemed destined for third, but fate had other plans. Partick Thistle’s aspirations shifted as the season unfolded. Celtic, though, remain a constant, with 10 profitable seasons out of 11. Their hold remains, despite losing Ange Postecoglou and Jota.
Rangers, on the other hand, chase the dream fiercely. Their recruitment strategy is aggressive, yet questions loom large about their efficacy. Can they rise to the challenge of Glasgow’s demanding atmosphere?
September’s derby at Ibrox promises fireworks.
The Battle Beyond the Big Two
The race gets tighter as you move down the table. Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, and Motherwell all face their challenges, especially with big players moving on.
But such is the nature of Scottish football – passionate, unpredictable, and always keeping its fans on the edge of their seats, dreaming, dreading, and ever hopeful. It’s more than a game here; it’s in their very essence.