Saturday, 9 August 2014

2014-15 SPFL Preview

As a new season dawns, each team has hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Here I will discuss what I will think will happen between now and May in Scotland two full time leagues.

Premiership

Aberdeen

After playing six competitive games in Europe. the Dons are the club we know the most about. Of the teams who were in Europe, the reds looked the most impressive, with their 2-1 victory, away to Groningen being the highlight. Aberdeen have added five players to their ranks including former Dundee United star David Goodwillie have lost four players including Calvin Zola. My view is that Aberdeen have became much stronger in pre-season and could challenge Celtic for the title. Aberdeen should be a shoe-in for Europe. I have Aberdeen to be 3rd place.

Aberdeen in Europe 
1QLatvia FK Daugava Rīga5–03–08–0
2QNetherlands FC Groningen0–02–12–1
3QSpain Real Sociedad0–22–32–5

Celtic

Neil Lennon shocked Scottish Football by resigning in May, it took Peter Lawwell and the Celtic board, 15 days to appoint Ronny Delia from Stromsgodset. Celtic have spent no real money and only signing Craig Gordon, foe when Fraser Forestar goes to Southampton for £10m.

After seeing the Bhoys play in Europe, I think Delia will fare badly. Celtic were today reinstated in the Champions League after a technically, I believe that this will help the other clubs as Celtic will have to play another 8 games in Europe. My verdict is that Celtic, will win the League but it would require a new manager of new investment in the Glasgow Club.

Dundee

The SPFL Championship winners have completely overturned their squad with no fewer than 11 players in and 14 players out. The key players in are, Paul McGowan (from St Mirren) and Kevin Thomson (Hibs) both of which are rated fairly highly in Scotland. Dundee had a good pre-season with a wins over Manchester City and Hearts in friendlies. Under Paul Hartley Premiership, the dees look a good outfit and look a whole lot stronger than their last time in the top flight. My verdict is for Dundee to challenge for top six.

Dundee United

The Tangerines look stronger this season, despite losing Ryan Gauld and Andy Robertson to Sporting CP and Hull for £5m. United have signed Mario Bilate from Sparta Rotterdam and is already looking a good Centre Forward. The signings of Callum Morris and Jaroslav Fojut have gave United what they were missing, a solid Central Defensive partnership. In Pre-season, The Terrors had good wins including 4-0 over Bohemians and 2-1 over NAC Breda. Dundee United look like they can challenge Celtic, providing they have a good start, and hence my verdict is 2nd place for the Tangerines.

Hamilton Academical 

After a stunning Play-off final win over Hibs, the Accies will be wanting to stay in the top flight for longer than one season. In their only competitive game they've played so far they beat Arbroath, 2-1, at home in the League Cup. Accies have signed four players including the re-signing of Dougie Imrie from Morton and the addition  of ex-Dundee United Goalkeeper Michael McGovern from Falkirk. The Accies look like one of the weaker teams in the Premiership but under the management of Alex Neil, believe they will avoid the drop.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Inverness look a lot weaker than last season and John Hughes had a woeful run at the end of the season, with only 2 wins in 12 games. The Highlanders lost 4 players and have not signed any as yet, Billy McKay looks like he will leave to League One Fleetwood Town. Despite winning all their friendlies I can't see them being top six. My prediction is for them to be fighting relegation, it depends if they lose Billy McKay.

Kilmarnock

After a tenth place last time out, Killie have lost their top scorer - Kris Boyd as well as Jeroen Tesselaar to St Mirren. They have signed Jamie Hamill from Hearts, who was arguably their best player last time out. Killie lack in money, fans and confidence. And for Allan Johnstone, the likelihood is that he will be the first manager to be sacked in the Premiership. My prediction is for Killie to finish in twelve place in the Premiership.

Motherwell

Manager Stuart McCall has had to rebuild his squad again for the third year in a row. The Well had sold Henri Anier to 2nd Tier German side Erzgebirge Aue for £300k as well as releasing James McFadden. They signed Josh Law from Alfreton Town as well as Lionel Ainsworth from Rotherham United.  In Europe they were woeful with a 5-4 aggregate defeat by Icelandic side UMF Stjarnan - a team much worse than Motherwell. My verdict is that the Well will finish 4th place in the league this season.

Partick Thistle

The Glasgow Jags will be looking to improve on their home form this season. They have bought Ryan Stevenson from Hearts and Abdul Osman from Crewe to try and replace Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Lee Mair. They look similar to last year and I believe that they will slightly improve on last years' result. In the League I can see Partick Thistle being 7th. 

Ross County

Ross County have signed 10 players from seven countries and have lost 5 players. The key signings of Joe Cardle on a one year contract from Raith and the loan signing of Filip Kiss, who was a fan favourite in the latter part of last season. Gary Glen and Alex Cooper were the notable exits from the Northern club. I think the staggies will be 9th this season and could possibly battle relegation.

St Johnstone

Saints were unlucky to get knocked out of Europe by Spartak Trnava. Their European run was very good but only when Stevie May was playing. Stevie May is going to be moving Sheffield Utd for £800k. The Perth Side have made no signings and don't look the will do so. In my opinion, Saints will be in the lower part of the top six this season, but I don't think they'll win silverware.

In Europe
2QSwitzerland FC Luzern1–1 (aet)1–12–2 (5–4 p.)
3QSlovakia Spartak Trnava1–21–12–3

St Mirren

Their kit maybe awful but they have already won silverware this season. They beat Morton 2-0, away in  the Renfrewshire Cup Final. Saints have signed 6 players and have sacked their manager in the close season. They have also lost Paul McGowan and Gary Harkins to Dundee as well as releasing Eric Djemba-Djemba. Under Tommy Craig and Gary Locke I think they will just about survive and they will be in the bottom six.


Table

  1. Celtic
  2. Dundee United
  3. Aberdeen
  4. Motherwell
  5. St Johnstone
  6. Dundee
  7. Partick Thistle
  8. Saint Mirren
  9. Ross County
  10. Hamilton Accies
  11. Inverness CT
  12. Kilmarnock

Championship

  1. Heart of Midlothian
  2. Hibernian
  3. Falkirk
  4. The Rangers
  5. Queen of the South
  6. Raith Rovers
  7. Dumbarton
  8. Livingston
  9. Alloa Athletic
  10. Cowdenbeath
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