ARE SCOTLAND IN NEED OF A SUPERSTAR?
GRAHAM SWANN DISCUSSES DUNFERMLINE’S TROUBLES P.11
Andrew Jenkin Stuart Kenny
HEAD OF DESIGN David Chalmers
Graham Swann, Dave McFarlane Scott Binnie, Stuart Kenny, Paul Fisher, Robert Clark
Dave Murty Photography, Andrew Wightman (Wightman Media), Daily Record, Herald, Telegraph, Hamilton FC
Warren Hawke and Paul Goodwin
www.ultimatescottishfootball.com Inquiries: email@example.com Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org Design: email@example.com
SOCIAL MEDIA Twitter: @UScotFoot
EDITOR’S NOTES “Our initial mantra of examining the beautiful game in this country is still our number one aim and we hope to continue to do that in this issue.” We know that Queen of the South and Rangers are champions of the second and third divisions respectively and that Partick Thistle look likely to follow in the near future, by securing the first division title, but outside of that Scottish football looks as open for interpretation as ever. As of writing, which teams will be in what leagues, and how many teams will compete in those leagues seems murky at best. We hope the off-field issues to do not take the sheen of a very exciting time on the pitch in domestic Scottish football. St Mirren won a Scottish League cup final for the ages last month, Queen of the South secured the double with their Ramsdens Cup final victory and football fans were treated to two all-time classic cup semi-finals over the weekened as Hibernian and Celtic recorded 4-3 victories over Falkirk and Dundee United. Our initial mantra of examining the beautiful game in this country is still our number one aim and we hope to continue to do that in this issue. We hope you enjoy Issue Two. Any feedback of how you think we can improve our magazine is greatly appreciated. You can contact us through our Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our email address firstname.lastname@example.org Happy reading! Graeme Young Editor, Ultimate Scottish Football @UScotGraeme
CONTENTS 03. THE FIVE BEST PLAYERS IN DIV. 3 05. ACADEMICALS HAVE SOME WORKING OUT TO DO 07. DOONHAMMERS DREAM SEASON 09. THE GROWTH OF DEMOCRACY IN SCOTTISH FOOTBALL 11. PARS IN TROUBLE 15. RANGERS KIDS BODE WELL FOR THE FUTURE 17. WARREN HAWKE INTERVIEW 23. BINOS SHOULD FOCUS ON NEXT YEAR 27. SCOTLAND - HOME OR AWAY? 31. SEARCHING FOR A SCOTLAND SUPERSTAR 33. USF QUIZ 34. SFL LEAGUE TABLES
P.07 Editor Graeme Young talks about Queen of the South’s incredible season, where the Doonhammers have stormed Division Two and won the Ramsdens Cup
P.09 Paul Goodwin, author of Saving Scottish Football, talks about what we need to do next to save our national game
P.11 Graham Swann ponders what’s next for Dunfermline
BEST PLAYERS IN DIVISION THREE
t’s been a season of progression, development and surreal opportunities in the Irn-Bru Third Division this year, as budding fourth tier clubs battled to make their own team history by defeating Ally McCoist’s Rangers side.
time football in order to finish a plumbing apprenticeship, and was quickly snapped up by Peterhead. The forward has certainly shown why he was such an appealing prospect too, chalking up 19 goals this campaign to put himself second behind only Andy Little in the While the men from Ibrox surprised nobody by Division Three scoring charts. running away with the bottom tier title though, there have been some big performances from McAllister must rightly claim a high share of other clubs around the division, with certain the plaudits for Peterhead’s recently revitalised young hotshots turning heads in their senior form, which has seen them rack up a winning debuts and various more established players streak of five games in a row – a spell which also catching the eye. has featured a total of nine goals from the former Inverness attacker, and with his form Ultimate Football Scotland has kept a close seeming to peak at just the right time this eye on the exciting and unpredictable world term, you can bet your mortgage that clubs of Division Three since it first kicked-off in from higher echelons of the SFL will be taking August 2012. Here are just some of the names a look at him this summer. from the league from outside the Murray Park training ground that have shown that they have the potential to light up the SFL. Aidan Connolly – Queen’s Park
– midfielder (17 years old)
At just 17 years old, Aidan Connolly has had to balance playing high level Third Division football at the national stadium with studying for exams in his final year of high One singular goal at Forthbank last school, but the young midfielder has done a weekend proved just the tonic needed wonderful job. to hand Peterhead a narrow victory over Greig MacDonald’s Binos, and the fact that this strike After netting his first ever goal for the senior came from Rory McAllister is an accurate Queen’s Park side in the Spiders first ever Friday reflection of how important the frontman has night match – a 2-1 home defeat of Stirling been to the Blue Toon this term. Albion in November – the talented playmaker has gone on to make somewhat of a name Chased by top Scottish sides including Danny for himself in Scottish footballing circles, Lennon’s St Mirren pre-season, McAllister claiming the Irn-Bru SFL Young Player of the instead opted to continue playing part- Month award for his consistently excellent
Rory McAllister – Peterhead – Striker (25 years old)
Rangers from East of Scotland amateur side Leith Athletic, and after signing on for the As the son of Paddy Connolly, the current reserve ranks at Shielfield Park in 2011, a string assistant-manager at Alloa who had an of impressive results earned him a shot at the established playing career himself at the likes senior side. of Dundee United, St Johnston and Airdrie, Aidan certainly has the beautiful game in his Since then, things have more than taken off for blood, and the youngster drew particular Lavery, and this season in particular is one he is attention after shining in the Spiders 1-0 unlikely to forget in a hurry. The 5ft 10” striker defeat to Rangers in late December, a match is by far the most prolific man at Berwick this which was televised live on SkySports. season, having netted 17 goals in total, and a commendable capacity for variety which With five domestic goals now to his name, it allows him to slot the ball in comfortably when is clear that this young midfielder has a bright one on one or fire home spectacularly for long future ahead of him. range has lead him to become a fearsome opponent for any Third Division defence.
Jamie Bishop – Stirling Albion – defender (28 years old)
After featuring for Stirling Albion on loan from Forfar three times near the end of 2012, the Binos managed to snap up Jamie Bishop on a free transfer in mid January, and the Forthbank back line has looked a lot stronger ever since. Indeed, with his strong aerial command and composure on the ball, centre back unit Bishop has been one of the key figures in the remarkable post-New Year turn around that has undergone Greig MacDonald’s Binos team, helping lift the club off the bottom of the table and put them until recently into serious contention for the play-off spots.
We may be seeing this target man playing at higher levels of the Scottish Football League in the not so distant future.
Scott Chaplain – Annan Athletic – midfielder (29 years old)
An ever-present rock in the Annan Athletic midfield, Scott Chaplain is one of the most steady, technically talented passers currently in the Third Division.
After starting his career at Rangers, Chaplain has enjoyed active seasons playing for Ayr United, Albion Rovers, Partick Thistle and After forming a strong partnership with Dumbarton, and so it was no surprise when Albion captain Brian Allison in the defensive Jim Chapman snapped him up at the first third, Bishop has become a fans favourite at opportunity for the start of this season. Forthbank in no time at all with his technical ability and footballing knowhow shining This choice has proved an admirable one through, a factor which has contributed largely for the Galabankies, with the goal scoring to toughening up a Stirling defence which has midfielder – who has netted 85 career goals been difficult to break down since the turn of so far – getting himself on the score sheet 11 the year. times this term, a strike tally just one less Ali Love, the top goal scorer at the club.
Darren Lavery – Berwick Rangers – striker (21 years old)
With a smart and experienced footballing head on his shoulders, Chaplain knows where to be and when to be there when an attack is launched, he knows when to thread a neat throughball and exactly how to do so, and most There have been many young strikers importantly, he knows how to consistently lighting up the Third Division throughout this find the net from dangerous positions. campaign, but Berwick Rangers frontman Darren Lavery has been one of the most Stuart Kenny consistent standout finishers all year. The Edinburgh born striker joined the Wee
ACADEMICALS HAVE SOME WORKING OUT TO DO AS THE BILLY REID ERA ENDS AT HAMILTON ACADEMICALS, WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE NEW DOUGLAS PARK OUTFIT AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR BILLY? When Billy took over at Hamilton in the summer of 2005 after resigning from the Clyde post, few would have predicted the impact he would have at the club. Certainly, no one expected him to be the longest serving manager in Scottish football at the time of his resignation. Billy joined a club in crisis. The previous season, Hamilton only stayed in the First Division by eight points and finances at the club were very tight. In Billy’s first season though, the improvement was immediate as Hamilton finished third in the league. They also finished in the top half next season as his vision was starting to take shape. He was trying to utilise the club’s well renowned youth system and had the team playing some glorious, attractive football. The fans were flocking back to Hamilton. Billy was a great believer in youth at Hamilton, partly through finances but also because he believed the talent was there. To be fair, you can’t argue with results like James McCarthy and James McArthur. Hamilton and Reid gave these lads their chance, nurtured their talents, and look at them now. Every single current squad member was signed or brought in from the youths by Reid, and there is some fantastic youngsters at the club right now. The likes of Stephen Hendrie, Andy Ryan and Eamonn Brophy have a great future in the game because of the Hamilton youth setup Billy helped to champion. Hamilton were promoted as First Division champions in the 2007-08 season and Reid was voted the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year, the first manager from the First Division to win the award. His stock was rising and would continue to do in Hamilton’s first two seasons in the Scottish Premier League, taking the club to 9th and 7th respectively and making several admirers along the way. That 7th place finish linked him with the Leicester City job in June 2010 and more famously, he knocked back the Swansea City job in July 2010. Billy was quoted in an interview at the time: “The chairman also gave me an opportunity. So, at this stage of my career, I decided that I would stay. One day, hopefully, Billy Reid can manage a bigger club. But, for the time being, I’m staying here, I’m ambitious, I’m like anybody else. “I would like to manage at the highest level possible. I shouldn’t be in the game if I don’t want to do that. I know plenty about Swansea. I took a group of kids down there two seasons ago to play at the Liberty Stadium. It’s fantastic, they’ve got passionate fans, 14,00015,000 every week. I was thrilled that a club like that asked for permission to speak to me.” Unfortunately for Reid and Hamilton, this was as good as it got. Hamilton would be relegated from the SPL the next season and failed to gain promotion last season. Players like Tomas Cerny, David Hutton, Mark McLaughlin, Simon Mensing and Dougie Imrie leaving the club during or at the end of the season due to costs, Hamilton were always going to struggle this season. At the time of writing,
Hamilton sit in mid-table, but a massive 28 points behind league leaders Partick Thistle. Both the club and Reid agreed it was time for change, and Reid left Hamilton at the start of April. Club chairman Les Gray said: “The decision to separate was an amicable one. Billy felt he needed a fresh challenge, and the club was like-minded. It was simply and naturally felt that it was the right thing to do at the right time. Billy has already indicated that he will be at Dunfermline to support the team on Saturday and will be at the home game versus Airdrie Utd next Tuesday as well.” So what’s next for Hamilton? Club captain Alex Neil has taken temporary charge along with academy director Frankie McAvoy. The Hamilton Accies Billy Reid has left behind is in a far superior state to the club he came to. Billy has helped the club develop one of the premier youth systems in the Scottish Football League, while playing beautiful football which leaves fans drooling for more. While the need for change was obvious to help the club get back to their goal of SPL football, I wonder if anyone else can do it in the near future. We’ve all seen how well Swansea have done since promotion to the English Premier League. Swansea and Hamilton share a similar ethos in how they play football and the desire to promote youth to the first team squad. And to think Billy...it could have been you. Hamilton will be fine without Billy Reid for the foreseeable future. But has Billy seen his chance at the big time go up in smoke, and is now destined for a career in the Scottish lower leagues? Only time will tell.
DOONHAMERS SHOW THEIR CLASS AFTER SECURING DOUBLE IN DREAM SEASON QUEEN OF THE SOUTH FACED AN UNCERTAIN SEASON AFTER RELEGATION BUT HAVE BOUNCED BACK IN STYLE AFTER DISMANTLING ALL BEFORE THEM IN DURING A HISTORIC 2012/13 SEASON
fter being relegated from the first division after a decade long stay, Queen of the South looked to be up against it after their demotion last term.
The club appointed Allan Johnston as the club’s new player/manager. Johnston had been a player at the club since 2010 before he was offered the manager’s position, succeeding Gus MacPherson at Palmerston last summer. Sandy Clark was appointed as his assistant shortly after. Confidence must have been low as this season approached negativity seemed to consume the club for much of the previous campaign and with a rookie manager taking charge in a lower division, circumstances looked bleak moving forward, but after getting their season underway with a first-round Ramsdens Cup victory against Dumbarton away, Queen’s never really looked back. In August they recorded three victories out of four in the league, as well as cup triumphs in the Ramsdens again, as well as the Scottish League Cup against opponents from the first division and Scottish Premier League respectively. Greenock Morton were put to the sword in the football league trophy, as well as a famous 2-0 victory over Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup. That was followed with an even bigger cup result, an away victory on penalties against Rangers at Ibrox. Rangers may be two divisions below but the result was no doubt sweet for the fans, who had experienced cup heartbreak against the light blues in the 2008 Scottish Cup Final, losing 3-2. For Queen’s, they managed to make the league look effortless. The only defeat they suffered before the title was secured was against Alloa Athletic on a chilly December evening at Recreation Park. Overall in the league, the Doonhamers have played 33 games and won 27 of them. In their 17 home contest they have recorded 15 victories and only drawn on two occasions. That level of consistency is rare in the lower levels, where divisions are so fiercely competed, you only look have to look at how both half’s of the Old Firm have struggled in divisions where they are the cream of the crop. At present only Alloa are
within 25 points of them. A team this consistent will always be full of players who have made a huge impact, none more so than Nicky Clark, the forward has scored 35 goals in all competitions this season. Other success stories have been young local lad Gavin Reilly, as well as the always impressive goalkeeper Lee Robinson and wide man Daniel Carmichael. After securing the league against Brechin at the end of March, they followed that up with a slow-burning but ultimately enthralling Ramsdens Cup final win against Partick Thistle, the side who look certain to be first division champions. The penalty shoot-out win, after conceding in the last minute of extra-time was the stuff fans wonder why the put themselves through it. ‘Keeper Robinson was the star of the show, saving one penalty in extra-time, followed by a further two in the shoot-out. The only thing which has went wrong for the manager in recent times was having his car stolen shortly after the cup final. It wasn’t only the vehicle that was stolen, his Ramsdens Cup final medal was inside the car. After successful spells at Sunderland, Hearts and Kilmarnock, amongst others, Johnston secured his first cup glory. With the early promotion, it allows Queen of the South some extra preparation to prepare for the new campaign. Even on the form they showed this season, they would have without doubt been at least a mid-table side in this season’s first division. There is plenty to get excited about ahead of next season and who knows, there may well be more silverware on the horizon for the Doonhamers.
Graeme Young @UScotGraeme www.ultimatescottishfootball.com
THE GROWTH OF DEMOCRACY IN SCOTTISH FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS DIRECT SCOTLAND’S PAUL GOODWIN SPEAKS ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT FAN OWNERSHIP IS MOVING FORWARD FOR THE SPORT IN THIS COUNTRY. THE AUTHOR OF SAVING SCOTTISH FOOTBALL SHARES HIS VIEWS WITH ULTIMATE SCOTTISH FOOTBALL
trange things are happening in Scottish football and the fans are very much part of what can be described as a changing landscape. In the summer the clubs and the football authorities were told not to treat supporters with contempt and suddenly integrity and consultation became key words in the world of football politics. With the weight of public opinion behind them and their season ticket money in their pockets supporters managed to drive home the message that they needed to be listened to. It really was the start of something different never before seen in the Boardrooms of Scottish Clubs. With five senior clubs in Scotland now “fan owned” and operating on the co-operative basis (one member/one vote), those who matter most - fans, supporters, loyal customers - will have a growing say in what will happen in Scottish Football in the future. This change has been recognised at Hampden Park where both the SFA and the league bodies have really started to engage with fans in a far more meaningful way. In my work with Supporters Direct Scotland it has been encouraging that we really have started to make an impact with our Fans Parliament initiative that provides fans with a voice. If we’d had that voice a few years back then maybe the debate over the new League
Reconstruction package might have been more fans’ focused. As it stands we hope that the growing importance of supporters is extended beyond the current debate. Most observers recognise that the fans may not get everything they want this time around - bigger leagues or the desire not to have to play each other 4 times a season - but there is much in there for the fans to take heart from such as having one league body, fairer financial distributions, more play-offs, a stronger pyramid structure and hopefully better governance too. With the potential shift of power towards these super loyal customers it means that the existing dynamic of dependency on a wealthy owner /benefactor (if you have one of them) could be coming to an end. This creates a unique opportunity in Scotland - with little chance of a profit and a market where very few want to buy a football club, it means that fans’ being more involved in owning and running of clubs is here to stay. More than that, it is the future. Who else has a fan’s lifelong commitment to their club and an interest in ensuring it is safeguarded for the long term? Fans are the lifeblood of football – not just socially and culturally but economically and there are now real chances to turn that commitment into meaningful involvement in the way clubs are governed. Clubs such as Motherwell and St.Mirren are already seeing this as a positive step as
a long term community strategy and fans of clubs such as Hearts, Dunfermline and Kilmarnock are all desperate to have a say in how these clubs can be run as sustainable community assets. The goalposts are moving fast. Of course with potential power there comes responsibility and how many times have we heard in the past that the Board of a club should be held to account when they have not taken fans’ views into consideration. At the five community owned clubs in Scotland there is already democracy in action. There’s no need to be standing outside shouting to sack the Board or to be throwing stones. Instead you just need to turn up at the AGM with your fellow members and vote off for change. There is no doubt that there is a cultural change under way and that change isn’t going to happen overnight. Everyone involved in fan and community ownership is learning about how this new model will work best and how their own club adapts to the change. Like everything else, change takes time to settle and, with every day that passes, new challenges will face everyone involved in a club, including those difficult moments that, ideally, no-one ever wants to see happen. Today, the Fans Representatives on the Board at Dundee FC, a club that is owned 52% by the community, are coming to terms with a managerial appointment that hasn’t been received well by its supporters. There isn’t a Board of Directors at any club in the country that will have received universal backing for a new managerial appointment but what is different at Dundee, and those other clubs that have embraced the fan ownership model, is that rather than being on the outside venting their spleen they have the ability to change, through voting, those representing them in the boardroom. This simply wouldn’t be an option with traditional ownership models and it is this level of transparency and accountability which
provides the basis for the long term success of the model. If you still need convincing, then you need only look to Germany and the Bundesliga where they have embraced supporter ownership for the last 40 years backed up by robust regulation. Not only has that led to unrivalled levels of financial sustainability but it has also been achieved whilst protecting the interest of fans and attracting the biggest crowds in European football – and they’re not doing too badly on the pitch either! In Germany this structure has been part of the fabric of the game for generations, but here a transition will not be immediate and will not be easy. However, whilst the ownership structure that fans now have may not be the perfect model , at least fans can no longer be ignored and, whether you like it or not, that has got to be good news for the game and for the green shoots of football democracy. www.ultimatescottishfootball.com
PARS IN TROUBLE
DUNFERMLINE FACE UNCERTAINTY FOLLOWING A 15-POINT DEDUCTION THAT COULD RELEGATE THEM TO THE SECOND DIVISION. WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE PARS?
he 128th year of Dunfermline Athletic has been a rollercoaster ride. In fact, at times it has felt like the club would be cast into oblivion.
The evidence as to how painful the circumstances were couldn’t have been more obvious as the squad trudged into East End Park. Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher was one of those who Yet, that old club from East End Park departed the club. He slammed the is still fighting. And those in battle are “disgusting manner” in which he lost proving to be a remarkable bunch of his job. The former Scotland stopper young Pars. commented at the time saying, “I know that there is no right way to tell Season 2012/13 will always be somebody that they have lost their job remembered by fans of Dunfermline, but but to hand out a piece of paper to the not for the greatest of reasons. The team gaffer and be called out in front of your has three games however to construct peers is quite disrespectful.” their very own black and white miracle. Gallacher himself has luckily made a Since being placed into full swift return to football following his administration on April 11, the Pars have axe, moving north to join Ross County. been flung into a relegation dog fight. Dunfermline’s former captain Jordan Of course, with administration comes McMillan was also quick to join a new the inevitable point deduction. 15 points club. He is now amongst the ranks at in this case. 15 points which has seen champions elect Partick Thistle. Dunfermline go from plain old boring mid-table to the exciting/dreaded/ Even assistant manager Gerry McCabe awful/squeaky-bum prospect of a good couldn’t escape the cuts. The man who old fashion relegation scrap. Pars fans: had served as Jim McIntyre’s number you choose the adjective. two when the Pars returned to the SPL in 2011 – gone. The objective is clear – if manager Jim Jefferies can guide the Pars to safety it Painful it may be for all those who have will go down as one of great escapes left, but the show must go on. The this club has achieved. recent events at the club have been more like a pantomime. Let’s put the situation into a little perspective. At the tail end of March Gavin Masterton, who has been seen as this year, Bryan Jackson, the club’s the villain by many fans, recently signed administrator, had the task of making over his shares in the club. The Pars’ the Pars’ top earners redundant. Of debt of around £8.5 million is owed course, all Jackson had to go on mainly to Masterton and other directors. was names and figures on a piece of But now there seems to be some light paper. The messenger in this case was at the end of the tunnel. The club is in Jefferies. If reports are to be believed, administration, yes. But the fact is, there those who headed for the exit were is still a club. called into a room one by one to have their redundancy confirmed. A cruel, but Fighting for the club off the pitch has necessary act. seen all sorts of groups formed to help save the Pars. We had the Steering www.ultimatescottishfootball.com
Group and The Pars Community, who had contrasting views as to how Dunfermline could be brought back from the brink. Now though there is Pars United, a new group whose aim is to bring all those who have a connection and love for the club together for the greater good. The charismatic Jim Leishman and Bob Garmory, of the club’s main sponsors the Purvis Group, have been at the forefront of the group urging fans to do all they can to help their club. It would appear the fans have answered that call. As of Friday 12th April, the Pars Supporters Trust updated that £25,743 had been raised for the administration fund as well as £8,030 for the staff/ players support fund.
been narrow says a lot. In fact, scrap that. The fact the players, past and present, have even bothered to pull on the black and white shirt has been remarkable. Attention Ross Millen, Kerr Young, Grant Munro, Alex Whittle, Shaun Byrne, Allan Smith and co: you have a chance to be even more magnificent. After Cowdenbeath, the Pars face Partick Thistle at Firhill before the final game of the season at home to now relegated Airdrie United. Oh and there’s a small matter of the Under 20s side (we may as well say the first team) playing in the Scottish Youth Cup final at Hampden against Celtic on May 1st.
On the pitch, the Pars have a trio of crucial matches to contend with. Since the 15 point deduction, Dunfermline find themselves in the relegation playoff spot and just three points behind Cowdenbeath.
The fans will keep backing the team, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. The stage is set for Pars fans to blow the roof off East End Park should Dunfermline avoid relegation. The fans would be decent enough to pay for a new roof anyway – no biggy.
Next up for Jefferies side is a match against Colin Cameron’s Blue Brazil at East End Park this Saturday. Never has a derby between these two sides had so much riding on it.
The youngsters at Dunfermline know their task for the remainder of this season. If the mission is accomplished, they will become black and white heroes.
But given the recent cuts, it is even more remarkable to learn that the pressure to win is reliant on a team that consists mainly of Under 20s. The team produced a huge victory over Morton recently. Huge not just because every point matters right now, but the side boasted just four over age players.
Although recent results have not been spectacular, the fact that defeats have
Benjamin Ellis - Evasion et la Serenite "Stunning, intricate guitar work, tortured vocals combined with mature and intelligent songwriting" - Drewsy, iTunes Review
Available from iTunes, Spotify and www.ac-re.co.uk now http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/evasion-et-la-serenite/id537515141
RANGERS KIDS BODE WELL FOR FUTURE It wasn’t pretty and at times it veered quite close to embarrassment, but Rangers won the Third Division by a considerable margin. They will fall well short of all of Gretna’s records but nonetheless, Ally McCoist’s side deserved their title win and the points gap does not flatter them. When McCoist signed up the likes of David Templeton, Dean Shiels, Fran Sandaza and Ian Black last summer many expected to see Rangers crush the records set by Gretna and glide to the title with a succession of easy 7- and 8-0 victories over their part-time opponents. That didn’t happen as those SPL-standard players often failed to show what they were capable of and, more significantly, their opponents gave the Gers an intense battle in every single game. While Shiels etc failed to light up the Ibrox turf all too often, a slew of Auchenhowie graduates exploded on to the first team scene and held their own amongst their well-reputed teammates, even surpassing their performances in many games. The emergence of Lewis Macleod, Barrie McKay, Robbie Crawford and so on bodes extremely well for the future of the club both on and off the park. Since the training facility opened up at Auchenhowie the fans have questioned why it hasn’t produced a real quality player. The likes of Jamie Ness, John Fleck and Rhys McCabe all showed particular promise but left the club in the summer and are enjoying varying levels of success in England. However, Macleod and co. have finally proven to the fans what exactly the facility has been doing and how well it’s doing it. If there is one player to the standard of Macleod or McKay generated into the first team every year or two, the programme is working. If players of this standard are being developed from within, there will be no need to spend money on a player from Dundee United or Hearts in the future when a better youngster is already in the ranks. Developing players and selling them for an increased fee isn’t something the Gers exactly excel at, but that should change with this crop of youngsters. If Rangers want to eventually emulate Porto and Ajax in their transfer policies, this is a good small step on that long road. If Barrie McKay leaves the club in five years’ time for £4million, the next few years’ youth development is already paid for. The probability is that, come Rangers’ eventual return to the Scottish top flight, some of their youngsters will have more than 100 senior games under their belt. The rest could have 50-75 games’ experience. The players of a similar age at other SPL clubs won’t be able to say the same, and the equivalent in past Rangers sides haven’t been able to either. Such extensive senior experience for the youngest members of the squad is one of few genuine silver linings in the club’s fall to the bottom.
Macleod, McKay, Chris Hegarty, Fraser Aird and Robbie Crawford have been the most impressive of the young crop to strut their stuff on the Ibrox turf this year, with Macleod in particular key to the way the team plays. It is of no coincidence that Rangers’ performances plummeted with the teenager out of the squad with injury. McKay and Aird both pose great threats out wide and have rotated in and out of the starting eleven often while Crawford has been impressive wherever he’s been asked to play, be it wide, in behind a front man or in the middle of the park. Hegarty struggled when he was used at full back but it’s clear his best position is central defence, a position in which he flourished alongside Lee McCulloch for a spell. Kal Naismith and Kane Hemmings have flirted with the first team and could be expected to receive more playing time now that Sandaza and Kevin Kyle have left the club. Andrew Mitchell was very impressive in his recent first team debut at right back after a great season with the reserves and looks as though he could make that position his own next season, though Darren Cole will have something to say about that once he returns from injury. Ryan Sinnamon, Danny Stoney, Luca Gasparotto, Andrew Murdoch, Charlie Telfer and Tom Walsh have all been in the first team squads with all but a couple making it on to the park in the league while Stuart Urquhart, Callum Gallacher and Kyle McAusland have been out on loan in higher divisions. If McKay, Crawford, Mitchell and co cement themselves as starters alongside Macleod next year, then the next bunch should have no reason not to expect increased playing time. Indeed, if they emulate the path of Macleod, they could make themselves first team regulars.
Scott Binnie @SBinnie19 www.ultimatescottishfootball.com
WARREN HAWKE AFTER 12 YEARS PLYING HIS TRADE IN THE SFL WITH RAITH ROVERS, BERWICK RANGERS, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH AND MOST NOTABLY GREENOCK MORTON, WARREN HAWKE IS NOW INVOLVED WITH PFA SCOTLAND. HE TOOK TIME OUT FROM HIS BUSY SCHEDULE TO SIT DOWN WITH ROBERT CLARK
RC- Warren you are currently involved in PFA Scotland can you tell us a bit about your role and responsibilities there? WH- My role at PFA Scotland is, I look after everything commercial, I’m head of the commercial department and I look after everything from the annual awards dinner to our business partner programme and just make sure the players are getting the best possible deals from a wide range of companies. Basically it’s a comfort blanket for the players when dealing with our Business Partners such as Mercedes or Clydesdale Bank, they (the players) know that they will be getting a highly competitive deal and their information is going to be safe and secure.
RC- Most ex-pros go into coaching or media after they finish up playing, how did this move come about for you? WH- When I was playing Full-Time I was actually studying for a degree Part-Time, there are a few of us who actually went down that route within PFA Scotland. Jack Ross, Craig Flannigan and I, while we were playing, roughly all at the same time, we were all studying outside of football. We were the minority back then, but I do have to say with the excellent work PFA Scotland has been doing lately which is being led by Craig Flannigan we’ve managed to insure more and more players are preparing for life outside of football and that’s not just with coaching positions or media positions there’s a lot more players looking at all aspects of life beyond football.
RC- The seasons end is fast approaching which will mean lots of contracts coming to an end, a busy time for the PFA? WH- Yes totally, every summer we have a lot of members who are out of contract. There are a lot of clubs at the moment that just pay players until the end of the season and then they will engage them again at some stage during pre-season at the start of the next so there is a lot of players actually working 9-10 month contracts and when ever the summer comes along their not getting paid so it is a difficult, difficult period. I think every summer we say ‘this year could be the worst’ and this year I don’t think there is any doubt there is going to be a lot of players, we don’t have the exact figures yet but there will be a lot of players out of contract and a big merry-go-round in the summer. There will be guys who go and get another contract but there will also be guys who do fall from the game and once again hopefully our work at PFA Scotland has managed to get those guys prepared for when that time comes for them.
RC- Let’s talk about your old club GMFC are riding high at the top of SFL1 battling out it with PTFC for that illusive spot in the SPL, just how good a Title Race has it been this year in that League? WH- It has been a great Title Race; it has kept the interest going across Scotland. We had Queen of the South, then Rangers and Celtic winning their respective Titles so to have Morton and Partick Thistle so far ahead of the other teams that are in the league makes for an interesting finish. I don’t think the league table lies, so I’m really looking forward to seeing who comes out on top. With the 2 teams meeting on Wednesday night, you do hear about these games being possible Title deciders but there is still going to be 4-5 games left for both teams after that but no doubt it will be a huge game and looking at, I believe, it is probably more of a must win for Morton than it is for Partick.
RC- for the Morton players they are going to be under pressure, probably the biggest of their careers so far. How will the players cope with that? WH- Well, I think that is where the Morton boys probably have a more experienced squad so they might have more players that have been in a situation that is similar to this before. Partick Thistle have got a very, very good young squad who have probably played the most attractive football in the First Division this year and they thoroughly deserve to be in the box seat at the minute as they have had a fantastic season but sometimes you look at experience over youth, you never know, sometimes young lads can just come into a game and just forget about any nerves that are there, they’ve never been there before and that could work against the experienced boys. Alternatively it could be the experienced side who have got that wee edge so I’m sure that it’ll be a cracking end to the season and I’m confident the league table won’t lie.
RC- Just how much of an impact can GMFC make on the SPL (if they make it)? WH- There is a big gulf between the SPL and SFL1, there is no doubt about that. I think Dundee have proved that this season and I think both teams whether that is Morton or Partick, it is going to be a struggle and the greatest achievement, the only thing that will be on both sides minds will be to stay in the SPL and that is a huge, huge task but I certainly think each club can bring something a bit different. Both clubs haven’t been there for a while, both sets of supporters have got such a passion for the game and I fully believe that both clubs, whoever goes up, will be a credit to the top tier of Scottish football.
RC- And what impact could the SPL have on Morton, is it purely financial? WH- No it’s not. I think Morton does have so much to give, we hear the term ‘the sleeping giant’ and I think if Morton actually do get there it could just be the catalyst to really start turning the clubs fortunes around. The club has been heavily supported for years now by Douglas Rae; he is a Chairman who is ultimately a Greenock Morton supporter. He wants to see them doing well, he wants them to have a cracking team on the pitch but in the last couple of years it has gone beyond that and we’re starting to get structures into place at the club that will show that the club has got a long term sustainability plan and hopefully that twinned with an SPL place will be a fantastic catalyst for the club.
RC- Your son Lewis is now following in your footsteps taking up a striker’s role firstly at GMFC and currently at Annan Athletic, has he had to deal with that comparison between yourself? WH- Well I think Lewis is potentially a better player than myself, he’s taller, he’s faster, he’s got a better goal scoring ratio than me already and it is a case that he has got a lot of potential but at the end of the day there is a lot of young guys in the game that show a fantastic potential but maybe don’t realise that potential or don’t get that ‘chance’. For a young boy to get a chance in the first team sometimes is as straight forward as somebody goes down ill and you manage to start a game rather than sit on the bench the whole game. You start a game, you prove that you can do then all of a sudden you’re in the first team plans and that is often the case with young kids at the clubs. I think across Scotland in general at the minute we are seeing more and more young players getting a chance at a younger age where as previously people were making their debuts at 19-20 we’re seeing it now across the board 16-17 year old lads within a first team, starting a match, its become more common place.
RC- What advice have you given Lewis? WH- You’ve just got to keep your feet on the ground, you’ve got to work hard. It is not just about what you do on the training park or on the pitch on a Saturday, being a professional footballer is a 24/7. It is every single minute or every single day, it’s looking after yourself and it is all about dedication. If you are within a full-time set up or a professional club at the age of 16-17 you’ve done the hard bit, your talent has got you this far to be honest from then on in it is 70-80% passion and desire and a drive to actually meet the next level and that is what I say to all the young lads.
RC- You had two spells at the Club both very different I’d imagine, your first spell spent mostly in Division 1 then returning in 2001, with the Club relegated to Division 2 followed by going into administration subsequently resulting in a relegation to the bottom tier. Can you just tell us how hard that was for the Club and the players as well? WH- It is very difficult because what happens on the pitch can be down to the manager and the players but when there is so much going on behind the scenes it is very difficult for players. You try to keep focused and the 90 minutes on a Saturday is often your escape but you’re always worried and I look at some of the players at the minute going through a similar scenario, it is a very difficult situation to be in and it’s as simple as that to be honest. When you come back and it’s a club that has just been rescued, I went down to Queen of the South before the club really had the turmoil and I came back just as the rebuild had started. It was like that weight had just been lifted off the shoulders of the club and of the players and at least you know your going in the right direction.
RC- On the talent with the SFL, a lot of clubs in the top tier do their shopping in Europe or in the lower leagues down in England. Do you feel there is a level of player in Scotland that we could be bringing on rather than bringing all these foreign players into our game? WH- 100%. I think their is talent in the SFL, a lot of fantastic potential in the SFL across all teams even the teams at the bottom of SFL1 there are some good talented young players there who just need that chance at the next level. I’m a big believer that the talent is there; we have got to be developing Scottish talent. I fully believe in the SFA programme at the minute with Club Academy Scotland and Mark Wotte’s vision, I think it’s the right way to go, the right way to go forward. There is a lot of clubs who have bought into it including Morton, we have certainly bought into the vision and it is a case of we need to make sure we have a conveyor belt of local talent coming out of every single club. It is the way forward for me and I would prefer to see local young lads getting chances than players on loan from down South. Lets be developing our local young talent and hopefully this will be a way of starting to get players back playing first team football and starting to push, making the whole Scottish game stronger and stronger.
RC- Our National side currently sit 66th in the World Rankings behind sides such as Libya and Sierra Leone, we’ve just appointed Gordon Strachan as the man to turn things around. How big a job has he on his hands? WH- Gordon Strachan has got a difficult job there is no doubt about that. I fully believe that he can turn things around, I actually look at the players and I think we’ve actually got a very good core of good young players who have already broken into the team and are potentially the main stays of the squad for the next 4-5 years. Outside of that at the U21s level we’ve got talented players there and also at the ages younger than that as well. There is a lot of talent there, I think Gordon Strachan will do a terrific job, it’ll be a difficult job yes but any National Managers job is and I’m sure we’ll see progress and we’ll see the Scotland team start to put on the performances we all want to see.
So who are we? We are ‘The Away End’, the latest attempt at a Scottish Football magazine. Not since the heady days of SFT has the game north of the border had a regular magazine devoted to it (that’s Scottish Football Today for those of you too young to remember, come in and take a seat, you are all very welcome here). Up until now, we have produced six online issues in early 2009. We then took a break from producing magazines to instead launch the website, which we did in November 2009. Since then, we’ve had over half a million visitors to the website, as well as producing a weekly podcast (http://theawayend.libsyn.com). In May 2011, we went into partnership with the BA (Hons) Sports Journalism degree at the University of the West of Scotland, the only degree of its kind in Scotland. This now allows us access to the state of the art facilities, as well as also using ‘The Away End’ as a teaching tool for the students. However, this does not mean non-UWS students can’t get involved, and we regularly produce articles on football and our new sports website (www.theawayend.org) from freelance writers, bloggers and students from other institutions. In August 2011, we released our brand new magazine - which gives a glimpse of what you can expect in future from a vibrant, innovative, new media publication like ourselves (try trying that when you’re drunk). We also have plans for a monthly TV show virtue of the university’s brand new studios at the Hamilton and Ayr campuses. To keep up to date with whats happening, either check this website regularly, follow us at www.twitter.com/theawayend or www.facebook.com/theawayend, and check out our podcast at http:// theawayend.libsyn.com. In addition, we’re always on the lookout for more budding writers, so get involved by e-mailing us at editor@ theawayend.net.
GET A FREE £10 BET It’s simple. All you have to do, is go to the following website: www.ultimatescottishfootball.com
and sign up to McBookie by clicking the image like the one above. Fill in your details, and you’re sorted! You’ve got £10 worth of bets. On us. How nice are we?
BINOS SHOULD WRITE THIS SEASON OFF AND FOCUS ON NEXT YEAR
fter a great post-Christmas rejuvenation, there will be some supporters at Stirling Albion left disappointing their team did not launch a more competitive battle for the playoff positions in the final stretch of the season.
Indeed, after losing leads in crunch games with both Montrose and Queen’s Park in early April to only take two points from this crucial double, and then falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Peterhead, the table could certainly look a lot more appealing for the Binos than it currently does. While this may shine a dimmer light on the Albion than Greig MacDonald’s men had hoped for at the end of the season, the real message that the fans from Forthbank should take from this term is one that is filled with hope, battle, and a truckload of promise for what next year could hold. Despite this, there is no pretending that Stirling Albion were playing at an acceptable standard for the first half of the year. A baron run of results saw the club’s opening day 5-1 demolition of Annan Athletic mark the only points they would gain from their first six league fixtures, and with only two league wins from August to the end of November, there could be no complaints at Forthbank about the club propping up the table. December though, began to see changes within the red and white ranks. A solid victory was coined against Berwick and
a hard fought win fought for at home to Peterhead. The New Year arrived with a pinch of belief that had been missing from the Albion changing room in previous matches then, and as Greig MacDonald turned his mind to bringing some fresh faces into the squad, the team’s full potential began to show. Unlike the budding January gym goers and numerous road runners, whatever New Year resolutions were made at Stirling Albion were faithfully fulfilled, with the club embarking on a run of 13 matches with just one loss that started in February and only ended last weekend, as the club were overcome by a Peterhead side on a five match winning streak. Had the Binos strung together anything near this kind of form in the first half of the season, it is almost a certainty that they would currently be in and around the top four, if not pushing for the ‘best of the rest’ tag behind Rangers, and it is on this improvement that the critical eye must focus. Arguably the biggest difference seen when comparing the Stirling Albion sides of pre and post Christmas this season can be found in the defensive uprising lead by Greig MacDonald’s new signings. With team captain Brian Allison already cutting a formidable figure in the Binos back line, the club had a solid foundation upon which to build, but it was the cutting out of nervous passes and tame clearances that MacDonald was really focused upon.
The introduction of former Stirling favourite and experienced defender Ross Forsyth made a huge impact in stopping these basic errors. Forsyth made 168 appearances for the Binos during his six year spell at the club starting in 2005, and the fans adopted him back into the set up in a heartbeat. Jamie Bishop also caused a notable improvement in the Stirling defence after joining upon his release from Forfar. Paired with Allison in the central position, Bishop quickly became part of a sturdy, reliable work force that were dominant in the air and confident in their clearances and possession. With this defensive unit set up in a cemented solitude, Keiran McAnespie was then allowed to move further up the pitch, and the attacking influence of the former Fulham and St Johnstone man was clear to see. Perfectly weighted crosses and free-kicks have become a specialty of this outspoken wingman, and the 33 year-old has even chipped in with a trio of pretty special goals since joining the attacking ranks too. With new signing Jordan White firing in
the goals up top after signing on from Falkirk, and giving the team a much needed target man capable of holding up the ball, and Mark Ferry and David McClune forming the perfectly weighted mixture of defensive and attacking ideologies in the centre of midfield, Stirling Albion really do seem to have put together a side that are more than capable of beating any other team in the division – as has been shown by their remarkable record against Rangers this term. The play-offs may be out of reach for this season – not mathematically, but realistically – yet this should in no way be seen as an unsuccessful campaign for the men from Forthbank. Greig MacDonald has put together a fantastic and competitive squad that have grown into a fearsome opponent over the past four months. If the gaffer can hold on to his key men and build even further over summer, there is every chance that Albion will be prime contenders for the Third Division top spot come this time next year.
Stuart Kenny @StuartKenny www.ultimatescottishfootball.com
Win a pair of tickets to Beach Break Live music festival p18
Brig BRIG Alternative rockers Deaf Havana speak to Brig p12
Stirling University’s Student Newspaper Since 1969
Tick off your Stirling bucket list before graduation p25
Residences rent hike on-campus The University of Stirling’s Student Voice T www.brignewspaper.com Willow Court to cost £54 more per week than Geddes Court
The cost of ASH to rise by £178 Laura Muir News Editor
he new University accommodation is set to be the most expensive oncampus accommodation
available. Willow Court, the first of the new developments intended to replace the older first year halls of residence, will be available to Stirling students this September. The weekly charge for Willow Court flats will be £126, which makes it £54 more per week than Geddes Court this year, £37 more than AKD and £11 more than ASH. Karen Plouviez, Director of Estates and Campus Services, told Brig, “Rent levels are reviewed each year in common with other universities and a key factor in our process is a comprehensive analysis of the rents being charged by other Scottish universities, campus-based universities across the UK and private sector landlords in the local area.” However, notable education charity Brightside has found that the average cost of rent in university halls in Scotland is £86 per week. Only one hall at Stirling, Geddes, costs less than this, with the average weekly cost of on-campus
accommodation increasing from £85 to £98. All of the on-campus rents are increasing this year, with the cost of Andrew Stewart Hall rising by £178 to £4,320 per year - an increase of 4.2%. There has been an average annual increase of £3.64 per week - or £138.30 per year - across the campus residences. First year student Kimberley Wallace told Brig, “I did not consider the new accommodation for next year because it was too expensive. “It would be much cheaper to live in private, off-campus flats and we would probably get more for our money.” The new campus accommodation, which is aimed at first years, will consist of flats and studio apartments rather than the traditional halls of residence. Plouviez states that this decision was made to “reflect current preferences across the HE sector traditional hall accommodation is now almost obsolete”. However, this only serves to increase the financial burden on students, especially those in their first year. With the maximum student loan available at £5,500 for dependent students and £6,500 for independent students in 2013-2014, it is clear that accommodation costs rising to
Johannes Butschers the competition pp 4-5 Picture: Rajmund Bakonyi
Continued on page 2
Save Time, Save Fuel, Save Money, Shop Local
only any 3 for££2 1.20
open 8am - midnight, 7 days a week
Turn to page 12 for more offers The new Campus Supermarket For everything you need.
ALL OFFERS AVAILABLE FROM 1st April - 21st April 2013UNLESS
SCOTLAND HOME OR AWAY?
f you have any interest in football above the border you’ll be all too familiar with the recent struggles of the Scottish National Team. No appearance on the international stage in 15 years, little in the way of hope and an array of underachieving managers does not paint a pretty picture. Is there a solution to this? Yes, there is. There are a number of things we could do to improve the team and looking at one of them more closely to see whether or not it affects national pride, the team mentality and Scotland as a country, I am talking about Sons of England pulling on the blue of Alba and standing twiddling their thumbs whilst the National Anthem (about defeating the English) is belted out. It has been commonplace for years for players to be called up to a country other than the one they were born in. The main example I can think of is France and players from there African colonies coming through to play on the World stage for ‘Les Blues’. It happens in many sports, notable Rugby and Cricket but I feel football, especially Scotland and their fans, have yet to embrace it. In recent times, a number of obscurer footballers from the lower leagues in England have come from nowhere with the realisation that they probably aren’t good enough to make the grade for England but have a parent or grandparent that was Scottish, therefore qualifying them for a call-up. I was, for a very long time, in the ‘If a player wasn’t born in Scotland, he’s not Scottish and shouldn’t play for Scotland’ brigade but recently I have had a complete 180 and decided that it can ONLY be a good thing. Now, hear me out because I know there are a huge number of sceptics out there. I will give you five reasons why we must utilise the players we have at our disposal:
There’s not that many people in Scotland. With a population of just over five million, we don’t have the luxury of being able to pick from a talented pool of players in the top leagues of the world. This has its obvious exceptions but these are rare (Alan Hutton in La Liga) and to be picky is to be fickle and this will undoubtedly end in failure.
The last time we were at a competition I was seven. It’s actually scary to think that we used to take qualification as a given. Obviously a number of factors add to this but I don’t think we have anyone to blame but ourselves. We have stood still where everyone seems to have jumped forward and, I’ll say it again, I WAS SEVEN, I can hardly remember it.
I’m sick of the same old faces. Not pointing any fingers or singling anyone out* (KENNY MILLER) because that would be unfair (GARY CALDWELL) but I feel that a change would be nice as some of the players who are “experienced” (CHRISTOPHE BERRA) aren’t that good anymore and some of them (ALAN HUTTON) were never that good to begin with. *Disclaimer: I take no blame for any subliminal messages in this last paragraph, I couldn’t control my fingers.
It would be nice not to be a laughing stock for once. Ever since I can remember, we’ve been a bit crap and this wouldn’t bother me if now and again we could pick up a few decent wins. With the exception of the two France games and that 1-0 (but 6-1 loss, really) win against the Netherlands we are pretty much abysmal. New players and faces can only do well in my eyes now, especially if they are scouted properly and are good enough to make the grade, unlike some of the complete rubbish we had to put up with under Berti Vogts. Our best players weren’t born in Scotland. Am I right in saying that two of our best players are Jordan Rhodes and Steven Fletcher? Yes? Good. Guess what? Yep, you got it, they weren’t born in Bonnie Scotland but they are commonly welcomed with open arms unlike some of the ‘Plastic Tartan’ players (good name, eh?) who are regularly lambasted because they’re only in the team because their aunties dog belonged to a guy who once stayed in Paisley.
So there we have it, maybe not the most serious look at the issue that is Scotland and our ever fabled international success and whether or not this could return. We have to embrace these changes and pretty much do whatever we can in order to get back where we belong, which is being knocked out of every tournament in the first round, naturally.
Paul Fisher @Steakheed
Review for Anna Sweeney - Oh Gosh Darnit
"Anna has charm and it pervades the four songs on her EP and, whilst she wears her heart on her sleeve, she does so with an emotional dignity" Bluesbunny
Available from iTunes, Spotify and www.ac-re.co.uk now
Calum Gilligan Some Other Avenue OUT NOW
"Love and compassion is the main theme of the album, with sincerity in his lyrics I love Gilligans voice as it can reach many octaves and can evoke multiple emotions" - Sarah Keary, musicreviewunsigned.com
Available from iTunes, Spotify and www.ac-re.co.uk now
SEARCHING FOR A SUPERSTAR: SCOTLAND NEED A SPARK A fter last month’s back to back defeats put paid to Scotland’s hopes of hoisting aloft the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, the attention once again turns to the future, another chapter in Scotland’s bleak recent history has been closed. No one needs reminding that it will be sixteen years and counting since Scotland last qualified for a major championship by the time the festival of football gets under way in Brazil in 2014. Scotland will start the rebuilding job they have been so accustomed to over the next few months.
Wales and Serbia last month.
The defeat was all the more galling was when you looked at the teams put out by the sides they played against. Wales has a population of over two million less than the Scots and Serbia has barely two million more. In Serbia’s victory they were able to call on defenders of real standing in the game. Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic to go alongside Manchester City duo Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic as well as a list of other respectable European talent.
What undoubtedly is hard to swallow for The blame for the national team’s ills can Scotland is seeing Wales bring a real footbe proportioned in a variety of directions, ball star to Hampden in the 2-1 defeat. a lack of dedication to developing young Gareth Bale has been one of the best wide talent, poor managerial appointments and players in the world for the past three enough petty squabbling to keep TV soap seasons but like all great footballers, he watchers entertained. seems to have raised his game to new levels in recent months. Scotland never felt Dutch coach Mark Wotte was brought in the full force of Bale’s abilities, with the to lead a bright new future as the counTottenham Hotspur man being replaced try’s performance director with a remit on at half-time due to injury but the predeveloping our international youth players match build-up was focused on how this in May 2011. With new facilities and club’s new-look Scotland side would be able to continually embracing the importance of a shackle thriving youth academy, there is real optimism. Wales and Bale are a perfect reference because of their locale and recent familiarity One man who you can’t fault is new man- but you can look across world football ager Gordon Strachan. Many believe the at small population football nations and former Celtic manager is a shrewd apwince at the top talent they are producing. pointment and it is up to him to fully anal- Uruguay have two of the best strikers in yse his squad before qualification for Euro the world at their disposal in Edinson Ca2016 begins. The damage was done long vani and Luis Suarez. Belgium’s population before the two limp performances against is currently double that of Scotland but
they have options for their national team, Scotland fans can only dream of.
There have some very good to excellent players who have played for Scotland since in the recent past. Paul Lambert, Davie Weir Our best bet for a leading attacker looks to and Barry Ferguson would all have been be Steven Fletcher, the Sunderland strikcapped by larger nations and cult heroes er looks every inch the quality Premier like James McFadden and Don Hutchinson League striker but after his impasse with had a certain flair which endeared themCraig Levein cost him several caps, he was selves to the Tartan Army but you struggle injured early on against Wales at Hampden. to name the mercurial superstar who has carried the country for any length of time. One thing many will argue is how do you define a superstar? Even in the broadest While in the short term, Strachan may proof terms, the only player this century who duce a more resilient Scotland team but it could even come close to meeting that would take some real miracles to produce criteria is Darren Fletcher and even then a side of any real flair and excitement in the that would be a very generous description near future. for the talented schemer. The Manchester United midfielder was a key component If you look in the dictionary for the definiof the side’s which reached three Chamtion of a superstar: ‘One that is extremely pions League finals over a four year spell, popular or prominent or that is a major between 2008 and 2011. Perhaps, the cru- attraction’, how the national side could be ellest twist of fate for Fletcher was he never using one of those to help reinvigorate a appeared in any of the finals themselves, jaded and weary support. after providing much along the way. Sir Alex Ferguson cited him as a key absence Graeme Young in the 2-0 defeat against Barcelona in the @UScotGraeme 2009 final in Rome.
USF'S ULTIMATE WORLD FOOTBALL QUIZ HERE ARE 25 QUESTIONS TO GET FOOTBALL AFICIONADOS HOT UNDER THE COLLAR. WHOEVER GETS THE MOST CORRECT WILL WIN A HOME SCOTLAND NATIONAL TEAM STRIP. SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO INFO@ULTIMATESCOTTISHFOOTBALL.CO.UK AND THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON OUR WEBSITE. BEST OF LUCK TO ALL WHO ENTER!
Round 1 – Who wins out? 1. More goals this season for their club, Radamel Falcao or Edinson Cavani? 2. More Premier League appearances, Michael Owen or Wayne Rooney?
tormented Premier League defences in the 1990’s? 14. Vidar _______, defender/midfielder who made name at Celtic after starring in 1998 World Cup for Norway?
3. More international caps for Germany, Lukas Podolski or Phillip Lahm?
15. ____ Costa, Portugal’s skilful midfielder who complemented superstar Luis Figo, played for Fiorentina and Milan.
4. More goals in Champions League Ruud Van Nistelrooy or Thierry Henry?
Round 4 – Capped by their country or not?
5. More league winner’s medals, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Xavi Hernandez?
16. Derek Riordan?
Round 2 – Who plays here? 6. Who would you be cheering for at the Turk Telecom Arena? 7. Who plays their home games at the Sao Januario? 8. Who are the occupants of the GetreDome? 9. If you were at the Oita Bank Dome, who would you be cheering on? 10. Who plays their home games at the Rosaleda? Round 3 – Fill in the blanks 11. ________ Mendieta, playmaker who orchestrated Valencia’s run to back to back Champions League finals? 12. Gokhan _______, Swiss midfield enforcer who has made his name in Italy for Udinese and Napoli? 13. Ruel ___, Tottenham winger who
17. Steve Bruce? 18. Vagner Love? 19. Massimo Donati? 20. Craig Brewster? Round 5 – True or False 21. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the most expensive player in football history through combined transfer fees? 22. This is the first year in Champions League history that the semi-finals are made up of two teams each from two countries? 23. Next year’s Europa League final will be held in Naples? 24. Cardiff City’s owners have said they will change their strip colour again, this time to Gold, if they win a major trophy within five years? 25. Andy Little is the top league scorer in Scottish football this season?
SFL LEAGUE TABLES DIVISION ONE POS. TEAM PLD W D L GF GA GD PTS 1. PARTICK THISTLE 34 23 7 4 73 25 48 76 2. MORTON 34 20 7 7 72 41 31 67 3. LIVINGSTON 34 13 10 11 54 53 1 49 4. FALKIRK 34 14 7 13 48 47 1 49 5. HAMILTON 34 13 9 12 49 42 7 48 6. RAITH ROVERS 34 10 12 12 42 46 -4 42 7. DUMBARTON 34 12 3 19 55 81 -26 39 8. DUNFERMLINE 34 14 6 14 58 54 4 33* 9. COWDENBEATH 34 7 12 15 46 61 -15 33 10. AIRDRIE UTD 31 4 7 23 39 86 -47 19 *DUNFERMLINE WERE DOCKED 15PTS ON APRIL 9TH
DIVISION TWO POS. TEAM PLD W D L GF GA GD PTS 1. QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 34 28 4 2 89 21 68 88 2. ALLOA ATHLETIC 34 18 7 9 57 34 23 61 3. BRECHIN CITY 32 17 3 12 64 55 9 54 4. ARBORATH 34 14 7 13 46 56 -10 49 5. FORFAR 34 15 3 16 62 73 -11 48 6. STENHOUSEMUIR 34 11 13 10 56 56 0 46 7. AYR UNITED 34 12 5 17 52 62 -10 41 8. STRANRAER 33 9 6 18 39 65 -26 33 9. EAST FIFE 34 8 7 19 48 60 -12 31 10. ALBION ROVERS 33 7 3 23 44 75 -31 24
DIVISION THREE POS. TEAM PLD W D L GF GA GD PTS 1. RANGERS 34 23 8 3 82 27 55 77 2. PETERHEAD 34 15 8 11 46 28 18 53 3. QUEEN’S PARK 34 15 8 11 58 50 8 53 4. BERWICK RANGERS 34 14 7 13 59 52 7 49 5. MONTROSE 34 12 10 12 58 65 -7 46 6. ELGIN 34 12 8 13 63 66 -3 45 7. STIRLING ALBION 34 11 8 15 56 56 0 41 8. CLYDE 34 12 4 18 41 61 -20 40 9. ANNAN ATHLETIC 34 10 9 15 51 64 -13 39 10. EAST STIRLINGSHIRE 34 8 5 21 45 90 -45 29
> TABLES CORRECT AS OF 20/04/2013 www.ultimatescottishfootball.com