Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back to the future

And so the end is near. Time, I think, to revisit that glorious time in August when we look forward to the season ahead, confident that our predictions will make Nostradamus look like a fairground fortune teller selling false hope for the future because she can no longer get away with selling her body.

Time, in fact, for me to get more egg on my face than Ibrox Masterchef Kirk Broadfoot.

First managerial casualty:


Mixu. Almost certainly. If the rumours have an ounce of truth in them then a humping by Clyde could mean he's away before the start of the season. To be swiftly followed, I'd guess, by Rod Petrie.

Hands up who didn't agree with me? The fans still remain undecided (actually the impression I get is that a majority are firmly decided that the axe should fall) but Mixu hangs on.

A top five win over Hearts and a reworking of Davy Crockett's tactics in back to back draws with the Old Firm ensure he'll be there next season. Only a cynic would say that a lengthy, compensation winning contract has persuaded the normally lavish spending Rod Petrie to keep his powder dry.

Third place:


Dundee United. I've got a feeling that Craig Levein (man least likely to be sacked) will have got United even stronger this season. Could be third at a canter.

So they came close in the end but, in truth, Hearts 3-0 clinching win over United was deserved over the season. A bad start to an emotional season for United left them with too much to do although missing out on Europe completely would be a punishment too far. Levein remains, however, the man best placed to launch a "best of the rest" challenge next year.

Relegated:


I've got a feeling Hamilton might make a strong enough start to survive. So take your pick from St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Hibs (see above).

Hamilton started strongly (one prediction I got right) but still left final confirmation of safety late. Hibs improved on the close season, Kilmarnock survived a predictable slump and St Mirren were better than Inverness and Falkirk.

A season of reasonable contentment:


Falkirk. Top six again. A cup run. Yogi's stock will rise further.

Two cup runs in fact. But also the threat of relegation and demands for his head. If they beat Inverness and Rangers it will be a bloody brilliant season. I reserve judgment on this one!

Champions:


Celtic again I think. There's a chance Rangers might struggle a bit this year. Celtic might not need to do much to keep the title.

I am alone in thinking Rangers did struggle? This is a poor Rangers side. It's evidence of the oddly unsatisfactory Gordon Strachan reign that Ibrox now seems the most likely destination for the title. Celtic should be miles ahead. They're not and that's a problem.

Last Chance Saloon:


Csabo Lazlo. Just because the Heart's job is last chance saloon in perpetuity. Jimmy Calderwood, bit of an enigma at Aberdeen - needs to get the fans back. Kenny Miller, surely now is the time to deliver.

Vlad's done a runner and Csabo's done a grand job. Jimmy's future may now hang on Sunday's results but the fans will remain unconvinced even with European qualification.

For me the problem with Kenny Miller was summed up in Amsterdam. One touch, two touch, three touch, tackle. To his credit he always gets back up for more. And he'll see a title win as vindication.