The Week In Scotland – The SMNLSC Edition
Don’t worry about the title, there is literally TWO people in the world who will get it, but they’ll love me for it! Anyway, to business!
It’s been a busy week for Scottish transfers, mainly with the Old Firm. Celtic have sent young Lewis Toshney on loan to Dundee. At 20 years old, he’s at the age where he needs regular first team football, and a loan spell at Kimarnock last season seemed to do him the world of good. He’ll get a game at Dundee and with a lot of potential and talent, the move can only help Lewis and Celtic. A more high profile name to leave Parkhead was Korean midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung, who has moved to Swansea for a reported £6 million. I’m not sure how Celtic managed to get so much for him, as he’s absolutely rotten. He’ll be found out in the English Premier League, I have no doubt.
Over at Ibrox, Rangers continue to sign anyone who has a passport and a pair of football boots. In what actually looks like a decent signing, Sebastien Faure joined the club and became their sixth summer signing. He left Lyon in the summer without playing for the French club in Ligue Un, although he did feature in the French League Cup. With that background along with being part of the u-20 French World Cup squad that finished fourth in 2011, the young defender has all the tools to be a fantastic signing. Greek defender Anestis Argyriou became the seventh signing, and the 24 year old offers cover in central defence or right back. Anethis started his career at Panathinaikos before moving to AEK Athens, who released him in the summer.
Dorin Goran left the club on loan to the disappointment of absolutely no one. The Romanian defender has moved back to Italian football and joined Serie B club Spezia on a season long loan, and it’s the best move for both the player and the club. Goran looked severely disinterested in Division Three and Rangers needed the wages off their books. Another international to leave the club was American midfielder Maurice Edu, who has moved to Stoke for an undisclosed fee.
So, with all the changes at Ibrox, are they waltzing away with Division Three as expected?
Berwick Rangers 1 – 1 Rangers
The ‘big’ Rangers went back to Shielfield Park, the scene of one of the biggest shocks in Scottish football history in 1967 when the ‘wee’ Rangers beat the Ibrox team 1-0 in the Scottish Cup. And although Rangers realised a dream of sorts by playing league football in England (Berwick is two and a half miles over the border) they couldn’t get a victory. Indeed, they would have lost the game had Chris Townsley’s header from close range been given as a goal instead of being chalked off for no obvious reason. Ally McCoist suggested after the game that even more signings were in order to ensure the club were not ‘embarrassed’ again:
“That is arguably the worst performance I’ve seen in a long, long time from any Rangers team. Careless attitude, careless passing, not enough people wanting the ball, not enough people demanding the ball, not enough people going into dangerous areas. Just, from start to finish, a totally lacklustre, not good enough performance.”
From what I saw of the game, Ally is bang on the money. However, I do think he’s missing something very important. Rangers’ woes this season have been away from home. At Ibrox, they have been handing out some proper kickings to their league rivals. However, when Rangers travel to grounds like Broadwood and Shielfield Park, their divisional rivals will treat their games as their cup finals, and are turning up the effort and pressure against the internationalists in blue. Quite frankly, a bit more professionalism from Rangers will ensure they win these games.
Celtic shocked a lot of observers with a 2-0 victory against Helsingborgs away from home in the Champions League qualifiers. Celtic’s away record in Europe is infamous but they managed a slight upset to win in Sweden with goals from Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras. Despite the result, the hosts were the better team and only a wonder performance from Fraser Forster kept the Swedes at bay. Celtic are now heavy favourites to play Champions League football for the first time in four years.
Motherwell continued their disastrous spell in European football with a 2-0 loss at home to La Liga outfit Levante in the final Europa League qualifiers. Both teams had a little bit in common, where they simply aren’t as good as they were last season. Unfortunately for the Steelmen, that’s where the similarities ended. Motherwell were simply outclassed and only a quality display from Darren Randolph in goals stopped the Spaniards scoring even more. To add salt into the wounds, Shaun Hutchinson recieved the first of his two red cards last week (he was also sent off against St Mirren on Sunday) when he hauled down Theofanis Gekas on the edge of the box as he bore down on the Motherwell goal.
Hearts were in Europa League action at home to Liverpool, and the Tynecastle lads could consider themselves extremely unlucky to lose 1-0. In the first half, Liverpool came closest to scoring as Fabio Borini rattled the post, but Pepe Reina was the busier goalkeeper as Hearts had chances but couldn’t find the killer touch to find the back of the net. Both Reina and Jamie MacDonald were in fantastic form and were the reasons both teams were struggling to score. Liverpool made the breakthrough in the 78th minute as a hard and low Martin Kelly cross skidded along the penalty area straight onto Andy Webster’s shins and the ball rebounded past MacDonald to the despair of the Hearts faithful. The multi millionaires of Liverpool really struggled against a tenacious Hearts team, and only the form of Reina stopped Hearts getting at least a draw.
It looks like Scotland won’t have any representation in this season’s Europa League, but Hearts can be proud of their performance against Liverpool no matter what happens at Anfield, and Motherwell…well, Spain is warm.
Ryan Thomson Had A Bad Week
The Dunfermline defender had a week to forget. He appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday on a charge of assaulting a taxi driver in Glasgow. The 21-year-old are accused of acting in a threatening or abusive manner towards cabbie John Reilly. Thomson is also said to have punched and kicked the taxi. You’d think it wouldn’t get much worse wouldn’t you?
You’d be wrong.
Later on in the week, he was back in the news along with team-mate Paul Willis because of this picture appearing on Facebook and Twitter:
It doesn’t look good at first, or second glances. Rather than comment any further, I’m going to post the club statement about the matter.
“Although we too were initially very shocked by the image, we are now satisfied, after speaking to both players, that the photo of Paul Willis and Ryan Thomson appearing on Facebook and Twitter has been taken entirely out of context; the two young Dunfermline Athletic players were surprised to see the dog (in the photograph) with a ferret and the lady having to separate the two pets, as had most of the passers-by in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh at the time.
They are in no way laughing at, or mocking the woman in the picture as has been widely suggested.”
Willis added via the statement:
“We did not mean any harm in any way, it was just a remarkable sight to see the dog with the ferret so we commented on it and what we thought was a private picture was taken. It was in no way meant to be offensive to the woman in the picture and it was never our intention to bring the Club into disrepute. We would like again to apologise sincerely for any offence taken.”
Dunfermline concluded their statement with:
DAFC have confirmed through official sources that the lady does often bring both pets to accompany her, verifying the sequence of events.
Fair enough. However, I have one question. How the hell did Dunfermline find ‘official sources’ for this?
Livingston And Gary Bollan Agree Settlement
Former manager Gary Bollan and Livingston have agreed a compensation package after the two parties parted company in February.
A settlement was agreed just before an employment tribunal was due to hear Bollan’s claim for unfair dismissal.
If you fancy hearing more about Scottish football, follow theSPLpodcast on Twitter. I’ve joined their podcast for the new season and we’re already offending people up and down the country! If you’d like to hear me swear even more, then that’s the place to go!
***Did I miss anything? Got something for me to add in next week? Any comments to either please me or destroy my soul? Post below or find me on Twitter @Manky365***