Right so my odyssey for the next season includes Clyde in League Two and Albion Rovers in League One. They have been chosen because they sit closest to my front door. Rather than spend the entire year being the oracle for all 30 clubs I was hoping to have an insight into at least one club from each division on a more up close and personal basis. But what of the Championship?
I have followed the lower three leagues of the SPFL – SFL before that – for Scotzine over the last few seasons so have excluded the Premiership from my thinking on the grounds of me being more interested in leagues where you don’t know who will win them before they start.
So with the Championship we have the following teams hoping to win their passage to the Holy Grail – Alloa Athletic, Dumbarton, Falkirk, Hibernian, Livingston, Greenock Morton, Queen of the South, Raith Rovers, Rangers and St Mirren. As I live in Kirkintilloch I think I can safely get rid of Alloa Athletic, Falkirk, Hibernian, Queen of the South and Raith Rovers.
It leaves me with Dumbarton, Livingston, Greenock Morton, Rangers and St Mirren. Now it would not take an honours student of geography to work out that Dumbarton, Greenock and Paisley are further away than Govan but bear with me a moment.
Livingston, and the Almondvale Stadium is a whopping 32 miles away. That’s a pity because the story of how Mark Burchill, who never wavered in his belief that they would stay in the Championship, whilst others forecast doom was one of THE stories of last season. I would have loved to have followed their story this year when they don’t have that 5 point deduction…
Dumbarton and the Bet Butler has had an interesting change in management with Stephen Aitken off to show that his tenure at Stranraer was no fluke. At 18.3 miles from my front door it has rushed into the lead.
Cappielow has been one place I have loved visiting over the years and managed a great relationship with Allan Moore when he was there. Under Jim Duffy they got promoted from the league below so this season, like it is for Livingston, is going to be a real test of their character. At 26.2 miles away it is, however, beyond my reach for this exercise.
St Mirren Park – been there once and the team won so happy memories of it… Ian Murray has moved across the Clyde into the next step on what should be a very good management career but they are 19.4 miles away and are just beaten and no more by Dumbarton.
It leaves sunny Govan and the mighty Rangers. At a mere 12.8 miles they are my local Championship side. I had been rooting for them in the playoffs because I wanted to avoid this problem. You see Rangers have massive media coverage and whilst I admit the closest to the home rule is one I truly believe in for your closest team, I am going to bend the rules as that would still make my club, Clyde.
In an attempt to buck the Scottish footballing trends though I shall make Dumbarton my big team and Rangers my wee team in the league. It means major focus on the Sons with an eye kept on a side who let’s be honest are likely to provide us with enough in column inches anyway.
And so I start with Clyde, Albion Rovers, Dumbarton and an eye on Rangers…. I wonder how pre-season is doing for each…