What a fucking crazy year it was in Scottish football

What a fucking crazy year it was in Scottish football

By Graham Ruthven

2017 was a year. Scottish football hasn’t exactly been short of tales to tell in recent years, but even by such a standard, this was a year. It was a year of caravans and barking dogs and Terry Munro and laptop managers and concomitant and magic hats and so much more.

 

Of course, TheTwoPointOne has only been going since August 1, so we were only afforded the privilege of covering the greatest show on earth (that’s right Premier League, we’re taking that) for five months of the full year. But seeing as the year is at its end we thought we would recap what the hell happened over the past 12 months. There’s a lot to recap.


January

 

As is frequently the case in world football, January’s agenda was dominated by tales of rumoured transfers, both in and out of Scottish clubs. Specifically, this month was dominated by speculation surrounding Moussa Dembele’s future. The French striker’s price rose quicker than a Bitcoin until he was supposedly on a deadline day flight to London on the verge of a £150 million move to Chelsea. Or maybe it was £250 million.

 

Of course, Dembele was just on his way to undergo some treatment on a knee injury and he remained at Celtic and the arrival of Eboue Kouassi was as ultimately dramatic as things got. There was very little for Jim White’s trousers to get tight over.

 

Big Moussa on my flight to London…. Don't do it big man!!! #celtic #MoussaDembele pic.twitter.com/MyyWIUFE0i

— Guy Goma (@GuyGoma) January 31, 2017

 

There was Rod Stewart’s graceful performance in the Scottish Cup draw, pulling the balls out of the hat like an exuberant Rod Hull with Emu on his arm. “Rum v Coke,” Rod pulled out the hat. “Jager v Bomb. And finally, Gin v Tonic.” The thing is, this was still the most competent cup draw of the year, with two botched efforts witnessed later in the year.

 


February

 

February started with the Magic Hat losing its magic, as Mark Warburton resigned and/or was sacked from his position as Rangers manager. Nobody is sure of the exact circumstances around Warburton’s departure, perhaps not even Warburton. Maybe he thought he was handing in his tax return. Not many at Rangers know what a tax return is, after all.

 

Elsewhere, Luke Skywalker signed for Airdrie. Or he played for Airdrie. Or something. He was pictured with an Airdrie shirt, anyway.  And it was for charity. Maybe the latest Star Wars film was for charity too. Because nobody could have come up with that plot if it had been the real thing.

 

Luke Skywalker (Earth name Mark Hammil) signs #Airdrie football strip for #cancer #markhammil #lukeskywalker #starwars #jedi #football pic.twitter.com/m3kP90Zctj

— Queegs Vulgar Beauty (@Phendrixx) February 13, 2017

 

 

Speaking of Marks, Mark McGhee showed his power of the force during a game at Pittodrie earlier on in the year, shouting into a camera phone like Paul Joseph Watson. He’d only been asked for a selfie.

 

In real news, Graeme Murty was put in interim charge of manager-less Rangers. McGhee, fresh from his Infowars rant into the camera, was sacked as Motherwell manager following an atrocious run of form that dropped the Steelmen perilously close to the drop zone.

 

McGhee getting huckled aff pic.twitter.com/7e83BtxEi9

— stitch (@GarryStitchell) February 15, 2017

 

pic.twitter.com/YjRnOxKjYR

— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) February 15, 2017


March

 

Interim Rangers manager Murty was really coming into his own by the time March rolled around, performing tricks and doing headstands on the touchline. He also did The Worm one time, but the television cameras failed to capture that.

 

Of course, Murty was denied the chance to perform more headstands, with former ‘Celtic brother’ Pedro Caixinha appointed Rangers’ permanent manager on March 11. It wasn’t long before he got out his empty glasses, but more about that later.  And more about his caravan too.

 

 

Our Celtic brother Pedro Caixinha 🍀 pic.twitter.com/F0uYCTG8W3

— Read Celtic (@ReadCeltic) March 9, 2017

 

Brendan Rodgers claimed that St Mirren, who at the time were struggling near the foot of the Scottish Championship table, were the best side Celtic had faced in Scotland that season. Chris Martin also scored a last-gasp winner for Scotland against Slovenia, keeping alive our chances of making an appearance at the Hooligan-drome in Russia next summer.


April

 

Lee McCulloch was making his mark at Kilmarnock. Literally. He drew a pitch on the floor of the dressing room of Rugby Park to use as a tactics board. McCulloch was aware that his players aren’t Subbeteo figures, right? They aren’t fixed to one position, even if Kris Boyd sometimes looks like he is.

 

April was the month Celtic secured their sixth league title in a row, with Kris Doolan also hitting the 100-goal milestone as a Partick Thistle player. They’ll write poems about Doolan, now, Of course, Thistle fans write poems rather than chants about their their players anyway.

 

Lee McCulloch has introduced a 'pitch' on the home dressing room floor! This is used to discuss formations and tactics with the players! pic.twitter.com/vgS2yzrU41

— Kilmarnock FC (@OfficialKillie) April 6, 2017

 

There was also the birth of Cumdog, Scottish football’s predominant wrestler. And Caixinha, in the absence of a McCulloch-style tactics board on the floor, showed journalists exactly why his Rangers side lost to Celtic in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. Probably could have used a few more glasses, Pedro.

 

Cumdog helped propel Hibernian to promotion, with the Easter Road club’s return to the top flight secured in April, although Neil Lennon’s side missed out on a place in the Scottish Cup final, losing a five-goal thriller 3-2 against Aberdeen.

 

 

Oi @gradowrestling it's Yersel Cumdog!! Think you can eat lunch in my training centre think again brother 💪🏼 #Cumdog pic.twitter.com/gn7fJzEldu

— Jason Cummings (@Jasoncummings35) April 18, 2017

 

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha used empty glasses to explain his tactics to journalists after #OldFirmDerby defeat pic.twitter.com/7QQR9xNDST

— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) April 23, 2017


May

Celtic clinched the final part of a historic Treble, with Tom Rogic scoring a late winner over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final. A bolt of lightning split the Glasgow sky as the midfielder struck home, finally answering the age-old question – yes, God is an Aussie.

 

Kieran Tierney watched that moment from a hospital bed after taking an elbow to the teeth from Jayden Stockley. High on pain killers, the Celtic left back ran through the Hampden car park and up the stadium steps to make his team’s Treble celebrations. Patrick Roberts must have been relieved. He thought Tierney was dead.

 

Elsewhere, there was the saga that saw Michael O’Halloran publicly fall out with Rangers manager Caixinha for missing a youth game. A linesman also threw up on the touchline during a game at Rugby Park. Craig Thomson showed Andrew McWilliam the red card. That’ll serve him right for being on the MD 20/20 the night before.

 

Referee Craig Thomson shows the red card to assistant Andrew McWilliam after he was sick during Dundee's win over Kilmarnock pic.twitter.com/karCWeSl3h

— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) May 7, 2017

 

👊🏻 @kierantierney1 pic.twitter.com/4EnMZBC3Hj

— Read Celtic (@ReadCeltic) May 29, 2017

 

Patrick Roberts wearin Kieran Tierney's shirt because he can't be on pitch to celebrate has me greetin 💚😢#invincibles pic.twitter.com/nfVJTlWPPi

— Holly💕💞💓💗💖💘 (@Hollymackinnon_) May 27, 2017

 

Craig Gordon cup final celebration pic.twitter.com/Wwar5TJyLX

— BrenCelt (@NaCeiltighAbu) August 26, 2017


June

 

With the club season out of the way, it was over to the national team to take the spotlight for a couple weeks, with Scotland taking on England. Leigh Griffiths scored not one, but two stunning freekicks. If it had been a game of FIFA a glitch would have been called. It wasn’t to be, though. Turns out scoring in the 88th minute to go 2-1 ahead over your arch rival in a must-win match still isn’t enough to collect three points.

 

Same goal different angles? Nope! @Leighgriff09 did it twice in the space of a few minutes. Watch the goals side by side. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/v0Q1nunSOP

— Scottish FA (@ScottishFA) June 11, 2017

 

Jonny Hayes made the move from Aberdeen to Celtic, with Neil McCann appointed Dundee manager just one week after he departed as Dundee manager. Jack Ross was the guy the Dark Blues wanted, but the St Mirren boss decided to remain in Paisley. And so the job was McCann’s. Again.

 

There was also this excellent video from the SPFL, recapping the 2016/17 season in Scotland. It was as if David Fincher had decided to take a look at the Scottish Premiership. Almost.

 

😍 Exciting. Spectacular. Ridiculous. Bizarre. Funny. Heartbreaking. 16/17 has been a belter. Watch our #SPFL Story of the Season here 🙌 pic.twitter.com/29CpLFXLuV

— SPFL (@spfl) June 1, 2017

And Jeremy Corbyn was outed as a Partick Thistle fan. Because what other Scottish club would he support? There’s only one Scottish Premiership ground where its acceptable to wear a hemp shirt and sip from a soy flat white? He was hardly going to be a Rangers fan, was he, with their reputation as The Establishment?

 

In other news, Rodgers got married, Rangers flooded the club’s Megastore to buy branded mugs and toilet roll holders, Cumdog made the move to Nottingham Forest and Joe Garner returned to where he came from – a land where football is played with elbows.

 

 

 


July

 

Caixinha said defeat to part-time Progres Niederkorn from Luxembourg was “unthinkable,” but he soon had to think about it as Rangers tripped over the first hurdle of Europa League qualification. He was soon knee-deep in a hedge after full time, attempting to explain to irate travelling fans what they had just watched. It could have been worse. He could have been the drunken Celtic fan who got “Terry Munro” rather than “10-in-a-row” tattooed on his chest in Magaluf.

 

Incredible how social media can warp an entire situation. Here's Caixinha 'arguing' with the fans… pic.twitter.com/we32zvk1Zj

— Michael Potts (@MJPotts17) July 4, 2017

 

With Rangers out of European competition before Wimbledon had even finished, the first round of the Betfred Cup, with all its penalty shootouts and bonus points and multi-ball cannons (I might have made that last one up) kept us entertained until Celtic’s Champions League qualifiers started. As we now know, Celtic were to be successful in their efforts to make the group stage, popping open the champagne, but not before Leigh Griffiths enjoyed some Buckfast at Linfield.

 

 

July 14th and already we have 2017/18's best image pic.twitter.com/cyyobwMBzN

— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) July 14, 2017

 

In the women’s game, Scotland took part in the European Championships in Netherlands, losing their opening group game 6-0 to England. Gulp. From there, they lost to Portugal before beating eventual finalists in their last fixture. That meant Anna Signeul’s side missed out on the next round by virtue of a single goal. Ah, Scotland. Never change.

 

England 6-0 Scotland FT:

Jodie Taylor scores a hat-trick as England Women's team humiliates their Scottish counterparts at the Euros. pic.twitter.com/SEQAM8zeVV

— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 19, 2017

 


August

 

The new Scottish Premiership season started with an impressive Celtic win over Hearts, also seeing off Astana in the play-off round of Champions League qualification. The Hoops have visited Kazakhstan so often in recent years they might as well buy some property over there.

 

Dundee United used their Twitter account to sell Cammy Bell, with Rangers making a number of signings (too many to remember). Derek McInnes also rebuilt his Aberdeen team having lost Hayes, Niall McGinn and Ryan Jack earlier in the summer. Oh and Gary Mackay-Steven ended up in the River Kelvin. Gary Mackay-Steamin’.

 

UNITED OPEN TO OFFERS FOR CAMMY BELL https://t.co/6eExA2sWNp pic.twitter.com/EozWD1ZOjL

— Dundee United FC 🧡 (@dundeeunitedfc) August 1, 2017

 

Ian Cathro was sacked as Hearts manager four days before the start of the league season and following a Betfred Cup draw at home to Dunfermline. That draw produced one of the most surreal moments of the year, with Hearts taking part in a pointless penalty shootout in the knowledge that they were already out of the competition and that, most likely, Cathro was out of a job.

 

Craig Levein then took three weeks to interview potential replacements before appointing himself. This was after Kyle Laferrty had absolutely Kyle Lafferty’d the hell out of the opening day of the season, flicking the middle finger to the home fans at Celtic Park. And Hearts forgot to order seats for their new stand, resulting in a delay of two months. That’s right. They forgot to order seats.

 

A look at some of the candidates Craig Levein interviewed before appointing Craig Levein pic.twitter.com/hQXXHIbQIR

— Oldfirmfacts (@Oldfirmfacts1) August 27, 2017

 

 


September

 

Celtic were back in the group stages of the Champions League, drawn alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Anderlecht. Their campaign opened with a 5-0 home thumping at the hands of PSG, with Anthony Ralston laughing in the face of Neymar. He’s young, he’s rich, he’s destined to be a legend, I mean, is there anything Ralston doesn’t have?

 

September also witnessed the first Old Firm derby of the new season, during which Josh Windass completely cleaned out Caixinha with a tackle on the touchline. Caixinha then squared up to Scott Brown at half time and then told the press at full time that he would have put the Celtic captain in his place had he been on the pitch. The Portuguese moved on a little from using empty glasses in his press conferences.

 

Oh, and September saw Partick Thistle rename Firhill as The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. Catchy, I’m sure you’ll agree, but do you think the Jags care as they’re counting their coins from a six figure contract?

 

 

Neymar refusing to shake hands with Tony Ralston at end of the game.. (via @Gastro_Celtic) pic.twitter.com/046JWa1FrU

— talkingbaws.com (@talkingbaws) September 12, 2017

 

 

Caixinha wasn’t the only Scottish football figure to be cleaned out in September either. Chris Sutton was snapped by Stephen Craigan, living out the fantasies of many football fans in this country. Maybe BT Sport will make a series out of this? Who wants to see Ally McCoist Windass’d next?

 

I'm new to this so I hope you all had as an enjoyable day as me!pic.twitter.com/185agoQ44I?ssr=true

— Stephen Craigan (@stephencraigan) September 24, 2017


October

October was all about the World Cup. After wins over Lithuania and Malta, Scotland knew what they needed to do to make the play-offs for next summer’s RacismFest in Russia. They needed six points from back-to-back games against Slovakia and Slovenia.

 

Martin Skrtel, the seven-time Slovakian footballer of the year, helped with the first part, scoring a late own goal to give Scotland a 1-0 win. All Gordon Strachan’s men needed to do was beat a Slovenia side who had nothing to play for. They took the lead. Then lost. Because Scotland. Because we don’t do World Cups. Too mainstream, IMHO.

 

October was also the month that saw Project Pedro ended at Rangers. Caixinha was sacked as manager of the Ibrox outfit after a 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock. That is Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock. The same Steve Clarke who worked under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. The same Steve Clarke who made a career for himself as a Premier League manager. Undoubtedly the best Scottish Premiership appointment of the year. Wonder if he’s a fan of McCulloch’s Subbeteo flooring.

 

Dubravka in goal for Slovakia was superb, but it's hard to argue that Scotland didn't deserve it. Great celebration after. pic.twitter.com/1c7rO8TYoe

— Sam Matterface (@sammatterface) October 5, 2017

 

 

A hink ma ears hanging off hahaha pic.twitter.com/0KJaDNqugL

— Laurie Smith (@lauriesmith1874) October 5, 2017

BT Sport geared up for the Betfred Cup semi-finals by forgetting that Celtic and Rangers weren’t actually playing each other. Their spunk has to be admired. If you don’t get the match-up you want, just imagine it and promote it regardless (if you’re reading this BT Producer, we know. It was London. It’s always London).

 

This didn’t sit too well with Hibernian, who hit back with a tweet of their own. Remember when football teams used to compete on a pitch? Now it’s all about who can throw the most shade on social media. What a time to be alive.

 

 

Everything that is wrong with Scottish Football in one @btsportfootball advert. I wonder what final the TV bosses want? #Disgrace #GGTTH pic.twitter.com/iEMiqQsF8Y

— Pete Dobosz (@PeteDobosz) October 18, 2017

 

🎟 | It's another trip to Hampden for Hibernian on Saturday – the best way to see it is by buying a ticket!

➡️ https://t.co/kWVpm4azz2 pic.twitter.com/kwFeLU977R

— Hibernian FC (@HibsOfficial) October 19, 2017


November

 

The first piece of silverware of the new season was handed out in November, with Motherwell facing Celtic in the Betfred Cup final. The build up to the game was dominated by talk of Motherwell’s supposed physical approach. It probably had something to do with the way Ryan Bowman performed The Peoples’ Elbow at least three times in the semi-final against Rangers.

 

Scott Brown is going to enjoy his Sunday night.. 😂 (via @patrick7roberts) pic.twitter.com/9gGdXJcHyU

— talkingbaws.com (@talkingbaws) November 26, 2017

 

Just one last push and it can be our time. Time for new heroes. pic.twitter.com/nOHraTcLF7

— Motherwell FC (@MotherwellFC) November 24, 2017

 

Hearts attempted to open their new stand at Tynecastle for the third time in the space of just a few months, and very nearly failed. This time they had ordered seats, but they had to scramble through the night to actually install them. They had Ann Budge out in her high-vis jacket, mixing cement, swigging straight from a glass bottle of Irn-Bru. In the end, they made it at the third time of asking.

 

 

Hearts new main stand: The photos they don’t show you on the brochure. pic.twitter.com/DwyWlcfCZU

— Kingsford Stadium (@AberdeenStadium) November 20, 2017

 

Malky Mackay took charge of Scotland for a friendly match against Netherlands following the exit of Strachan as national team manager. That was controversial enough, given the Scottish FA technical director’s background, but Kris Boyd hogged the headlines in the build-up to the game at Pittodrie, claiming that the call-ups handed to Graeme Shinnie and Kenny McLean made Scotland a “laughing stock.”

 

That’ll be the same Shinnie and McLean who have shone for the second best team in the country, Kris? This was before Boyd said there was no way Derek McInnes would turn down Rangers. But more about that later.

 

 

"Not good enough."

Kris Boyd doesn't think Graeme Shinnie is international quality. Do you?

➡️ https://t.co/rKDF01JFKV pic.twitter.com/PtEKCOAQ2O

— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) November 7, 2017


December

 

This was a month dominated by The Derek McInnes Saga. First, the Aberdeen boss wasn’t going. Then he was. Then we wasn’t again. Then he was. And then, finally, he wasn’t, deciding to KB Rangers and remain at Pittodrie.

 

This prompted The Club Statement of the Year from Rangers, and of course the Scottish football Word of the Year – “concomitant.” Nobody really knows what it means, not even Dave King, but Aberdeen’s fans took a stab with a banner before a game against Dundee. “Concomitant you Reds.”

 

 

‘Concomitant You Reds’ banner at Dens Park tonight. pic.twitter.com/VVKRXiTdix

— Alex O'Henley (@OHenleyAlex) December 8, 2017

 

Celtic’s record-breaking unbeaten run came to end, reaching its conclusion at 69 matches. Hearts inflicted the defeat on Rodgers’ side, thumping the Hoops 4-0 at Tynecastle. Teenager Harry Cochrane scored the opener and became the next Ryan Gauld all in an afternoon. But despite the chastening nature of its end, Celtic’s historic streak deserved to be remembered.

 

WATCH Celtic's 69-game unbeaten domestic run in 69 seconds ⚽ https://t.co/xWQXFcdeJJ#bbcsportscot pic.twitter.com/qt8qZZ1oNt

— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) December 18, 2017

 

Merry Ryan Jack everyone! pic.twitter.com/17CcoYUtpO

— J Mof (@jpmof) December 29, 2017

 


 

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