Gone Fishing

1 Feb

The inevitable has happened. Conor Sammon has completed his transfer from Kilmarnock. The young Irishman signed for Wigan in the closing few minutes of the transfer window, for a reported £600,000.

Credit where it is due, and I am pleased to see Sammon get his move to the best league in the world. As a regular on the Rugby Park terraces, I remember 12 months ago, even 6 months ago when Conor Sammon was a figure of ridicule. Not SPL quality was the general consensus, maybe he’d find his level and move down a few leagues some said. “You’ll be playing junior next year, Sammon!” was the cry from one disgruntled fan, as the striker blasted over against Celtic, just last year. That comment particularly stuck in my mind – because I feared it may come true.

Even this season, against Valladolid in pre-season when Conor Sammon was warming up the response from the fans was negative. Their opinion was clear, Conor Sammon was not fit for the SPL or the Kilmarnock front line.

Incoming manager Mixu Paatelainen had different ideas. Despite signing his own striker, Rui Miguel, he chose Conor Sammon to lead the line and prove his worth. The majority of Killie fans were sceptical to say the least. And for the first few games they seemed correct, until a fateful night against Airdrie changed that all.

Airdrie visited Ayrshire in the league cup, and Conor Sammon had looked out his shooting boots. Clinically, he put the visitors to the sword with a hat-trick. It was at this point the young man’s season skyrocketed.

Sammon: Zero to Hero

Everything he touched turned to gold. Scoring goals for apparent fun, including goals at Tynecastle and Celtic Park, no mean feat.

A bad player doesn’t magically become a good player overnight, clearly Conor Sammon always possessed the ability. His work alongside Paatelainen and assistant Kenny Shiels has clearly worked wonders. The tutoring from the former goal machine Paatelainen has got the best out of Sammon’s game.

When Sammon was brought on against Hearts at Rugby Park, the same day he refused a transfer to Scunthorpe, he was given a true heroes welcome. Just a few months earlier he would have been treated like an outcast by many. Nobody is as fickle as the football fan. 15 goals in 20 starts the catalyst for the change of heart no doubt.

Congratulations to Conor Sammon, who has propelled himself from the League of Ireland to the SPL and now the English Premier League in 3 seasons. Congratulations to Mixu Paatelainen who turned the supposed flop into a 500k+ player.

No player has worked harder or more consistently than Sammon to get where he is. It is with a heavy heart I see him leave Rugby Park, but I can’t wait to see him on Match of the Day.


Dundee dealt hammer blow

13 Jan

Dundee FC is a club still very much in financial turmoil. Two and a half months have passed since the Tayside club were plunged into administration, again. Off the pitch, improvements are taking shape. With star-man Leigh Griffiths likely to be sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers for £150,000 and the club taking steps towards an agreement with their creditors and HMRC, their financial health is improving. When this question was posed earlier in the year, 75% of readers expected Griffiths would be sold from under Dundee, in January.

Dundee FC

Dundee fans, almost unanimously are accepting of the fact that the club had to sell Griffiths. Their financial position alone dictates that fact.

Their anger lies with the SFL, who in the fans opinion seem hell bent on hindering Dundee FC’s progress.

After the, albeit expected, hammer blow of a 25 point reduction the SFL’s ruling that Griffiths couldn’t be loaned back to the club is seen by many as adding insult to injury. One Dundee fan summed up the views that many seem to share;

The 25 point penalty and transfer embargo is blatantly unreasonable. I am certainly not a conspiracy theorist. I just think we’re dealing with amateurs who are intoxicated by the excitement of actually making headlines and being noticed as powerful people when they are anything but. Our shocking mismanagement has given this motley crew the chance to be noticed. The SFL has a clear obligation to support member clubs. If we are talking about sticking to rules then I suggest these people are in clear breach of their primary aim. This latest measure is a cruel and unnecessary act. It is nothing short of disgusting, in my opinion. We cannot enter the minds of these chairmen who are overlooking tiny, unsuccesful clubs but the argument for the case that they are vindictive, is to me, entirely reasonable.

The consensus is that the SFL are making things unnecessarily difficult for a club already in dire straits. The sale of the striker, and having no ability to replace him is regarded by many as the final nail in the coffin for the club as one fan said.

The SFL been instrumental in forcing Dundee FC into the position they are in as of now. They’re digging our grave for us.

Selling star players is the bread and butter for most clubs. Dundee’s inability to replace them, enforced on them by the league makes their position unenviable and unique.

The Dens striker is on the move

Do the poll, and leave your comments.


12 Jan

Following the Green Brigade debacle earlier this season, another group of Celtic Supporters have managed to infuriatine me, with their sheer ignorance. Below is a statement from the Celtic Supporters Association, written by Joe O’Rourke;

It would appear war has been declared on more than one front, not only are bullets being sent to the Celtic manager and two players, we are also getting bombs from the outdated SFA with their totally unfair and over the top six match suspension of Neil Lennon. Add to that the articles being written by that bitter bigoted clown Leckie in the Scottish Sun; I think we have a fight on our hands.

The threats coming from the North of Ireland are nothing new, they have been going on for a long time now; the only reason it got any media coverage at all was because the PSNI released the information to the press; there has been many occasions when members of Celtic’s staff have received threats; but obviously the media deemed those threats not as serious as someone making a phone call to a Scottish referee; or shouting at one in the street.

As for the Scottish Sun; I have said here on many occasions; the only way to stop these people is to stop buying their publications. That means not only you as a Celtic fan; it also means your family and friends; your work mates or people you see in the pub; in fact anyone you can influence to stop buying it; then do so.

That takes me to the SFA and their treatment of Neil Lennon yesterday. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the revenge for Dallas and Dougie; well they have now stepped up their unfair treatment of Celtic FC and our staff. Stewart Regan has been talking about the need for the overhaul of the systems; which we have been pushing for; well yesterday was another example of that unfair treatment when our manager was suspended for 6 matches for a first offence; as the Celtic statement said “Unprecedented”.

Celtic have already appealed and it’s in the hands of their lawyers, but we as supporters have a part to play as well. We keep saying we won’t accept unfair treatment; but we keep going back and doing exactly the same things as we have been doing; obviously in support of our team. But continuing to support the other teams in Scotland is just the same as continuing to fund the Sun newspaper.

I believe that one of the four man panel who dealt with Neil was the Kilmarnock Chairman Michael Johnston. Well we are scheduled to play Kilmarnock on March 2nd; a Wednesday night, ideal for a bhoycott by the Celtic supporters; it would give us the opportunity to let these people know exactly where they would be without the financial input of the Celtic support.

But let’s be honest about this, a bhoycott would only succeed with the backing of all the Celtic supporters; I know some people will say, I haven’t missed a game for twenty years, but there needs to be a sacrifice by us; to make these people realise that without us; a team like Kilmarnock would by playing against the likes of Dalry or Largs in the A*rshire Junior League.

At this stage the Association has not voted on this policy, I will put it before the EC and member branches very shortly. I would be delighted to hear the thoughts of all the other supporters groups; and of supporters who travel independently to gauge the level of support for such action.”

I have chosen to embolden part of the text, as this incensed me on a more personal level.

The fact that Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston was on the panel which disciplined the Celtic manager, was rather irrelevant. This tirade by Joe O’Rourke, and that’s what it is a tirade, fails to mention Stephen Thompson and Scott Struthers; Chairman of Dundee United and Secretary of Hamilton Academicals also sat on the board. Why focus on the Kilmarnock chairman? Regardless of the motive, they have singled this game out as perfect for a boycott. Interestingly, they picked out a midweek away fixture to Kilmarnock as a boycott last year. Until of course it transpired it would be Robbie Keane’s debut match, then any thought of a boycott went out of the window.

I’m sure the few thousand Rugby Park regulars would be more than happy to see the

Killie Chairman faces a boycott

Celtic fans boycott this game. The environment and atmosphere when either half of the Old Firm come to visit is antagonistic, unpleasant and intimidating. Maybe this no-show would encourage more home fans to come out, knowing they won’t have to suffer this horrendous atmosphere on their own doorsteps.

I would however like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Celtic fans for sticking to their principles;

But continuing to support the other teams in Scotland is just the same as continuing to fund the Sun newspaper.

That’ll be the reason they didn’t sell their allocation for the Berwick game then, good on them.

I am choosing not to respond to the remark about Kilmarnock FC’s credentials as a Junior team, as any self respecting Scottish football fan will dismiss this remark as the nonsense it so clearly is

The self proclaimed greatest supporters in the world, looking for yet another excuse not to support the team.

Leave a comment below or to the left!

Cup Fever

6 Jan

So with January comes the obligatory transfer rumours, as fans demand change to pick their clubs fortunes up, or in other cases demand they hold on to their best players. But, it’s an exciting month ON the pitch too. The 4th round of the Scottish cup kicks off, and the SPL teams make their first foray into this years tournament.

The so called ‘big teams’ won’t be expecting an easy ride though, as cup football goes hand in hand with cup shocks.

Here, I have a look at some of the big ones.

BERWICK RANGERS 1 RANGERS 0 – Scottish Cup first round 1967.

Still regarded as one of the biggest shock in Scottish Footballing history. Sammy Reid bagged the goal that knocked Rangers out of the cup, and bagged himself a place in Berwick folklore. The sides met again in 2002 at Sheilfield park, and the Borders side earned a replay at Ibrox after a 0-0 draw. This weekend Berwick face Celtic, could another shock be on the cards?

Sun Headline

CELTIC 1 – 3 INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE – Scottish Cup third round,  2000.

First division Inverness put the Hoops to the sword, who in turn axed manager John Barnes after this result. Which stands as one of the biggest in the history of Inverness and one which Celtic would like to forget. Inverness led for the entire game against a Celtic team in dissaray, prompting the famous headline; ‘Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious’.

INVERNESS CT 1 CELTIC 0 – Scottish Cup quarter-final, 2003.

The Highlanders done it again, knocking out Celtic who were fresh from a win at Anfield. Martin O’Neill made changes to his squad, and lightening struck twice for the Glasgow giants.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 4  ABERDEEN 3- Scottish Cup semi-final, 2008.

1st division Queen of the South reached their first ever Scottish Cup Final, defeating Premier League Aberdeen in this thriller. A match which Dons captain Zander Diamond called his lowest moment in football. Playing for Aberdeen, that really is saying something.

CELTIC 0 FALKIRK 1 – Scottish Cup semi-final replay, 1997.

Falkirk looked to have blown their best chance of securing a semi-final shock over Celtic in the 1-1 draw in the first game. But in the replay, Bairns striker Paul McGrillen scored the only goal in the 19th minute to send the Division One side through to the final against Kilmarnock. Full highlights here.

STENHOUSEMUIR 2 ABERDEEN 0 – Scottish Cup fourth round, 1995.

A capacity crowd at Ochilview Park saw Second division Stenhousemuir saw striker Tommy Steele score twice. Inflicting one of the most embarassing defeats for Aberdeen in recent history, bagging Stenny a clash against Hibs.

CLYDE 2 CELTIC 1 – Scottish Cup third round, 2006.

Celtic feature again, as Roy Keane’s debut match for Celtic saw his side slump to a stunning defeat. Graeme Roberts’ Clyde side dominated, as Eddie Malone and current Killie captain Craig Bryson bagged the goals.

RANGERS 0 HAMILTON 1 – Scottish Cup third round, 1987.

An Adrian Sprott goal sank Graeme Souness’ side in a  famous Ibrox victory for Hamilton. The Glasgow side went on to win the league that year, and Hamilton saw themselves relegated.

Tell me your favourite Scottish cup shock below! Leave a comment saying why, use the ‘comment’ link below, or to the left!

Scottish Cup 4th Round draw

22 Nov

Scottish Cup 4th Round Draw


Killie go Global

15 Nov

Now, before you go any further, I warn you that this post was written with blue tinted specs firmly on.

The Kilmarnock captain, and one-time Hearts target found himself getting a call up to Craig Levein’s squad for the friendly against the Faroes. Many Killie fans would say not before time. Not me however, I’d suggest this is right on time.

The 24 year-old midfielder has been surrounded by a lot of hype from the Rugby Park faithful in recent seasons, who believe that the tireless former Clyde man was head and shoulders above the rest of the team. Not that they were wrong, Brysons performances stood out consistently. Only because there were no other performances worthy of comment.

Craig Bryson has every right to be ecstatic, having earned a place in the Scotland squad.

Best of a bad bunch

Bryson was performing well in a team low on confidence, with players who were resting on their laurels and lacking any real passion.

Now, in a rejuvenated squad under the stewardship of Mixu Paatelainen, Bryson looks te times the player he was last season. He’s transforming into the player he has the potential to be. His energy and vision are superb, and playing beside 40-something-capped international Alexei Eremenko,  Bryson is a revelation. Every game, he seems to be improving and the phrase “Bryson’s best game in a Killie shirt….”  is being thrown about week after week.

Captain Fantastic

An unlikely choice of captain at the start of the season, in a squad with the fantastically passionate and vocal Manuel Pascali and SPL veterans such as James Fowler and Garry Hay. Though Bryson has not disappointed, his leadership, determination and influence are clear for all to see. He’s spend a lot of time working on the physical side of his game, and is fast turning into a very well-rounded midfielder.

Eremenko: The perfect foil for Bryson

Looking at the player he was as recently as 6 months ago the improvement is fantastic. He’s went from an above average SPL midfielder, to an international quality SPL captain. Craig Levein has an eye for a player (at club level at least), and his selection is evidence that the former under 21 player is ready to make the step up, at long last.

‘Keeper called up

Another player who is making his mark on the Scotland scene is Killie’s young ‘keeper, Cammy Bell. A fantastic shot-stopper (very much in the mould of his team-mate Alan Combe) with superb command of his area, Bell has never looked out-of-place in the SPL.

Many were skeptical when Jim Jefferies kept farming Bell out to the 1st and 2nd division on loan, whilst still rewarding him with contract after contract. However when Bell broke into the first team last season, it was clear to see why. 24 years old and with plenty of first team experience with Queen of the South (and a UEFA cup match) under his belt, Bell showed some real class and potential with his performances. Similarly to Bryson, Bell is far from the finished article. His composure and aerial ability still need a bit of work. Though Kilmarnock have a history of  producing great ‘keepers; Allan McCulloch, Bobby Ferguson (who was the world’s most expensive goalkeeper) and Jim Stewart. If Cammy Bell can be half as good as any of these Rugby Park legends, then he’ll be a damn fine goalkeeper.

Of course it is only a friendly, and the team is ravaged with injury. And yes, this is the only reason these players have  a sniff of being in the Scotland first team.Though, everyone needs to get a foot in the door somewhere, eh?

Use the link below, or to the left to leave a comment!

Celtic Speak out against Green Brigade

9 Nov

Following the events of the weekend, detailed in yesterdays blog, Celtic have released a statement;

“The actions of this small minority have no place at Celtic Park and, clearly, we apologise for any offence caused.”

A spokesman later added: “The club is currently carrying out an investigation into this matter. When it is concluded, it is the club’s intention to ban those identified as responsible from Celtic Park.

“Celtic fans have rightly earned a magnificent reputation for their positive behaviour and backing of the club.

“It is extremely disappointing that the actions of a small minority have embarrassed Celtic and tarnished the club in this way.”

It’s encouraging to see the Club taking action against theses fans, and I hope it is carried out as suggested by Celtic. With any luck they’ll be banned from every other SPL ground too, oh well I’m allowed to dream.