There are three things that are guaranteed in life. The first is that if you go to a game in Scotland, it’s going to be freezing, and the second being that it’s always going to be raining. The final guaranteed outcome is that there will always be a Rangers fan claiming that they’re still alive. If you look past the coldness, the wetness and the zombies, you will often find that Scottish football has a good side. So strap in and get out your Irn Bru and a steak birdie as I show you the bright side of Scottish football.
The first thing that Scottish football has to offer is uncertainty, the good kind, obviously. By this I mean that there is always a buzz around games because it is always difficult to predict the outcome of every tie, which might be a nightmare for the bookies. Take the Scottish Premiership for example as the bottom half of the table constantly consists of teams beating each other every week a team like Hamilton could be on near the bottom of the table in the relegation playoffs one week, and within 3 games they could be sitting pretty mid table. This as well as being helped by the small league structure as there is only 12 teams but also leads to some tight conventional matches which provide end to end football and a good watch for most games. This also happens at the top of the table. This also makes the bottom half of the table almost impossible to predict every year because of the interchangeable nature of the smaller teams in the division, which often makes the Scottish Championship to Premiership playoffs one of the highlights of the season. Also what tends to happen is that the teams on the bottom can topple the big teams like Hibs at the top of the table, take again Hamilton for example as they have managed to beat both Hibernian and Rangers this year, all the while playing some phenomenal football and the most well known incident of uncertainty is when Hearts ended Celtic’s unbeaten run with a 4-0 thrashing and a 16 year old on the score line. This is one of the many reasons why Scottish football can produce some great moments.
One other great thing about Scottish football is the rivalries and like our English counterparts, Scotland is home to some of the fiercest rivalries in the world. The most obvious place to start is to address one of the deadliest derby’s in the world, the Old Firm, Celtic vs Rangers. Like the derby of MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon, this derby goes deeper than just a divided City, but touches on the issue of religion as well, as slurs and discrimination reach high points before, during and after games. Violence, discrimination and arrests are all prominent during the battle to see who the best team in Glasgow is, and ultimately, Scotland. There is also a big rivalry up North, between the two Dundee clubs of Dundee and Dundee United, the city is separated by seas of tangerine and navy blue shirts but the stadiums are separated only by a park, making the Merseyside derby look like a marathon for the teams. The closeness of the fans and the stadiums make for explosive derby days which have unfortunately been few and far between since Dundee United got relegated from the Scottish Premier League in 2016 down to the Championship. Speaking of the Scottish Championship, there is also one other derby full of fire, the ‘Kincardine Bridge El Classico’ Dunfermline vs Falkirk and whilst the teams might not be as close as Dundee and Dundee United, or as big as Celtic and Rangers, however the derby definitely has it’s own fire to burn. From racism from both sets of fans to throwing props at disabled players and 6 red cards in 5 matches whenever there’s a Falkirk vs Dunfermline game, there’s always some headlines. Overall over any game I would definitely recommend Falkirk vs Dunfermline as there’s always fireworks, but if your willing to take out a mortgage to watch a game of football, then Celtic vs Rangers is a definite option. The fire that is on display on all three of these matches is enough to show how good Scottish football can actually be.
The final and most important element of Scottish football is the away days, and more specifically, that of the lower leagues. As someone who has travelled to 34 of the 42 grounds in the Scottish Proffesional Football League I can safely say that Scotland is home to some of the best away trips that you can guarantee that you will get a good trip whatever league you are in. From the culinary godsend which is Ayr United’s chips and curry sauce, to the atmospherical hieghts that can be reached at Celtic’s Parkhead Scotland can offer the cream of the crop. The highlights of Scotland are the Chips and Curry sauce of Ayr United, the famed hedge of Brechin City, the brilliant ‘smokey’ of Arbroath and the brilliant bridies of Dunfermline Athletic and Forfar. It’s not only the food that’s quality in the lower leagues either, the football that is on display is often brilliant as well, and whilst the talent may not be mercurial, the thought is there and you can guarantee that there is almost always going to be a high scoring game somewhere. Overall no matter what league you experience there is always a great trip in any direction.
So that’s why you should jeer your head in the direction of Scottish football, and if you ever choose to follow a team why not make it Dunfermline and come and say hello some time, and as long as you stay clear of Hibs, Rangers and Chris Sutton, I think any newcomer will find Scottish football reasonably enjoyable.
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!