SPFL Season Review: 2017/18

And like that, another season comes to a close. It’s been an interesting season in Scotland this year, with many surprises coming out of all 4 leagues. It’s been the first season in which Celtic have faced a challenge ever since the Rangers Administration fiasco, and one where the other end of the pyramid ended with a period of fury.

Scottish Premiership

Winners: Celtic

Relegated: Ross County, Partick Thistle (via Play-Offs)

Ever since Rangers fell from grace in 2012, Celtic haven’t really faced a challenge. Motherwell pushed them for a few months then fell off in 12/13, Aberdeen and Caley Thistle did their best in 14/15. But ultimately, nobody was ever able to catch them. This season however, Rodgers’ Hoops were made to work for their success, with a teams like Aberdeen and Rangers pushing them right up until the late stages of the season. This title race can be defined by one game however, and that is the 3-2 victory for Celtic in the seasons 3rd Old Firm tie. This was Rangers’ chance to overtake the Bhoys in green and put themselves in pole position for the title. But even with Celtic down to 10 men, they fell short. This was swiftly followed by the wheels falling off they’re charge for the title, and even for 2nd place. As due to their woeful form at the end of the season, and a 1-0 victory for the Dons at Celtic Park on the last day, they had to settle for 3rd place despite being a whisker from the top only a month or so prior.

At the other end of the table, Ross County fell from grace dramatically, 2 years on from winning the League Cup. It was a sign that money won’t always buy success. The club with a budget capable of finishing in the upper echelon of the table, finished rock bottom. Failing to even register 30 points on the board. There was overwhelming joy from Dens Park on the final day, as Partick Thistle ensured they wouldn’t be relegated automatically. But fast-forward a week or so, and they too were gone. Falling 3-1 on aggregate to a Livingston side who pulled a Gretna, and secured back to back promotions through the Play-Offs. Two clubs who’s fans will admit have been abysmal when compared to previous seasons, and must prepare for a huge cut in money next season as they prepare for life in the Championship.

Elsewhere, Steve Clark reinvented a Kilmarnock side who at the start of the season look destined for relegation. Along with Craig Levein saving Hearts following a rocky start under Ian Cathro.

 

Scottish Championship

Champions: St. Mirren

Promoted: Livingston (via Play-Offs)

Relegated: Brechin City, Dumbarton (via Play-Offs)

Without a doubt, the championship is the most entertaining league in the country. At the start of the season, you had 4 potential winners, and 6 or 7 names in the hat for promotion. Early season favourites included Dundee United, who decided to spend big to try avoid yet another season in the 2nd tier. Falkirk, who have been so close to promotion for the last 4 seasons, and it looked like it could finally be their year. Inverness Caledonian Thistle, The recently relegated side who had a huge summer clear out but still had Premiership standard players like Vigurs, Polworth and Tremarco on their books. And lastly Dunfermline Athletic, who’s rise from administration has seen them become one of the leagues strongest opposition.

The league was dealt a surprise though. As the two teams to stand out from the crowd were none of the expected names. It was instead St. Mirren, a club who have struggled every season since their relegation in 2015, and Livingston, who were only promoted from League 1 last season.

Early season favourites ICT and Falkirk started off their season abysmally. Falkirk, despite being title challengers in the last 4 seasons. Finished a lowly 8th and put up no real fight at all. Inverness staked their claim for a play-off spot in the final stages of the campaign. Ending the season 11 games unbeaten and Challenge Cup winners. They fell just short of 4th place thanks to a 95th minute header from Dunfermline’s Nicky Clark.

Brechin City became the first team in senior British football to go a full season without recording a win. And fellow part-timers Dumbarton so their tenure in the second tier end as they fell to Alloa Athletic in the Relegation Play-Off Final after extra time.

Scottish League 1

Winners: Ayr United

Promoted: Alloa Athletic (via Play-Offs)

Relegated: Albion Rovers, Queen’s Park (via Play-Offs)

Scottish League 2

Champions: Montrose

Promoted: Stenhousemuir (via Play-Offs)

Other Tournament Final Results

Scottish Cup: Celtic 2-0 Motherwell

League Cup: Celtic 2-0 Motherwell

Challenge Cup: Inverness CT 1-0 Dumbarton