Last year, The Scottish premiership introduced a new system whereby two teams, instead of the largely uneventful 1 team, could be relegated from the top-flight. This generated a lot of interest for the ‘other’ teams in Scotland, where the league championship and wooden spoon had been won year-after-year at a canter.
What fans didn’t expect to see, was two of the country’s biggest clubs from Edinburgh, Hearts of Midlothian and Hibernian, to be relegated into Scotland’s second-tier.
Hearts were docked -15 points for entering administration, and Edinburgh rivals Hibernian, endured a nightmare 11-game winless streak, that ended in a two-legged loss in a play-off scrap against promotion hopeful’s Hamilton Accies.
These two clubs will be joined by 54 time Scottish Champions Glasgow Rangers, who themselves were relegated to the fourth division in 2012 for financial troubles, and will take some absolute stopping to prevent them from re-joining Celtic at the top.
The Rangers board have backed themselves by re-signing all-time SPL stop scorer Kris Boyd from Kilmarnock, with 167 goals to his name from his time in The SPL. He is joined alongside two-time Rangers player and retired Scottish International Kenny Miller, who is now 34. They last played together was under the stewardship of Walter Smith four years ago.
Kenny Miller (centre) alongside his fellow striker Kris Boyd (Right) sharing a laugh.
Source: BBC News 2014
For the capital clubs, Hearts will enter this season afresh with new owners, who, have cleared the clubs outstanding debt and have pledged to spend their way to promotion. Already they have wasted no time in tying down the previously up-for-sale young guns Callum Patterson and Jason Holt to long-term deals. Whilst July’s trialist and scorer in a loss 2-1 against Manchester City, Osman Sow, has also signed on a free transfer from Crystal Palace and is a signal of more things to come from a club who was under a transfer embargo last season.
Hibernian have cleared 14-first team players and have not re-newed last season’s loan deals in a bid to stop the rot, and this has included the axing of its former manager Terry Butcher. Looking at the squad from face value, the names on paper are barely recognizable with captain Liam Craig and the prized midfield youngster Alex Harris, are names worthy of a mention. The youth team will play a big part in Hibs campaign this season, and Easter Road should still see attendances of towards 20,000 for major fixtures.
Whatever happens this season, a league situated in the second division of Scotland might just attract some of the biggest attention and interest that is generally seen in a top tier competition. This could be just one of the rare occasions in football history that this might just happen.