Monday, May 23, 2005

Mickey Mouse League?

Let's be honest now, the Scots don't have much of a league. Outside the Old Firm there are hardly any other teams worth mentioning. Dundee and Dundee United? Hibs and Hearts? Fun little teams that won't really make it anywhere anytime soon.

The events of the final day of the season were quite dramatic, however. Seeing that the Old Firm derby is played four times per season, the title is often wrapped up with 3 or 4 games to go. Not this time around. After both teams beat each other twice this campaign, Celtic were headed into the final day with a two point advantage and an away game against Motherwell. Rangers were to travel to the beautiful city of Edinburgh to play Hibernian. Things went as planned for Rangers, with Nacho Novo finally breaking the deadlock in the 59th minute to secure a 1-0 win for the away team. Celtic looked like cruising towards the title when Chris Sutton scored their goal in the 29th minute, but their dominance didn't pay off as they wasted chance after chance.

And then the unthinkable happened. Motherwell's Scott McDonald (who?!) scored two goals in the last two minutes of the game to virtually gift the title to Rangers. Celtic were crushed as they let the title slip from their grasp in the dying moments, and the club's future was pitched into turmoil. Manager Martin O'Neill will shortly announce his resignation, ending a successful era with the club that saw them dominate the domestic scene, as well as reaching the UEFA Cup final two years ago only to lose the game to Jose Mourinho's Porto on the silver goal rule. Their opponents that night would then go on to win the Champions League the following year.

Sure there might only be two teams in contention for the title in Scotland. And yes, the Old Firm have never progressed beyond the group stages of the Champions League (even though Celtic beat Inter Milan to win the old European Cup back in the day). And maybe Dunfermline v. Partick Thistle isn't really a game you'd be marking down on your calendar any time soon.

But you can't say those Haggis-eating, skirt-wearing gingerheads can't produce dramatic finales.


Blogger Bahraini Rants said...

It's the oldest rivalry in sports history... the old firm... I still can't decide who I like more, don't really care about the rift, just like them individual players. They say O'Neill is quitting becuase of family reasons... Personally I thought he'd be someone the real Manchester United would want as a coach.. he's got that same drive.. Either way, Scotland may not be the football powerhouse, but they have provided the world with 2 of the most important contributions ever: Single Malt Scotch, and Golf. I guess that makes up for everything..

10:57 PM  
Blogger Numpty Dumpty said...

Yawn... more Scottish Premier League bashing. How many different teams ever win the English Premiership, or the Italian Serie A? How many Dutch club teams do most people know apart from Ajax and Feyenoord? Most countries are full of mostly-average teams that only the die-hard supporters care about. And you know what? They enjoy their football a hell of a lot more than any Man Utd glory hunter ever will, because they experience the extremes of emotion that winning week in, week out never brings.

12:22 PM  

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