Date: 2nd June 2015
A double for Celtic, a maiden Scottish Cup for Inverness Caley Thistle and a farewell to St Mirren, here is the SFSA’s take on this season’s Premiership sides, writes Ben Ramage.
ABERDEEN: Pushed Celtic until April and could have drawn level in March, but a costly 4-0 loss at Celtic Park saw their challenge fall short. Adam Rooney finished the season as the Premiership top scorer with 18 goals, and a closer challenge next season and any progression in the Europa League may hinge on the Dons persuading him to stay at Pittodrie.
CELTIC: Domestic success in the league was slightly offset by a rather embarrassing European campaign in which they were knocked out of the Champions League twice. They then redeemed themselves in the Europa League, making it through the group stage before narrowly going out to Italian giant’s Inter Milan. Deila could not add the Scottish Cup to the League Cup and a double is hard to gauge the success of given the current state of the top flight.
DUNDEE: A top-half finish represents progress for the Dees, but they lost six of their last seven games of the season which does not represent good form going into next season. Look to have unearthed a gem in Greg Stewart, whose 13 goals saw him nominated for PFA Player of the Year. From part-timer at Cowdenbeath to 4th top scorer in the SPL, not bad is it?
DUNDEE UNITED: Were on course for European football and had made the Scottish League Cup Final before they lost Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong to Celtic. Even though they were cup tied, they still could not overcome Celtic at Hampden, and they were unable to maintain their league position. A good summer in the transfer market required at Tannadice given they are also set to lose defensive rock Fojut to his Polish homeland, as well as holding on to top scorer Nadir Ciftci.
HAMILTON ACCIES: Had an unbelievable start to the season. Out of the top flight for four seasons, Accies topped the table for nearly all of October. They even beat Celtic at Celtic Park. Unfortunately, all this success did not go unnoticed and Norwich pinched manager Alex Neil which totally derailed their season. He went on to clinch promotion to the Premiership with the Canaries and it remains to be seen whether Martin Canning can really replace him.
INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE: Never really looked like challenging Celtic for the league, but boy did they make up for it with their maiden Scottish Cup. Beat Celtic in the semis before dispatching Falkirk to lift the Cup for John Hughes, who certainly deserved some success for all the good work he is doing at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
KILMARNOCK: Managerial drama permeated the Ayrshire club, with Allan Johnston leaving after the transfer window after allegedly being unhappy with the late sale of Robbie Muirhead to Dundee United. The club had started well, but were well and truly in trouble before confirming their top-flight status in their penultimate game.
MOTHERWELL: A tumultuous season at Fir Park, with the Steelmen going out in the Europa League second round before a poor domestic campaign leading to them relying on beating Rangers in the Play-offs. Managed to see the Ibrox club off in style, 6-1 on aggregate, but will have to improve next season to reach the upper tier of the SPL and challenge for Europe again.
PARTICK THISTLE: A middling season for the Jags. Managed to stay out of the relegation dog fight, but failed to excel in the cups, losing 6-0 to Celtic in the League Cup quarter-finals and to Caley in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. Lost star keeper Scott Fox to Ross County and may have to invest to progress next season at Firhill.
ROSS COUNTY: As often happens at Dingwall, a poor start to the campaign was followed by a strong end to the season which saw them claw their way out of the relegation battle. Derek Adams’ sacking ultimately proved to be successful, with Jim McIntyre saving them from the drop with some astute signings in January. A switch to longer contracts suggests a longer-term plan is at hand in the Highlands.
ST JOHNSTONE: A solid league campaign for the Saints, who will once again taste European football next season thanks to Caley Thistle picking up the Scottish Cup. Will not be happy with going out to teams in lower leagues in the Cups, though, losing in the League Cup to Rangers in the quarters and Queen of the South in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. Struggled to replace departed Stevie May and may need to try again this summer to improve and qualify through to the Europa League group stages.
ST MIRREN: Relegation for the Paisley side, who simply could not keep up with Ross County as they raced away from danger late on in the season. The Buddies may well struggle to bounce back next season, too, given they will have to leapfrog Rangers and Hibs to do so.
And that is that. The end of our four-part season review for SPFL clubs for the season just ended. Keep an eye on our Latest News section for more posts!
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