Back in August I previewed the SPL season, and I’d planned to update this when we were a quarter of the way in – after last weekend’s games.  As things turned out, there was a midweek round of games this week.  I put together my thoughts three hours before these matches, thereby guaranteeing a set of surprise results and requiring an addendum.

If, after reading this, you want me to make specific predictions for your team or their rivals, I am available for a reasonable fee.

This week I look at the wrong end of the table, with Part Two (top half of the table) coming next week.

St Mirren

Before:
I think Lennon junior is finding that the step up from Cowdenbeath to the SPL is bigger than he anticipated, and some of the players he brought with him are feeling that too.  Having said that, they’re just a win away from mid-table.  Their home form is decent, but they need to pick up a few points on the road if they are to avoid a relegation-battling season.

What happened next:
St Mirren beat Dundee United 2-1 away and jump to 9th place.

Hibernian

I confidently predicted Yogi Hughes would turn around the post-Xmas slump in Hibee form, but it seems the problems at Easter Road run deep – Hibs’ results have been terrible this year, starting with their 3-0 home defeat to Rangers in their home opener.  They can still play good football but they can’t keep a clean sheet to save themselves, and their big names up front aren’t living up to expectations – outside the nightclubs of Edinburgh, at least.

Hughes could blame the sale of Stokes to Celtic all he likes but it’s not one player that’s the missing piece in this jigsaw puzzle.  Colin Calderwood has his work cut out – his ambition might just be to keep Hibs off the bottom so he can rebuild in the close season.

What happened next:
Hibs pull off an exact reverse of their home defeat to Rangers, inflicting the first domestic defeat on the Gers this season.  But is it just a blip or a sign that Calderwood is starting to turn things around?

Hamilton

Apart from a couple of shocking results at the start of the season, Hamilton remain a tough team to beat – only Celtic have beaten them by more than a goal since August.  However they are too often on the wrong side of the odd goal, which puts them down at the wrong end of the table – where I think they’ll stay all year.

Billy Reid has worked miracles to do so well with the resources he has, but I don’t think that can continue, especially now they’ve sold their best two players.  They also have developed a dangerous habit of conceding late goals – 4 of their last 8 games have been lost or drawn due to goals in the last 15 minutes.

What happened next:
They crash 3-0 to Killie to end up bottom of the table – although all three goals were in the first hour.

Aberdeen

Oh, where do I begin… I am loving this.

It’ll be a long time before anyone – inside Pittodrie or out – forgets the 9-0 game.  It was mentioned in the New York Times, FFS!  I haven’t watched the highlights yet but it appears to have been a dismal, pathetic excuse for a team that utterly collapsed against an on-form Celtic side.

But really: 9-0?  Celtic aren’t *that* good.  Mark McGhee will be gone any day now – perhaps the only thing holding up his dismissal is the board wondering if they should fire Willie Miller with him, as he was responsible for getting rid of the Two Jimmys to appoint his excuse-making finger-pointing mate.

I said at the start of the season “9th or 10th, unless they replace McGhee in October with Billy Reid, then 8th or 9th”.  I think I’ll be off on timing by a few weeks, though whether Billy Reid is the man, I don’t know.

What happened next:
Well, I’d already written this after their 2-1 defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle, and it seems like McGhee is still hanging on.  So…  McGhee visits Ibrox this weekend, his team get pumped, and he gets his jotters.  The dream scenario is Hamilton also winning or drawing at the weekend leaving Aberdeen bottom an/or Miller being shown the door as well.

St Johnstone

Derek McInnes’ team have the distinction of being one of the few to lose to Aberdeen this season, but apart from that, until the last few weeks they’d put together a decent run.  McInnes came into the SPL as a promising manager and did well last year, but the sophomore season is always harder than the first year and will be the true test of his management chops.  He’s a contender for the Pittodrie role, though, and it would be disappointing for Saints fans if he leaves Perth.

What happened next:
The end of their ‘decent run’ continues with a 4-0 shellacking by Motherwell.  That’s 13 goals conceded in four games – Derek McInnes needs to look at his back line.

Kilmarnock

Killie have surprised me – they are challenging for top half of the table.  I didn’t think Mixu did a marvellous job at Easter Road and I was surprised he got the nod at Rugby Park, and losing Kevin Kyle made me fear for their SPL safety.  But after a shaky start his team have tightened it at the back (take note, McInnes) and started banging in goals at the other end.  They were even described as “the most refreshing team in Scotland” by Hamilton manager Billy Reid before their game last night!

What happened next:
The refreshment continues, but perhaps not to Reid’s taste, as Killie continued their score lots/concede none run of form.

Billy