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Europa Success, League Cup Crisis & An Innovative Twitch

Date: 18th September 2020

After a chaotic start to the season and a few bad Scottish footballing news stories, it’s great to finally celebrate some good on-field results. 

Aberdeen, Motherwell and Rangers all successfully managed to win their latest Europa League ties and head into the next stage of the competition. Scottish Premiership champions Celtic are already in that round, so we shall have four teams in total. 

It’s not every season we can see all of our clubs negotiate their way through the first few rounds of European action, so we should definitely appreciate it when it does happen! 

For me, Aberdeen had the best result of the night with a fine 2-0 away win over Norwegian cracks Viking FK. A goal in both halves was enough to secure The Dons a fine victory in Stavanger and it now sets them up to face Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon next week. 

Rangers had the easier task of seeing off Red Lincoln Imps. The side from Gibraltar famously beat Celtic at home a few years back but Steven Gerrard’s men weren’t in the mood to recreate that embarrassing episode for Scottish Football. A comfortable 5-0 triumph now sees The Gers travelling to the Netherlands next as they face Willem II

The Steelmen made their progress into the next round more complicated than it really should’ve been. Draws against home nation opponents can often be tricky, just ask Kilmarnock who failed to get beyond Welsh opponents Connah’s Quay Nomads last term. But Motherwell were two goals up in Northern Ireland at one point. But The Well then conceded two second half penalties and watched as Bevis Mugabe was sent off. Opponents Coleraine held their nerve to score those spot kicks. That saw the game go into extra-time and then onto penalties. Thankfully for the Lanarkshire side they had Trevor Carson in between the sticks and he saved all of Coleraine’s kicks as Motherwell went through. A tough trip away to Israel to meet up with Hapoel Beer-Sheva now awaits. 

Here’s hoping all of our clubs can conjure up more impressive away performances and all of them can find a secure passage into the final set of qualifying rounds. It’s great that we can see all our teams doing well in European competition. 

I have often noted on these blogs that I feel certain decisions have been rushed in getting football back after the Covid lockdown. One such decision has been to carry on with the League Cup. 

Now I understand that no one can fully prepare for what a pandemic brings but alas the League Cup brings a set of added complications. 

In order to play football, Scottish Premiership sides have had to regularly test their players. 

As the League Cup gets ready to kick in, we now have to look at the fact that some lower league sides haven’t probably got the finances to test their players so regularly, Kelty Hearts boss Barry Ferguson has said as much. He thinks adding regular testing at lower league level will make it very difficult financially for certain teams. 

Now I doubt the Scottish government will allow professional sport to continue without the same testing measures being implemented across the board.

Plus will Premiership clubs want to mix with teams that aren’t testing to the same level? 

Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer said: 

“All of them will be tested or you’ll have the right not to play,” 

“I wouldn’t think a Premiership club would want to play someone who’s not been tested. It doesn’t make sense.”

It’s an understandable point of view, especially given the rise of Covid cases throughout Scotland, that rise has already had an impact on Scottish football. 

Even Killie’s first opponents in the League Cup might feel understandably miffed about the competition, even if they test players beforehand. The game will be Falkirk’s first competitive game of the season and they will take on a side that will have played ten competitive games by that point. That does seem very unfair. 

These are issues that should have been decided upon before the season kicked off. Teams should have been aware of protocols in plenty of time so they could plan for them. It will now get rushed and some clubs might have to turn down the chance to play! 

BSC Glasgow have announced a nice innovative idea before their season kicks off. The Lowland League side have come together with club ambassador Derek AKA Mozza (@MozzaPlays) to live stream their home games on his Twitch channel. It is a fresh new way of providing content to fans who can unfortunately not enter the ground and watch the game in the stands. 

I am sure Derek will offer up a unique insight into the games and it won’t be bland studio based content we’ve been used to in the past. It will be free but will have a donation link, which could be a great way for supporters to help contribute to BSC’s coffers during this tough and strange time! 


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