Usually at this point in the season, Scottish football is in the same, easy to predict position; Celtic/Rangers racing clear at the top of the table, Celtic/Rangers in the League Cup final, Celtic/Rangers en route to the Scottish Cup final.
Celtic/Rangers on repeat until the end of time and until they merge into one colossal tracksuit clad ultra-club, stomping round Europe, laying waste to capital cities and wanking furiously into a proposal for an Atlantic League.
It's somewhat refreshing north of the border now. Aberdeen are only 6 points behind leaders Celtic, the League Cup final will be contested by Hibernian and Ross County and there's every possibility one of the Old Firm could be knocked out of next weeks Scottish Cup. Hearts have surpassed their own expectations by sitting pretty in third with the remaining top 6 places being fiercely contested.
At the bottom end of the table, Dundee United, despite their win against Hearts at the weekend look to be dead and buried. Only 4 points separate the rest of the teams from the dreaded playoff spot. Pulling a string of positive results together for those teams has seen them unable to drag themselves away from the danger. Kilmarnock will be hoping for the “new manager bounce” with the appointment of Lee Clark after deciding Gary Locke's crusade to fill his team with anyone who'd played for Hearts/heard of Hearts/driven near Edinburgh had to come to an end.
As for the Championship, who f**king knows what'll happen there but you can bet your arse that if Rangers don't come up there will be a league reconstruction that happens so quickly it'll make your head spin. Hibs got to within an arsehair of Rangers then were brought back down to earth by Morton midweek. Those inconsistencies are what could prove costly when it comes to the end of the season. Both teams failed to make their way through the playoffs last season, so automatic promotion is the main focus, despite the potential lure of silverware in the cups.
Some of the old problems still haunt the game;
- The game being run by a gaggle of f**kbags who'd take their penny jar into the strippers
- Fans who think “ball retention” is a symptom of testicular cancer
- A painfully awful highlights show (imagine MOTD done on post-it notes)
Yet for all those grumbles we've made great strides in our attempts to revamp the League Cup format and the re-introduction of summer football, things which should greatly improve things from a club and fan perspective. If we can waggle a proper winter break into the deal, and not just a fortnight (because, when in the name of lusty f**k has winter ever lasted a fortnight in Scotland?) then we've won a coconut.
There's an acceptance that we'll never get all the changes we want right away but we do seem to be making small steps in the right direction. The next big challenge facing Scottish football is revamping the national team. It's time to bring through some of the excellent talent in our under 21s and chuck the dead wood in the bin, and there is a lot, A LOT, of dead wood. The home nations can enjoy the Euro's while we try and figure out a way to explain to Gordon Greer that there's been a terrible mistake and he's been capped 9 times in error.
Now to try and figure out how the whole thing will pan out. Your guess is as good as mine.