Scottish football mailbag: Celtic v the rest of the SPFL | Jordan Rossiter | Hamilton’s form

Could even an SPFL select XI stop Brendan Rodgers' side? Picture: SNS
Could even an SPFL select XI stop Brendan Rodgers' side? Picture: SNS
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Craig Fowler is back to answer your questions on Scottish football, including whether Celtic would manage to defeat a select XI of players from the rest of the SPFL

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@DKeith0904: Could you make an eleven out of the non-Celtic SPFL teams to win the league ahead of Celtic? And who would that 11 be?

No. You couldn’t.

Celtic have the best player at the following positions: Goalkeeper, right-back, centre-back, left-back, centre-midfield, left-midfield, attacking midfield and striker.

Jonny Hayes is better than James Forrest. Stuart Armstrong is the flavour of the month, so you could make a case that, long-term, Arnaud Djoum or Andy Halliday or Kenny McLean or John McGinn have shown themselves to have been more consistent over the past 18 months. But Armstrong is an undoubtedly talented player and, at this moment, is the second best No.8 in Scottish football behind his captain.

To answer your question fully, here’s my SPFL XI without Celtic:

(4-4-1-1) Lewis; Logan, O’Connor, Rossi, Wallace; Hayes, Shinnie, Halliday, Swanson; Walker; Moult

This team would lose 3-1 to Celtic.

@LeysKarl: Why can’t the Accies hold onto a lead?

The strength of Accies last season was their ability to batten down the hatches when they desperately needed a result. It was feast or famine for opponents, with Accies racking up a surprising number of clean sheets (10) for a team who conceded so many goals (63). They’re actually on pace to concede fewer this term, but it’s been more of a constant drip, which is not as conducive to gaining results. If you keep clean sheets in three out of four games, and lose four in the other, you’re guaranteed at least three points. The same is not true if you lose one goal per game.

There are a few reasons contributing to this. A lack of full-backs would be one of them. Accies started off the season with two midfielders at the key positions and still tend to have a midfielder starting as a wing-back in the 3-5-2. Then there’s been the upheaval in the defence. Lucas Tagliapetra is, in my opinion, a better centre-back than any of Michael Devlin, Georgios Sarris and Dan Seaborne. Then there’s Devlin being handed the captaincy. It’s uncertain whether such a young player, especially one coming back from serious injury, is ready for the responsibility. It could be affecting his form.

There is also the glass-half-full way to look at it. Hamilton are throwing away a lot of leads and not winning enough games. Then again, for a side expected to finish bottom prior to the start of the season, they have remained competitive in every match and have been beaten only four times in the Premiership.

It’s becoming a bit of a mental block, which is troubling as it’ll be hard to cast off for the rest of the campaign. However, if they continue to play well the results will come.

@quirie89: Probably get ridiculed for this. Could Scotland do worse than call up Andy Considine? Quietly consistent for past few years.

We had an article calling for Paul Hanlon, so I am in no place to ridicule.

I mean, yeah, it’s fine to call up Andy Considine. I think he’s a decent player and our centre backs aren’t any good. But is bringing Considine in the Scotland team really going to make it any better. They’re are all much of a muchness (i.e. not very good), so arguing one over the other is a spurious debate.

@MarcJWallace: Will Rangers end up paying more for Jordan Rossiter’s medical bills than they paid for the player himself?

I have no idea how much medical bills cost a football team, but seeing as Rangers only paid £250,000 in compensation for the midfielder, I’m going to say... probably?

They knew when they signed him he had a history of injuries. However, they were only spending a small six-figure fee for the player. It doesn’t exactly match up to prior levels of recklessness. They are currently operating in a market where they have to take chance on projects and that’s what Rossiter is. When the player is young and has plenty of potential, you can forgive the move not working out. When it’s a 33-year-old Joey Barton, you cannot.

@neiltaylor16: Should Scotland adopt a league system like the Australian A league?

I would love to see a top tier league adopt a play-off system. It’d even be great to see a best-of-three series for the semis and final. However, there is no way it’d work in Scottish football.

There’s just so much of a financial gulf between Rangers and Celtic and the rest of the league. Just about every season you’d have the two sides getting seeded on the opposite side of the draw and meeting in the final. It would make it easier for another team to win the title, as you’d essentially just have to go on a short cup run, but I would think the Old Firm would raise their game more for what is essentially league deciding matches, and we’d get sick of the new set-up pretty quickly.

@elise_caley: Could it be a long-term problem for Hearts to have none of their strikers amongst their best goalscorers?

It’s been a problem for the last 20 years!

In terms of this season, it’s been painted as a huge problem already, though that might be an overreaction. It doesn’t really matter where the goals are coming from if you’re the second highest scorers in the league, and I’d say the leaky defence is a bigger issue at the moment.

However, looking at the rest of the season, you’d have to believe Callum Paterson will regress to the mean, unless we’re seriously suggesting the right-back is going to score 20 goals this campaign. The same goes for Jamie Walker, used as a wing-back against Hamilton, who’s on for a career high in goals.

If they drop off then the strikers will have to pick up the slack. If they don’t, an already floundering Hearts will drop like a stone.

@conorm11: Any chances for shocks in the Scottish Cup this weekend?

Seeing as most of the games are going to be postponed due to this genital-freezing weather... no.

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