Hamilton Accies finish bottom of the ‘Sportscene league’

Hamilton Accies won the play-off to avoid relegation but finished bottom of the Sportscene league - they were the team most likely to be shown last on the programme. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Hamilton Accies won the play-off to avoid relegation but finished bottom of the Sportscene league - they were the team most likely to be shown last on the programme. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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Hamilton may have escaped relegation for another year but they finished bottom of the league when it came to their Sportscene appearances.

Accies - who avoided falling through the Ladbrokes Premiership trapdoor by beating play-off rivals Dundee United over two legs last week - closed BBC Scotland’s flagship highlights programme on 10 occasions.

That was more than any other side - while they also opened the show the fewest.

In fact, they topped the bill just once throughout the whole of the 2016/17 season and even then, the Lanarkshire outfit’s supporters had to wait until May 14 to see their team kick off the Sportscene action with their crucial relegation crunch against local rivals Motherwell.

Relieved Accies boss Martin Canning was delighted to see Hamilton escape a slide into the Championship but admitted his team’s lowly rating with the broadcaster was not something that worried him too much.

He said: “To be honest, it doesn’t bother me because the most important thing is that we get our job done.

“I understand when you’re putting together a TV programme like that there are clubs with a lot bigger supports than ours.

“Maybe that justifies them being shown first, maybe it doesn’t but I’m not in charge of Sportscene so it’s nothing to do with me, I can’t affect it.

“They will chose what games they show first and it will be based on whatever they base these things on.

“All we can do is look after our own matters.”

Unsurprisingly, runaway league champions Celtic also came out on top of Press Association Sport’s Sportscene survey, opening the weekend highlights review no fewer than 17 times.

Next up were Rangers with 14 outings at the top of the show but Aberdeen, who finished the campaign second and were also runners-up to Celtic in both domestic cup finals, managed just six headline appearances.

Like Hamilton, Kilmarnock were also treated to just one opening slot and were left to wait until last a further nine times.

Partick Thistle enjoyed their best league season in 36 years as they broke into the top six for the first time but their supporters were also kept waiting as they closed the show on nine occasions.

Celtic did take their turn at the bottom end of the show three times, while Gers went out last once. However, all of the games featured had taken place on Friday nights and were broadcast on Sportscene’s regular Sunday afternoon slot.

David Harron, executive producer for sport at BBC Scotland, explained how the Sportscene team draw up their programme schedule.

“The Sportscene running order is ultimately a matter of editorial judgement each week,” he said. “The key factors that the programme producer needs to weigh up are the quality of a game, the importance of the game, likely audience interest in a game and also the level of coverage.

“This last point is something which is not always appreciated by supporters but while most non-live games are now covered as multi-camera outside broadcasts (OBs), two games per week were covered using only two or three cameras due to a contractual situation between the SPFL and one of their broadcasters.

“Our understanding from the SPFL is that from next season all the games will be covered by at least a small fully mixed OB unit which should enhance the offer for the audience still further.

“It has been pointed out that highlights of a live BT or Sky Sunday game often lead the show but this makes sense as these games have often just finished and are therefore of greater interest and also they tend to be the biggest or one of the biggest games of the weekend.

“Another factor in considering the running order of course is that in the post-split fixtures it makes sense to group the top six and bottom six games together for the story of the weekend to make sense.

“One criticism of the programme previously which we have responded to was the late Sunday night slot.

“We have seen a real growth in engagement, positive feedback and strong audience figures since the programme moved to 6pm and that feedback also suggests that the audience enjoy having Michael Stewart and Steven Thompson as the regular guests. We would hope to continue to build on that growth next season.”

FIRST ON SPORTSCENE

Celtic 17

Rangers 14

Aberdeen 6

Dundee 5

Hearts 5

Ross County 4

St Johnstone 4

Inverness 3

Motherwell 2

Partick Thistle 2

Kilmarnock 1

Hamilton 1

LAST ON SPORTSCENE

Hamilton 10

Partick Thistle 9

Kilmarnock 9

Dundee 7

Ross County 6

Inverness 6

Motherwell 5

Aberdeen 4

Hearts 3

Celtic 3

Rangers 1

St Johnstone 1

(excludes William Hill Scottish Cup and Betfred Cup programmes)