Five biggest fan gripes from the Scottish football weekend

The new season began this weekend with the opening round of the BetFred Cup.

Rangers defeated Motherwell in the game of the weekend. Picture: SNS
Rangers defeated Motherwell in the game of the weekend. Picture: SNS
Rangers defeated Motherwell in the game of the weekend. Picture: SNS

This meant bonus-point penalty kicks, lower league sides humbling top tier teams, and more than enough for fans to complain about.

Here are some of the biggest gripes doing the rounds...

Rangers need to reinforce their defence

Overall, there were plenty of reasons for Rangers fans to be positive after their first game of the new campaign. Away to a top six side, they recorded both a victory and a clean sheet, both of which were secured without the aid of the eight new signings made to strengthen the squad this summer (other than substitute cameos from Niko Kranjcar and Josh Windass). However, anyone who watched the game will know Rangers were fortunate to keep their opponents goalless through the 90 minutes, as Motherwell passed up at least five clear-cut chances throughout the match.

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Aside from the addition of 37-year-old Clint Hill, Rangers have yet to strengthen their defence, something supporters feel is a must for them to take the title from Celtic in their first season back on the top flight. As members of the Rangers squad have said on numerous occasions, there is no settling for second place at Ibrox, which is evident by the voicing of concerns despite such a strong start.

The prospect of a post-Gary Harkins world

Paul Hartley’s decision to inform Gary Harkins that he was no longer part of the first-team picture at Dundee was never going to go down easily with the Dens Park support, who long ago bestowed cult-hero status on the mercurial midfield playmaker. The last thing Hartley needed to gain support for the move was a listless performance against East Fife. With Harkins absent from the squad, Dundee lacked inspiration and eventually lost the bonus-point penalty shoot-out at the end of a 1-1 draw with their League One opponents.

Hartley will, quite rightly, not change is position on the back of one match, but he’ll still wish the rest of his team had eased supporter fears.

Deja-vu for Hamilton Accies

The 2-1 loss to second tier Ayr United may not have reached the lows of losing 4-1 to Annan in the Scottish Cup last term, yet it still sent alarm bells ringing in the minds of the Accies faithful. Carlton Morris, Ziggy Gordon and Michael McGovern, three of the team’s strongest performers, have all left with only one signing made thus far. Despite keeping them in the top flight, Hamilton fans were still hesitant about fully embracing Martin Canning as their manager, even though the player-boss has been in the role for 18 months now. A loss to a lower league opponent, in a match where they were clearly outplayed, will not alleviate such fears.

Falkirk’s new arrivals

This has the potential to be a huge season for Falkirk. While Hibs are everyone’s picks for the second tier title, Falkirk are rightly confident they can repeat last season’s success and finish ahead of the Edinburgh side. After all, minus the departure of Blair Alston, they’ve kept the majority of their team together. Unfortunately, the hope of using such optimism to gain momentum going into the league season has been dashed already following a 1-0 loss to Stirling Albion. In all likelihood, it was nothing more than a bad day at the office from a team that didn’t treat their opponents with the required respect, but simple excuses do not placate fans, who wondered whether the additions of James Craigen and Lewis Kidd, in particular, were false steps in the transfer market.

Callum McGregor should start for Celtic

The Parkhead faithful were given renewed hope to be positive for the season ahead with a 2-1 win against Wolfsburg. It may only have been a pre-season friendly - and you should never read too much into these results - but a stronger performance was badly needed to lift spirits around the place following last week’s shock loss to Lincoln Red Imps.

However, that wound is still fresh and the improved performance, while welcomed, didn’t stop fans from looking back in anger, wondering why the players couldn’t have produced such a display in Gibraltar.

The biggest gripe surrounds the absence of Callum McGregor last midweek as Nir Bitton and Scott Brown combined to set a tempo that was one notch below walking pace. McGregor has been excellent since getting a regular spot in the centre of the park last season and his form has been better than that of the more experienced centre-midfield team-mates. A typical criticism of Ronny Deila was his tendency to pick players on reputation over form. Celtic fans are hoping Brendan Rodgers doesn’t do the same.

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