SPL Fanzone: As the supporters see it

SPL fans have their say on the latest from Scotland’s top flight.

Dundee United

So Peter Houston said he didn’t want to stay at United due to the reccurring cuts in the playing budget. I wonder if he would have been happy to continue, despite the on-field cuts, had his own wages remained the same. Making the club out to be in some sort of financial crisis obviously irked the Tannadice board, with rumours abounding that Houston may well be leaving sooner rather than later. However, Saturday’s win against Kilmarnock may have shown that he is still focused on the job. Alternatively, it may have shown that United are a one-trick-pony, with the return of Gary Mackay-Steven from injury providing a much-needed boost and ensuring several Killie players were left red-faced. Reports from Catalonia suggest Messi has been in his back garden mastering the “Gaz Shuffle”.

Jamie Kidd


St Mirren

Saturday was nothing short of a disaster. Ross County seem to like scoring goals in Paisley but, unlike the last time, we failed to score five in reply. Arguably, all four goals were avoidable and to lose in that fashion was hard to take – especially live on TV.

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Home games against Ross County are the sort of matches we should be winning and, sadly, it looks as if we’ll be fighting it out at the bottom of the table this season rather than pushing for the top half.

At least we get a big day out at Hampden this weekend. Since Danny Lennon took charge, Celtic have racked up an aggregate scoreline of 22-0 in eight games. If we play like we did in the second half on Saturday, that tally is only going to increase but our best results against Celtic in recent years have come on the back of shockers the week before.

Stuart Gillespie


St Johnstone

More frustration, more disappointment, more dismal fortune. That pretty much sums up the game against Motherwell. We started well, only to concede to the home side’s first attack of the match. We rallied, then conceded when Higdon’s initial shot broke off of two defenders right into his stride. We continued to press but somehow ended up three behind when another chance landed kindly at Higdon’s lethal feet. Even the most ardent Motherwell fan wouldn’t argue they merited such an advantage.

Saints fought back valiantly and were unfortunate not to get the equaliser but it should never have come to that in the first place. We are completely lacking killer instinct in the box and the goals we are conceding tend to be of the preventable variety. What’s the solution? I’m not really sure to be honest. Let’s hope Steve Lomas has the answer.

Jamie Beatson



We’re now into the business end of the season and the big games are coming thick and fast. Unusually, the game against Hearts proved more straightforward than in the past, though we still managed to make it difficult for ourselves by falling into our usual habit of dominating games, missing loads of chances and losing a stupid goal.

Of course, the man in demand scores twice. Hopefully, if he does go, that has stuck a few million more on his price tag. Let’s hope this goalscoring form can be maintained by the team. The ominous statement of “Dundee United haven’t won at Celtic Park in 20 years” always gives me the fear!

Mind you, I think Norwich have missed a trick as the SPL’s all-time top scorer is available on a free transfer after an illustrious career on the bench of Portland Timbers.

Dave Devine


Our home form seems to be on the wane this season and it was another three points dropped against Dundee United. They are probably up there with the best in the league and were always going to be a tough nut to crack, but you have to win your home games or you end up in trouble. There were a few individual performances which were noteworthy, that of young Barbour for instance, but the whole team appeared to lack shape and our midfield lacks bite with Kelly gone. Playing two up front also seems to have had a negative effect on results. Both Heffernan and Sheridan seem to excel on their own but together since Heff has come back from injury it looks like Cillian has been told to play much wider and that has been detrimental to his game. He is a good player and it is not nice to hear fans getting on his back for what is effectively not his fault.

Barry Richmond


Inverness CT

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Well we had our answer to the effects of the winter break on form and momentum on Saturday. This (defeat of Aberdeen) was a really important result after the break and all the off-the-field issues. It was a touch of real quality by Andy Shinnie that turned the game and after that we were different class. If Shinnie’s goal was good, MacKay’s first was even better, and his second wasn’t bad either.

The added bonus of a clean sheet and a defence on top of its game was also great to see. There was also quality on the bench, which is a luxury for us, as is a settled side.

Saturday’s result was the perfect tonic required to take down to Edinburgh next week for the League Cup semi-final against Hearts. There is great belief that this team is going to places and heights that we’ve never seen before.

Dave Wilson



Easter Road was a bitterly cold place on Saturday and Hibs did little against Dundee to generate any warmth. Other than another Leigh Griffiths goal and a solid performance by goalkeeper Ben Williams there was little to get excited about. It would be unfair to single out any particular player for criticism with so many sub-par performances. Our movement off the ball was woeful at times. With a bench short on options to change things it was fairly apparent that a draw was going to be the best we could hope for against the team propping up the league. If we are to finish this campaign at the higher end of the table then we are going to need more than just a few fresh faces in the team. With so little between the clubs in this season’s SPL a little more boldness by the manager in setting out his team could give us a decent chance of securing one of the coveted Euro spots.

John Robertson



There was some positive news this week as the transfer embargo was partially lifted and Danny Wilson joined the club in what could turn out to be a good signing. However, Hearts were still on their winter break when the game kicked off at Celtic Park and the game was effectively over after the first ten minutes. There are a lot of youngsters in the team and with Zaliukas suspended this was probably not the ideal fixture. The addition of Wilson will hopefully give us an option at left back with McHattie still finding his feet in the SPL.

Saturday’s League Cup semi-final is massive for us and this is the game that could make or break our season. Inverness are in good form but with the Hearts ticket sales outnumbering Inverness by five to one this should feel more like a home game, and we have to capitalise on that by playing an attacking team and going for it.

Broxburn Jambo


Travelling fans who endured an abysmal performance on Saturday probably wished the winter break had been a bit longer and maybe covered the period when there is actually a bit of winter weather. But credit to an Inverness side showing considerable consistency. Craig Brown could do a lot worse than look at some of the soon to be free agents playing in the Highland capital.

The bigger story for many was the conclusion of the Ryan Fraser transfer saga and, while no-one expected him to remain at Pittodrie for the remainder of his career, his decision to move to a team in the third tier of English football certainly raised eyebrows. Time will tell if he has made the right choice but, with a sell-on clause in place, we can only benefit from any success he has.

Steve Wilson



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So that’s ten points we’ve taken from five games against the Edinburgh clubs now, with three points picked up in our other 17 games.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Hibs should have been three points, to make those statistics even more bizarre. The industrious Baird took his goal well, and was long overdue his first competitive goal for Dundee, while Milne, Stewart and Nish had chances to increase our lead. Of course, former player Leigh Griffiths pops up with his customary goal against us, but the mutual respect between him and the Dundee fans is a rare sight in football these days. He’ll surely end up back at Dens one day.

Now we embark on an eight-game run of non-Saturday fixtures, starting with Kilmarnock at Dens on Sunday. It goes without saying that we have to win this game, and I have a feeling we will.

The Club 12th Man

Ross County

Ross County’s two debutants, Ivan Sproule and Evangelous Ikonomou, both had very good debuts and look to be very promising players if they can keep that level of performance up for the rest of the season, but the biggest boost was the return of Paul Lawson!

He made his first start since August in the game against St Mirren and I felt he controlled the game with his range and accuracy of passing. It’s no surprise that we have managed to put two wins back-to-back for the first time this season and he was heavily involved in both games. It was also good to see that Richard Brittain retained the captain’s armband. A few fans had wanted him stripped of the captaincy given he has signed a pre-contract with St. Johnstone, but yet again he showed he is as committed as ever to County and in my opinion is the perfect captain for the rest of the season.

Alan Ross



Motherwell may have produced a win on Saturday but there is still some bad feeling among a decent chunk of the support. For once this has nothing to do with the performance, but rather the sudden announcement that the game with Dundee United next midweek would be brought forward 24 hours.

Every fan accepts games will be moved for television but for the club to announce this switch at 12 days’ notice is another shocking disregard for their paying customer. Some people will have made alternative arrangements and will miss out, and you can be certain some of those will do something about it.

It may only be a dozen folk who consider this move the last straw and refuse to renew a season ticket but it’s another dozen who could begin to drift away from the game.

Derek Wilson