An elusive search for the “final nail” in Scottish football’s coffin

July 5, 2017


What a start to the season it has been for the panic merchants. As almost anything happens in Scottish football there seems to be an inexorable rush to be the first to declare the game ‘dead’. There it is, the final nail and I called it, and you best believe I’m enthusiastic about it.

Remarkably, we’re still here and frankly, even the past 24 hours have been a trip.

Here’s a look to Scottish Football’s top five ‘final nails’, the situations that have provided the absolute, final, and complete conclusion of Scottish football.

Paddy Power Pay Out

1mullenAs Rangers collapsed under the kilobars of pressure applied by Luxembourg giants Progres Niederkorn (and their reserve goalkeeper), Irish bookmaker Paddy Power announced they would be paying out on Celtic winning the league.

Fresh from a podcast of Scottish media members talking about how the Scottish media talk up Scottish football, we’ve got an entry which surely must be the earliest ‘final nail’ of any season. As Paddy Power stacked up over four and a half thousand retweets, even more favourites, and the inevitable tweets from BladesDave from Sheffield saying his nan could win the league, it is clear: Scottish football is dead.

Dundee’s 25 point deduction


As it turned out, Callum Melville wasn’t a reclusive multi-millionaire ready to launch Dundee to the big time. Instead, he turned out to be exactly the sort of director you fear arriving at your club, and the scenario played out exactly as many had predicted. Having entered administration for the second time in about forty minutes, the SFL board stated: “we are of the opinion that lessons are not being learned,” and landed Dundee with a 25 point deduction.

If only @accordingtoaldo had been able to utilise his Sixth Sense ‘Bruce Willis was a ghost all along’ to see what would come next. Dundee’s 23-match undefeated streak through the ‘Deefiant’ season has gone down as one of the best in the club’s recent history. It galvanised the support and provided wonderful memories: Neil McCann’s last minute winner, Craig Robertson living his and many other dark blues’ dream, and the chance to get it right up everyone that sought to bury them. The season holds cherished memories for the Dees. It is clear, Dundee’s 25 point deduction showed that dead Scottish football is dead.



Being entirely honest, there could have been about four hundred different entrants for this one. Around the time of Rangers ‘unpleasantness’, doom-mongers and nay-sayers were ten a penny, and nowhere more prevalent that on Twitter (except perhaps in the Daily Record).

While ‘Armageddon’ was inevitable, and clubs were weeks away from going down the tubes, it turns out the predictions were somewhat wide of the mark. This slow, lingering death saw ‘small clubs’ St Mirren, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Inverness, Ross County and even, almost impossibly, Hibs win trophies since Rangers rescued a point on their opening day in Peterhead. Attendances have risen. Club have reinvested in key areas. It is clear, Rangers starting their season in 2012-13 in the third division means that Scottish football is dead.


4hearts coffin

The pastry case house that the Jam Tarts had built came crumbling down in 2013. Years of overspending through the largesse of Vladimir Romanov and his Ukio Piggy Bankas finally caught up with the Tynecastle club. After struggling through a season with few players, and even less quality, Hearts finally succumbed to relegation.

Even while ending their 31-year stay in the top flight, Hearts had reason for cheer. A defeat of Hibs kept their Edinburgh neighbours embroiled in the playoff scrap, which eventually saw them tumble down a division with them. Then it came, Budgement day. On her first day at work, Ann Budge set about tearing out the old and bringing in the new. Hearts demolished the Championship. It was January before they lost a game in the league, scoring four, five and an almost inconceivable ten in games on their way to a comfortable title win. Return to the top flight saw a third place finish and a (albeit brief) return to Europe. With the Foundation of Hearts going from strength to strength, the demolition and construction of a new, all-singing all-dancing main stand it is clear, Hearts entering administration means that Scottish football is dead.

Lincoln Red Imps


Wellity wellity wellity. Granted, Lincoln Red Imps beating Efe Ambrose 1-0 as planes landed in the background truly was a moment of the season. One easy to forget, as Celtic went undefeated, demolished their rivals at (almost) every opportunity and won a treble. Creditable draws against the superstars of Manchester City raised hope of longer term improvement in Europe. It is clear, Bodie Live, Charlton Athletic fan, claiming Scottish football is dead means that Scottish football is dead.


Written by Graeme Thewliss

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