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SPL: Stuttering Hibs

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Fifth in the league, a point better off after 26 games of this season than they were after the SPL had run it's course last season.

Hibs fans, punch drunk from their annus horribilis, heard promises in the summer of a rebuilt side capable of making progress.

A top six berth after two-thirds of the season does indeed point to progress.

SPL: Motherwell v Hibs

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An acquaintance, for whom the glass is forever half empty, insisted to me last Sunday evening that Hibs would be in the bottom three of the SPL after the next three games.

That is mathematically possible. And this particular lover of life had, unlike me, endured the trip to Dingwall to see goalkeeper Ben Williams do a Highland fling in losing three goals and three points to Ross County.

SPL: Dundee United v Aberdeen

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According to the encyclopedic @SPLstats Saturday will be the 87th time Dundee United have hosted Aberdeen in a league game at Tannadice.

In the previous 86 matches there have been 29 home wins, 28 away win and 29 draws.

The insperable New Firm.

They've been plotting different routes through the SPL this season though.

SPL: The Joy of Six

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A Saturday Superstore tomorrow. With Neil Doncaster as Mike Read and a half time interview with Craig Brown filling in for a wacky live link with Cheggers.

A splendid SPL smorgasbord seeing out September. Alarming alliteration aside, we can sit back and enjoy six games in the top flight.

SPL: Dundee United v Ross County

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Preparing for his Dundee United side's home clash with Ross County tonight, Peter Houston observed that the visitors look hard to beat.

These days we only expect such powers of deduction in the creations of Steven Moffat.

But give Peter his due. He spent much of the last fortnight polishing Craig Levein's spectacles.

SPL: Five star

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Week three of the SPL.

Week three already. Or week two for any club that feels unconstrained by the league starting when booking their jollydays.

The marketing geniuses whose brains power the Hampden floodlights will be congratulating themselves for starting the SPL season a fortnight before the English could be bothered kicking off.

SPL Preview: Dundee United v Hibs

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A nice quiet Scottish football summer draws to an close. A pleasant couple of months they've been, devoted to considered reflection, removed from the hurly-burly, the hysteria and the rancour of the season.

And now it's over. Time for the (fun and) games to begin.

The new season dawns with a TV deal in place, a 12 team SPL, a 30 team SFL, mixed European results and Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan continuing to career through the corridors of Hampden like the Chuckle Brothers with ADHD.

SPL: Timing is everything

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Did your Cup overfloweth last week?

Not so much. Or if it did is was with lukewarm, overly milky tea rather than with an expensive Asti Spumante.

Back to the slog of the SPL today though. What joys await...

St Johnstone v Rangers
Poor timing.

That was Ally McCoist's verdict on his bid for St Johnstone's Francisco Sandaza on the eve of today's game.

East v West: The SPL Today

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It seems like ages since I tickled the malnourished belly of the SPL with a wildly inaccurate prediction post.

I think the last time I Nostradamus-ed the weekend action Rangers had won the title and Motherwell were about to take the Champion's League by storm.

What a difference an eight point swing makes.

SPL: Since Alex Ferguson Said Goodbye

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Four games in the SPL today.

But I'm distracted by Sir Alex Ferguson's upcoming 25th anniversary as manager of Manchester United. A phenomena. From Govan.

The SPL didn't even exist 25 years ago. We must have had football though, whatever they try and tell us.

Must have had it because I'm sure Alex Ferguson left a top flight Scottish club to take over a top flight English club 25 years ago.

SPL: Saturday Superstore

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Six SPL games on a Saturday afternoon? A fixture list that makes me feel dizzy. The past is an unfamiliar place and all that.

A full house. A lunchtime kick off in Ayrshire is the only nod to modernity, the joker in the pack reminding us that we're so totally not, like, living in the last century or something.

Hibs v Aberdeen: Misery on Leith

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What times to be a Hibs supporter.

Bottom of the league, a manager who has become a toxic brand, sections of the support ever more alienated from the vision the board have for the club. And sections of the support who are consistently voting with their feet.

A demonstration is planned before today's game with second bottom Aberdeen.

SPL: Where The Smart Money Goes

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The whirligig that is international week has left me struggling for time as we approach the mundane predictability of the SPL.

So this week's SPL preview has been drawn entirely at random.

Not by me.

I've shipped in a glamorous assistant, a glamorous assistant who is the number one draw every Wednesday night at a "gentleman's club" cabaret in Newcastle.

SPL: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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Apparently Alex Salmond's Scottish Government have rushed through emergency legislation declaring that every football article written must include reference to Scottish football's darkest hour.

So be it.

Scotland manager Craig Levein assured us yesterday that the Scottish game would bounce back from the trials of Thursday night.

SPL: Welcome Home

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After the party, the hangover. The fear. The self loathing.

Rangers thought they'd pulled the good looking girl only to see her disappear into the bedroom with a handsome stranger.

Celtic were ignored most of the night, left to stand in the kitchen nursing a lukewarm can of Skol.

SPL: Goodwillie Hunting

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Another week of SPL fixtures with the sun still not set on July. An abbreviated card today and an abbreviated run through from me as babysitting duties call.

St Johnstone v RangersAfter the drama of this week's bout of Goodwillie hunting and the unfortunate reverse against Malmo Rangers get back to league business.

SPL: Dunfermline v St Mirren

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The GameDunfermline make their SPL return with the TV cameras in attendance for the unveiling of last season's championship flag.

I can't truthfully make a prediction without admitting that the game has already started. It's 0-0 right now.

I'll back - despite the evidence of the opening stages - both teams to score and take a point each.

SPL: Dundee United v Kilmarnock

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The second of today's two opening Sunday fixtures and look at what's going on with Dundee United and Kilmarnock.

The GameLet's quickly gloss over any jokes about how much the early start to the SPL helped Dundee United's European campaign.

After starting with a flurry on Thursday they eventually slipped out of the competition by the narrowest of margins.

SPL: Hibs v Celtic

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The first of Sunday's two SPL games as Celtic travel to Hibs to give a green tinge to the opening weekend.

The GameFor a variety of reasons, some of which are explored below, this is an away win for me. End of.*

HibsWell, what a swell summer it's been for Hibs. Managerial uncertainty has swirled, training ground punches have been hurled and transfer deals have unfurled.

SPL: Motherwell v Inverness

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Completing the triangle of opening Saturday fixtures, Stuart McCall's Motherwell host Terry Butcher's Inverness.

The gameTerry Butcher says his team aren't ready. Brutal honesty or bluffing banditry? We'll find out soon enough.

Motherwell lost a Scottish Cup final in their last competitive appearance.

SPL: Aberdeen v St Johnstone

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The second of Saturday's three games and a look at what's in store for Aberdeen and St Johnstone.

The game
I've a feeling both these sides will have been quite happy with the opening day's fixtures. A home game for Aberdeen and an away trip that won't overly scare St Johnstone.

Opening games often have a tentative, feet finding atmosphere and this one seems set up to be exactly that.

SPL: Rangers v Hearts

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The first of this weekend's six preview posts, starting with the first game - Rangers v Hearts. Quite a match to kick things off.

The game
Championship flag a-flappin' in the Govan breeze Rangers have the perfect chance to dismiss as exaggerations any rumours of their footballing demise.

SPL: 12 To Watch - Part One

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Part one of an entirely prejudiced, unscientific look at 12 players I'll be keeping track of in the SPL this season. Maybe not the biggest stars but a player from each team whose progress I'm interested to follow.

Steven Naismith, Rangers
Steven Naismith turns 25 this September. No longer a kid bursting with potential but a senior member of a championship winning squad with a five year contract under his belt.

SPL review

SPL Advent: Dundee United

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Is that a tangerine in your stocking or are you just pleased to see me? Through the great SPL Advent calendar window today: Dundee United.

Consistency, as Motherwell's progress this season has shown, can work wonders in the SPL.

But it eludes three quarters of the league.

SPL Advent: Dunfermline

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Today's SPL Advent calendar throws up not a nugget of cheap chocolate but a Stewart's bridie - current SPL basement dwellers Dunfermline.

The road to the SPL is not paved with gold.

On their return to the top flight Dunfermline find themselves bottom of the league. They've taken only four points at home in a miserable run that has seen them fail to win at East End Park.

SPL Advent: St Mirren

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We're so close now you can almost smell the reindeer dung. We reach the final window in the SPL Advent calendar. Fling open the curtains and have a nosy at St Mirren.

One thing you can say about St Mirren is that Danny Lennon will do what's best for St Mirren Football Club and what's best for Danny Lennon.

SPL Advent: St Johnstone

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Day eleven. Guided by a star of wonder, the SPL Advent takes a trip to Perth.

Perhaps we should all read a Christmas lesson from the good book of McDiarmid Park.

St Johnstone have lost both a talented young manager and a steady, long-serving chairman this season.

And, so far, it's been more evolution for revolution.

SPL Advent: Rangers

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Day ten of the SPL Advent. Rangers. Dreaming of a Whyte Christmas.

Rangers offer another chance for one of these half season reviews to become more a work of financial reporting. I'll try to resist.

We know the taxman cometh, we know Craig Whyte himself rarely seems short of a battle to fight and we know that other companies and individuals have raised concerns over Rangers' financial position.

SPL Advent: Motherwell

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Day nine of the SPL Advent. Motherwell, the success story of the season so far.

What were we to expect from Motherwell this SPL season?

Stuart McCall's arrival to replace Craig Brown raised more of a shrug of the shoulders than a cheer last season.

But he impressed in taking the team to the Scottish Cup final, an achievement that raised intriguing possibilities about how he'd fare with a close season behind him.

SPL Advent: Kilmarnock

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We tend to be quick to condemn the managerial merry-go-round as propelled by the Largs mafia.

But we're also too often suspicious of incomers who come into the SPL with their odd ways and their funny accents.

We should embrace them. Especially if they're such a delightful puzzle as Kenny Shiels.

SPL Advent: Inverness

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Day seven of the SPL advent. A trip to the frozen north to see how Inverness are coping this SPL season.

I find Terry Butcher something of an engima. In the past I've - not altogether seriously but not completely in jest - derided him as a bit of an incompetent.

The sort of chap that the Scottish managerial merry-go-round should really jettison for the greater good of the game.

SPL Advent: Hearts

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Day five of our SPL Advent. Peace and goodwill to all me. It's a time for stout Hearts.

Somebody suggested that I could fill every day of this SPL Advent writing about Hearts.

And so I could.

The stories just keep coming.

On Thursday we got the news that the club had paid the players their November wages.

SPL Advent: Dundee United

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Is that a tangerine in your stocking or are you just pleased to see me? Through the great SPL Advent calendar window today: Dundee United.

Consistency, as Motherwell's progress this season has shown, can work wonders in the SPL.

But it eludes three quarters of the league.

easter road

SPL: Motherwell v Celtic

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Agog today for the SPL's biggest game since the last big game.

Motherwell v Celtic.

If you'd said in July that third placed Celtic would need a November win to move ahead of second placed Motherwell on goal difference we probably wouldn't have believed you.

But such seismic events often only need the collision of one or two factors.

SPL: 12 To Watch - Part Three

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The third and final part of a random collection of players I'll be keeping my eye on as this SPL season progresses. Today a player each from St Mirren and Dunfermline.

Nigel Hasselbaink, St Mirren"If football was played in the air," an old sage of Easter Road once told me, "then Paul Fenwick would be Pele.

SPL: 12 To Watch - Part Two

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Part two of a completely scattergun selection of a dozen players whose progress I'm keen to track in 2010/11 SPL. St Mirren and Dunfermline will follow tomorrow.

Sean O'Hanlon, HibernianThe returning Ivan Sproule and Garry O'Connor have left Sean O'Hanlon's arrival at Easter Road somewhat overshadowed.

The Rest

The world is watching. A huge weekend for…

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Bolton Wanderers What a horrible week for a football club. The scenes at White Hart Lane made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Fans, managers, players and officials united in concern, grief and fear. Four days later, and football has a miracle man, it appears. Fabrice Muamba was clinically dead for [.

SPL: Capital gains

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Moan out of the way first: I'm not sure Scottish football is playing to those strengths it still has by scheduling a cup final and an Edinburgh derby on the same day.

But that's just the way it is.

So we get on with it.

Before the blood pressure starts to rise in Auld Reekie, Saturday sees an abbreviated SPL schedule.