The 2013/2014 season in Scotland was not only the first season of the re-named SPFL but it also employed a play-off system, in which 3rd and 4th place in the second-tier Championship play each other over two legs. This year was Falkirk and Queen Of The South, and whoever won would progress on to play the team that finished 2nd. Falkirk beat Queens of the South and then lost out to Hamilton, Championship runners up. As Hamilton took the victory, they would then play the team that finished 11th in the Scottish Premiership to determine who would go up or down. Hamilton then managed to overcome Hibs in order to grant themselves promotion to Scotland’s top league.
As a result of this, Hibernian were relegated alongside arch rivals Hearts. And coming up from the third-tier League One was Rangers. For anyone who knows anything about Scottish football, this is simply mouthwatering. If you look over the last 10 years, these 3 have been some the most successful teams in the country, bar Celtic. Not only do they bring a well-known status to Scotland’s second tier of football but they also enter with massive fan bases that will benefit everyone involved in respect to revenue.
Rangers come into the league as heavy favorites to win it. However I can’t see it being too plain sailing for the Blues, and there are many who will agree with me. I see Hearts being a big threat especially after seeing their young boys put in such great performances at the end of the season. They showed they do have the ability to play at a high level and can compete with some solid teams. Hearts have released a few players since being relegated but the bulk of the squad still remains, so I reckon they will be hoping for a good title race.
Of course Hibs will be one of the stronger sides despite losing a number of players. Hibs manager Terry Butcher is an experienced gaffer and will most likely make some smart decisions to ensure that both halves of Edinburgh are present in the title race. The Edinburgh derby is a massive spectacle in Scottish football so the Championship is bound to have some fiery games as well as some very technically skilled games between the three top sides.
But are they actually the three top sides?
All the focus has been and will be on Rangers, Hearts and Hibs but I think one team is being shamefully overlooked. That team is Falkirk. The Bairns have some very talented individuals such as Craig Sibbald, Blair Alston and, this past season’s Championship top goalscorer, Rory Loy. This is also a Falkirk side that finished just three points behind first place side Dundee and have a terrific team chemistry that will be a big bonus in the long run. I would put Falkirk as real dark horses to win the league.
All in all, the 2014/2015 season will be a special one for the Scottish Championship. Sparks will fly, shocks will happen and people will gasp as we watch last ditch tackles make all the difference. There are four spots that could potentially be the pathway to promotion: the league winner automatic and the three playoff spots. In my opinion, there are four very strong teams who could fill those spots but anybody could throw a spanner in the works. This is one you simply cannot miss.