Scottish Premiership: Why you should embrace the bedlam of Scotland's top flight

By Nick McPheatBBC Scotland
Connor Goldson celebrates with Rangers fans

After the distant memory of Scotland's Euro 2020 exploits, full focus turns to domestic action as the weird and wonderful Scottish Premiership returns this weekend.

Those weaned on the madness will be giddy at the thought, while whispers of "tinpot" and "farmers" can be heard elsewhere.

Yes, we know your nan could score 20 goals a season in the Premiership, but just let us explain why it might be worth your while embracing the bedlam of Scotland's top flight.

The return of fans

From Aberdeen fans antagonising former Motherwell manager Mark McGhee into an infamous rant, to one Rangers fan's iconic "same old Alloa, always cheating" chant - boy, we have missed fans in Scotland.

While clubs in England were able to welcome back a substantial number of supporters for the tail-end of last season, their Scottish equivalents were not afforded the same luxury.

A handful of games at Ross County and Aberdeen had a small crowd, but aside from that it was all about fulminating at buffering club website streams.

With coronavirus restrictions set to be lifted on 9 August, it will finally be time to swap cardboard cut-outs of yer da and yer dug for real human beings.

Clubs such as Hibernian will no longer have to worry about author Irvine Welsh talking about shipping a certain player's severed body parts across the world, and Hamilton Academical can forget about needing to sack another commentator for mentioning their half-time "jobbie" on air.

Two plastic pitches down…

Maybe it is harsh but the rash of artificial surfaces in the Scottish top tier have come under regular criticism both for their appearance and their effect on matches.

A quarter of Premiership pitches last season were Astroturf, but the relegations of Hamilton and Kilmarnock means Livingston's Tony Macaroni Arena - aka 'The Spaghettihad' - is the last remaining plastic pitch.

If you are firmly in the grass-only camp - and petty enough - you will be hoping for a dismal season for the West Lothian side this campaign and praying only teams with grass are promoted from the second tier.

Good luck with that...

Livingston's pitch

Edinburgh & Dundee derbies are back

We all know where the biggest derby in Scottish football is based, but which is the best is always up for discussion.

Thankfully, we get to further increase the sample size of that debate this season, as promotion for both Dundee and Hearts means the Premiership has the Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow derbies in the same division for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

With fans set to return, these occasions will only be enhanced as a result. If you don't have goosebumps thinking about it, something is wrong.

VAR check… Decision: Still nowhere to be seen

Let's be serious, if Scottish football had the money to facilitate VAR, it would likely be here. But would you trust it to work?

Aside from the fact VAR has caused consternation in England, something tells us Scottish football and modern technology wouldn't be friends.

Why? Well, last season, Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle deployed a robot camera to stream a game against Ayr United, only for the camera to mistake the bald head of a linesman for the ball.

That is all the proof you need.

Question marks at every club

The start of a new season always brings uncertainty, but this one is more intriguing than usual.

Getting used to seeing Scott Brown in an Aberdeen top has overshadowed the question of how his signing will benefit Stephen Glass' side. And it will be just as fascinating to see how Glass fare in his first full season.

Brown's former club Celtic have had a tumultuous summer. While we all thought we would be talking about Eddie Howe, it is Ange Postecoglou who will guide the side into the new season. How will the former Australia boss do? It can't be any worse than least season, surely?

Meanwhile, Dundee United have a new man in the dugout in the form of former youth coach Tam Courts. Will the 39-year-old be a success?

How will Rangers' pursuit of retaining the title pan out? When will Hearts reappoint Craig Levein? Will St Johnstone win the treble? Will Shaun Rooney win the Ballon d'Or? Who will win the 'Statement League'?

So many questions that no one knows the answers to, with guarantees of finding them out in the most chaotic manner possible. You would be a fool to miss it.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC

Around Scottish sport