Old Firm Undermine CIS Final And National Team

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Craig continues our Scottish Premiership coverage, pondering the Old Firm’s impact on Scottish football (deliberately or otherwise)

The CIS Cup Final line-up has been completed, with Kilmarnock facing Hibernian in the Hampden showpiece in March. Killie booked their place in the final last Tuesday night, beating Falkirk 3-0 thanks to a Steven Naismith masterclass. The young forward scored a hat-trick and ran the show from start to finish – leaving Killie fans glad that the transfer window shut the following night. Then on Wednesday Hibs scraped through with a 3-1 extra-time win over 1st Division St Johnstone.

However the SPL in their infinite wisdom have chosen to overshadow the final by shifting the SPL match between Falkirk and Celtic to the date of the final – reducing the likely TV revenues and media coverage of the final.

Scotland decided not to play a friendly this week – instead deciding on a squad training camp in Ayrshire. Rather worryingly, there were as many goalkeepers as there were strikers in this squad (4 of each) and what seemed like 324 defenders were named – which suggests McLeish may still adopt Smith’s defensive approach. There were still the obligatory Old Firm squad withdrawals with injuries such as a broken nail and chaffed lips. I kid, of course, but Everton’s James McFadden travelled from England to be there despite being injured, whereas these Old Firm players couldn’t even make a 15 minute journey down the road to be with their team-mates.

The Scottish Cup 4th round took place on Saturday, and there were a few shocks. The SPL’s bottom club, Dunfermline – who put Rangers out in round 3 – beat Hearts 1-0 after the Edinburgh club once more left out keeper Craig Gordon. And Falkirk suffered their second cup elimination in a week – losing 3-0 at home to 1st division St Johnstone. This means only Celtic and Hibs remain of the top 6 SPL clubs. Three 1st division clubs still remain at the quarter-final stage, St Johnstone, Queen of the South and Partick Thistle.