Title-challenge is great, but the media are over exaggerating it

By David Walton

October 6, 2018

So the Scottish Premiership competition has grown arms and legs this season according to the Scottish media.

Certainly plenty of people have had their say on how competitive it is this season. Hearts top the table and are six points clear of Celtic and eight clear of Rangers. They’re absolutely flying and deserve all of the credit they receive.

Yet, asking whether the likes of Kilmarnock, Livingston, or Hibernian will stay up the top and be fighting for the title? Spare me.

Granted, Hibernian could very well be aiming for second place, but any chance of them threatening Celtic are off the mark. Hibs have consistently shown, even under Neil Lennon, that they have plenty of bad days in them. Lennon has solidified them and done a great job at Easter Road, but they’re nowhere near title-challengers.

Stuart Findlay scored for Kilmarnock as they beat Celtic 2-1 (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Hearts are probably likely to eventually fester away, but deserve huge credit for their start. They’re the side everyone should be applauding this season. If Celtic don’t click into gear, the Jambos could very well punish them. When it comes to Craig Levein’s men, nobody can argue with their praise.

Livingston are doing tremendously well, but let’s not pretend this is anything other than a good spell. Eventually, Livi should find their way into the bottom half, which would still be a sensational achievement for them.

Real contenders?

Kilmarnock are being heralded as the next best thing since sliced bread. You can’t not praise Steve Clarke for the work he’s carried out in Ayrshire. He’s unbeaten in four against Celtic and certainly has the number of Brendan Rodgers. But their hammering off Rangers and lack of consistency means they have no chance of staying in any title fight.

Rangers are two points behind the Hoops, despite the fact Celtic have had their worst start in over 20 years. Once Celtic click into gear, you have to fancy them to race away from them. The Livingston defeat showed the vulnerabilities still flowing through this Rangers side. They aren’t as convincing as they perhaps initially seemed.

We spoke last week of how dangerous Rangers could potentially be. Livingston on Sunday told us a lot more about them.

Dolly Menga’s winner for Livingston against Rangers was a telling moment (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The media are right to give teams credit for a stunning start to the season. All of the ones mentioned are in the top six and playing some great football. But the pretentiousness of talking about a huge title battle between them all is just ridiculous.

If Hearts can come through to the New Year still top, then we have a real battle on our hands with them. Too often have we all seen sides falter when the pressure is on and the games come thick and fast.

Aberdeen won their first eight games of the 2015/16 season. Surprise surprise, they finished second in the table and 15 points behind Celtic. In the end, they were no danger.

Hearts may very well make more of a fight than that. The chances of it? Quite possible, and as said before, everyone is right to be bigging them up.

Credit to the top six, they’re all bringing entertainment and variety to the competition. The media, however, should tone down on just how dangerous some of these sides will be come the end of the season