Monday, October 12, 2015

Scottish Football : The Small-Big-League

assalammualaikum and hello everyone, now I'm back again for posting so of my creative writing since now I am enjoying my semester break. haha so this is some of the factual writing and I guess the longest post that I have ever write. so enjoy!

Talking about Scottish Football in Malaysia, majority of us only know about Celtic, Rangers and some of it only know about Heart of Midlothian (Hearts). Yeah, this is because The Old Firm clubs have dominated the Scottish football for many years and they also have a fans across the globe. But then, how football in Scotland be play? This entry will tell you why.

1.0 Why is it called as The Small-Big-League ?

This is just a thought from me, because in Scotland they have 42 teams that playing in Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and they have 4 divisions in total. Why I'm saying like that? This is because in England, 42 teams only just from Premiership to Championship but here in Scotland 42 teams is from the Premiership until League 2. SPFL is a combination of Scottish Premier League (SPL) and Scottish Football League (SFL) that merge during 2013. Unlike England, SPFL covers all divisions in top tier of Scottish Football from Premiership until League 2, but in England the Premier League is handle by Premier League and Championship to League 2 is handle by Football League. Scottish Premiership consists 12 teams while for Championship until League they have only 10 teams.

2.0 How SPFL works?

The regular season in Scotland is from August until May the following year. sounds like the normal league in Europe right? But how can 10 to 12 teams manage to play in such a long time like that? did they have a long gap between matches? the answer is no. For the Championship until League 2, 10 teams will playing each other 10 times (9 games x 4 = 36 games). As for Premiership, the top flight using a 3+1 mechanism. That's mean all 12 teams must play each other 3 times (11 games x 3 = 33 games) as to make 38, they need to play another five matches using split system by split 12 teams into 2 group. For top 6 it will called as a Championship group while bottom 6 is called as a Relegation Group. Teams in each group will play each other based on who is their opponent in the same group. (33 games + 5 games in split group = 38 games)

3.0 Promotion , Relegation and Promotion Play-Off

As for this matter, no promotion for the champions of Premiership as it has been the top flight in Scottish football. For champions of each divisions from Championship until League 2 they will gain a direct promotion to higher division. For relegation, the last team in all divisions will play in lower division next season while the last team in League 2 will play in either Highland League or Lowland League based on their location in Scotland map. For promotion play-off, 2nd until 4th team in lower division will play with 11th place team in higher division.

* Premiership Split System and Promotion Play-Off have their own problems that always be debated by football fans in Scotland. It will be explain on next entry.

4.0 European Qualifications

For European qualifications, UEFA have given 4 places to Scotland clubs to play in UCL and UEL. But due to lack of point in UEFA Coefficients Point System, all places given by UEFA are only a qualification spot not automatic. Champions of Premiership will get a ticket to UCL qualification round. For 2nd and 3rd place team, they will get a ticket to UEL qualification round 1 as the one place left is for the Scottish Cup champions. The winner of Scottish Cup will get a qualification spot for UEL (round 2) . In 2014/15 season, Inverness Caledonian Thistle have the Scottish Cup and finished their league campaign on 3rd place, because they have 2 tickets to UEL qualification, 1 spot has been given to St. Johnstone who finished 4th in a league last season.

5.0 Other competitions during league season
Just other countries, Scotland also have the cup competition during league season. 3 cups will be contested by all teams, The Scottish League Cup, Scottish Cup and Petrofac Training Cup. For League Cup, only teams from SPFL will play in this tournament. They will play in knockout match every round and if the score is tied then extra time and shoot-out will be used. No replay for League Cup. For Scottish Cup, all teams from SPFL and Highland League and Lowland League will playing in this tournament. This time, it has a replay if score is tied and if the score still tied after replay then extra time and shoot-out will be applied if needed. For Petrofac Training Cup, only teams from Championship until League 2 will participate and it use same rules as League Cup.
6.0 Unique in Scottish Football
Unlike other countries, Scottish football did not have the opener of the season just like Supercopa De Espana in Spain and Community Shield in England. In Scotland they have a Flag Day. Flag Day is a day when the champions off all divisions will raise the flag indicating them as the league champions of last season. It will take place during first game of the season. The other thing is, the match ball used by the Premiership teams. The ball sponsor Mitre has done a great job by making a match ball with different stripes using a colour of every Premiership teams (Match ball sponsor in MSL should do this). For example, for Partick Thistle it will have yellow and red stripes on it as for Dundee United, it will have orange colour and black. You can the pics below : 
6.1 Flag Day
Credit : Google Images

6.2 Premiership teams match ball

7.0 : Conclusion

Scottish football might not as competitive as La Liga or Premier League but then it's still football and still fun to watch. Scottish football provides you with other excitement about football from the old fashioned stadiums to its atmosphere itself. It also gives the other choice for anybody about how football be play in other of the world. It is sure that so much thing I want to tell about Scottish football but I put it on hold for a while. Next entry we will talk about the Split System and Promotion Play-Off. Thank for reading.

See ya!

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