Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hey, look! Non-CL stuff!

Please, please, please don't blow it tonight

I'm sure you all know this, but it's a pretty big weekend in the SPL. So big, in fact, that it starts tonight with not just one, but two matches. The rest of the weekend's slate finishes on the actual weekend. Weekend.

First of all, let's talk about the scheduling oddity that in no way was planned. Basically, there are three derbies this round, two natural and one media created. Tonight, Hearts and Hibernian take part in an Edinburgh derby while Dundee United and Aberdeen contest the so-called New Firm derby. That leaves--which those of you playing your scorecard at home already know--the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic for Saturday.

Why oh why are there two matches on a Thursday night, you ask. Well, that's apparently down to the SPL not paying attention. Dundee United's main rival, Dundee FC, play in Scotland's First Division. Dundee FC's park is right across the street from United's. Dundee FC has had a home match scheduled for Saturday since the fixture list came out last summer. Even though United claim to have told the league about this conflict, no one seemed to note the clash until one day after the post-split schedule came out. That was the day the tie was rescheduled for the preceding Thursday, or tonight to you and me. The downside, for me at least, is that tonight's game--possibly the most important this season for Aberdeen--will not be televised (and therefore not streamed) since the Edinburgh tilt is the initially scheduled game for TV tonight.

So, yeah, it's a big game tonight for Aberdeen. They currently sit four points and three goals in differential behind tonight's opponent for the last Europa League spot from Scotland. A win tonight for the Dons could propel them into Europe. A draw or a loss and the hope is basically gone. United still have both Rangers and Celtic to play as well as a match against a Hearts club looking to hold onto third place. Aberdeen also have Rangers and Hearts left, but could--with a win tonight--leapfrog United with a further win over a playing-out-the-string Hibs side. It's a longshot, but it's there. Just wish I could watch it.

As for why Rangers and Celtic, the two clubs vying for the SPL title once again, play each other this early when a final day showdown could easily be scheduled--think Liverpool-Arsenal from Fever Pitch--well, it comes down to nervousness. Since the split has become part of the SPL schedule, the two clubs have routinely asked the league to refrain from making them play each other on the last day of the season. Oh, and the Glasgow police request the same, since a title-deciding, one-off match could incite some mayhem in the city.

Saturday's match will most likely decide the title. A win for Celtic would almost certainly wrap things up, as a four point lead with three games remaining should make them uncatchable. A draw or a Rangers win would keep the title race closer, but, honestly, whoever is in front after this weekend will probably win the title with only a few worrisome moments.

Anyway, at 3 PM EDT, Dundee United and Aberdeen kick off. I ask all of those who don't have a proverbial dog in the fight to help me out and say a little "Mon the Dons" to yourself during the game. Every little bit helps, yeah? Also, if you'd like, you can follow along here, assuming the page updates by then.

10 comments:

Keith said...

But in the end, isn't wherever Rangers finish the other Europa League spot?

ü75 said...

I see what you did there.

ü75 said...

25 minutes in. A single yellow card for reportable action. Aberdeen has the only shot on target.

ü75 said...

Fuck. And yes. Lee Miller scores to give Aberdeen a 1-0 lead in the 33rd.

ü75 said...

Well, that didn't last. 1-1, 38th. Dagnabbit.

ü75 said...

Halftime. 1-1. And now I go incommunicado until late tonight. Fingers crossed. Mon the Dons!

Matt said...

The Hearts Hibs game was crazy. Riordan got a penalty in the 78th minute, coolly put it away, ran over to the Hearts fans and did the whole kissing the badge thing. Hearts were not impressed and two fans made their way onto the pitch to discuss the matter with Chav Deek.

ü75 said...

Hopefully that shows up on a video site later. Something to look for.

EbullientFatalist said...

Don't know where else to post this, but Jon Stewart just made a 'soccer hooligans' joke. Hey Jon, friendship over.

ü75 said...

Well, crap. Maybe if Hearts keep dropping points...