I wrote one of these generic posts recommending a couple of clubs to go in Scotland ahead of FM17, and here I am! Back again for another one with my recommendations for FM18. But, if you’ve read my intro post to my FM18 content for the year, you’ll know this post will be with a little twist. I’ve restructured the Scottish league structure for my own planned save, and would encourage you to download my edited database too if you fancy going any of the clubs I’m going to suggest today. If you do download, please do bear in mind it is an edited database and could be prone to little things being wrong here and there. Let me know if you spot anything and I’ll try and fix them for future.
First off, another little introduction to the database.
It includes 16 tiers of Scottish football, from the return of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) right down to Scottish Division Fifteen (S15). Each league contains 18 teams, and they’ll play each other twice over the course of the season. It’s similar to Germany in it’s structure, and with another nod to Germany, there’s only one cup competition, the Scottish Cup. A new competition has been created too, a season starter, the Scottish Supercup. If you win the SPL or the Scottish Cup, you’ll face off in this match ahead of the league season.
As soon as you start going lower than the third tier in the database, you won’t find too many real players to get attached to (adding players to all playable clubs is a must while setting up your save!). Picking clubs down there in the depths will be all about the stories you’ll be able to create or replicate. Let’s get into me taking you through a few of my picks from across the tiers.
Starting right at the bottom in Scottish Division Fifteen, the sixteenth tier, we have Third Lanark. Not officially in the database of the game, I’ve resurrected them for the purpose of the database. If you’re looking for a club filled with history and nostalgia, you’ve found it.
The Hi-Hi were founded in 1872 and were one of the founding members of the Scottish Football Association when it was formed in the same year. They’ve been top tier champions once, in 1903/04, and have won the Scottish Cup twice, in 1888/89 and 1904/05. Crowds at Cathkin Park began to decline during the 1960’s however, and after a period of boardroom mismanagement, the club ceased to exist in 1967.
The club has always had an air of romance around it. Media reports often surface every now and again of grand plans that aim to get the club playing senior football again, after they resurfaced as an amateur team in the mid-90’s. Under the current real life structure of Scottish football, it’s best hope would be to apply for entry into one of two leagues sitting underneath the Lowland League. Under my structure of Scottish football, you start right at the bottom of the pile. Can you work your way through sixteen tiers to get Third Lanark to the top of Scottish football again?
Similar to this? Renton are also sitting in the bottom tier waiting for you to take them over. They’re two-time Scottish Cup winners, in 1885 and 1888.
Who wouldn’t want to manage my hometown club?! They were second in my list of potential teams to manage this year, but in truth, I was always going to pick Stirling for their perceived higher potential.
The Rosey Posey are one of Scottish Junior football’s most successful sides in recent times. They’ve reached five of the last twenty Scottish Junior Cup finals. Wait, junior football? What’s that? The players are all young? No. If you were to compare it to English football, the closest thing would be non-league, except the Scottish Junior leagues are in no way connected to the current pyramid of Scottish senior football. I mentioned this in my introductory post too, but junior sides in Scotland are often very well supported, some especially so in comparison to some of the lower tier senior teams. The Rose are one of those clubs, and play at the 3,500 capacity, Prestonfield.
The Rose start in Division Seven of my pyramid, meaning you don’t face as daunting a task as you would if you picked my first recommendation, Third Lanark. Because of the aforementioned fact of them being well supported, their reputation in-game is much higher than that of other clubs currently higher up the pyramid. The pressure will be to climb the leagues, can you manage my hometown club to glory?
Similar to this? Auchinleck Talbot are in the West Region of the Junior leagues are similarly to the Rose, they’re a very successful club. They’re the record holders for most Scottish Junior Cup wins, eleven.
St Andrews United
It might be the Home of Golf, but can you make St Andrews famous for football too? Starting down in Division Nine, there’s a long way to go.
The football club in the town doesn’t have too much history behind it, aside from one Scottish Junior Cup win to it’s name, so it’s all about the story you can create for yourself if you pick them. Could the club benefit from being situated in the same town as the third oldest English speaking university in the world, and one that ranks just behind Oxbridge in the best university stakes? Dundee United use the training facilities at the University of St Andrews, maybe the club could too?
Similar to this? Why not try one of the actual university teams across the leagues? Stirling Uni play in the third tier, Edinburgh Uni in the fourth, Heriot Watt in the fifth, Aberdeen Uni in the eleventh or Dundee and Glasgow Uni’s in the sixteenth.
If intriguing projects are up your street, then you’ve got to educate yourself about Edusport Academy. I mentioned them on the Scottish Deep Lying Podcast league preview, but essentially the club are set up to provide French footballers the opportunity to develop their football skills and improve their ability to speak English. Chris Ewing’s project is an ambitious one, but one that’s currently doing very well in real life. The club won the South of Scotland league last season, and are playing in the Lowland League this season. Just a league win and a playoff win from League 2.
In my pyramid, they’re in Division Four. Adding players to playable teams won’t give them a full French team initially, but it could certainly be something to try out in-game. Edusport are currently set to play in Hamilton in the initial FM18 database, while in the real world, they’re ground sharing with Annan. Getting their own stadium has to be on the desired list if you take them over.
Similar to this? It’s a tricky one, there probably isn’t anything similar to this! It’s such a unique thing in Scottish football.
Talking of the Lowland League, one team that looks set to break out of the Lowland League at some point soon is East Kilbride. The reigning champions narrowly lost out on promotion to the senior leagues in last year’s playoff against Cowdenbeath, on penalties. Ouch.
My reasons for picking Stirling as my main save this year are very similar to why I’d pick East Kilbride in future too, it’s potential. The town has a population of around 76,000, the biggest in Scotland without a senior football club. If you could take the club to the top, improving things on the pitch would improve things off it. People in East Kilbride would stop supporting Rangers or Celtic and start flocking to K Park, or New K Park hopefully, after you’ve moved out of the current 400 capacity stadium the club calls home.
They start in Division Two, so that’s only two promotions until you’ve reached the top tier, and can start pushing on to ensure the club reaches it’s full potential.
Similar to this? Highland League clubs are punching above their weight in this season’s Scottish Cup. One of Formartine or Cove will be in this season’s fifth round, while Fraserburgh have been rewarded with a home tie against Rangers. Brora came close to promotion a few seasons back, going undefeated across the 34 game Highland League 2014/15 season.
If you download the database and pick a team, let me know who it is and how you get on!