It’s happened again. I’m enjoying this save so much and have actually had quite a bit of time to play it that I’ve fired through an entire season without stopping half way for an update. I did, however, take some screenshots in-game at the halfway point, so we’ll split the post in two.
1st half of the season
So at the half way point of the season, how were our results looking?
At first glance, very promising. I always remember the losses more than our wins, and the 2-0 defeats away to Ayr and Falkirk hurt and put a damper on the first half of the season. If we’re to sneak into the playoffs we need to beat those kinds of teams, so I was delighted to see us beat both teams in our next matches against them. As the season developed, it was clear it’d be a 4 horse race to gain promotion. Motherwell were a difficult outfit for us to get results against, as you’d expect from a team coming down from the top tier. They also used their reputation as Scottish Cup holders to secure everyone’s favourite university graduate, Duncan Watmore, on a free transfer, it’s clear from his early performances that he’s far too good for this division. Our 4-3 home win against them was a thriller and we deserved to score the 88th minute winner. You’ve seen the results, but how did the league table look as we moved into January?
There was 15 green dots on the results screen, and those wins have taken us to the top of the league at the half way mark. A 7 point lead gives us something to defend and play for for the remainder of the season. Do we need to change our expectations? I think so. I want promotion now.
I didn’t want to make too many changes at all during the January transfer window. A few players came in though to give the squad a boost in our bid for promotion.
Benedetti arrived on a free transfer. The Italian is a left back and will provide a bit more experience and a slight upgrade in a position where our previous option was young Mark Russell. He’s a solid, if unremarkable option for this level.
I felt the midfield needed slightly refreshing, so Charlie Telfer came in on a loan deal from Dundee United until the end of the season. He’s a talented midfielder, capable of playing in the middle or out wide. I’m surprised that he’s available for a loan deal actually.
You might have noticed that I haven’t given any updates at all from both seasons so far in regards to cups. Well that’s because we haven’t done anything whatsoever out of the ordinary in them so far. I don’t count it in my priorities at the moment. It’s all about the league.
2nd half of the season
We’re sitting top and leading the way. Could we close it? Would we bottle it?
2017 didn’t start well with that 3-2 defeat at Easter Road, which is usually a happy hunting ground for us. Some really brilliant, high scoring results across the 2nd half of the season, hitting 4 in consecutive games after that loss against Hibs, albeit against the newly promoted sides, Ayr and Forfar. Motherwell equalised late on in the 1-1 draw, and the 0-0 v Forfar was so frustrating to watch. I thought it would almost end up costing us. I say that because…
We only went and bloody won the league!
What an achievement. We’ll be playing in the Scottish Premiership next season! It was never really in doubt as the season went on. As you can see from our position graph below.
The big challenge starts now and we’ll be rubbing shoulders with Celtic, and re-acquainting ourselves with Rangers, who actually won the league on their return to the top tier.
Who performed as we marched our way to the title?
So the fans again picked Tidser as their player of the season. I’d probably agree with them this time, 7 goals and 10 assists is a step up from the previous season. Winning the league player of the season is definitely a fair reflection of his form over the year.
Michael Miller had a brilliant season at right back, marauding up and down the flank. He laid on 15 assists in the league and ended the season with an average rating of 7.56. At just 22, I see him making the right back slot his own for years to come, but we’ll do well to keep him as his performances are earning him rave reviews, and with those reviews comes interested parties.
Quite often at this level, it comes down to whether you’ve got a striker that can put the ball in the net. Malonga was our top scorer last season with 18 league goals, laying on 9 assists too. Can he handle the step up to the Premiership though?
I said in pre-season that I was looking for Aird to be one of the stars of the season, and he undoubtedly was. 17 goals and 8 assists from the wide positions, either on the left or right. He more than played his part in our title win and just confirms that bringing in players on loan can also be the difference at this level.
As you can probably guess, I’ve already played up to a point where we’ve started our Premiership campaign so a pre-season post won’t be far behind this one. One big bit of news to share before then however is that our beloved chairman has retired.
A new board has taken over, the clubs debt has been wiped out and spoiler alert, I’ve kept my job and well deservedly so. We go into the top tier in great shape as a club, but that wasn’t always the case over the course of the season and Rae had to visit the cash machine on more than one occasion to inject some funds in. The boost we’ll get from increased attendances and a few more season ticket sales next season will really benefit the club in the long term, and the plan, as it always is in the first season after a promotion, is to fight bravely against relegation and stay in the league. Can we do it? Keep an eye out to find out!