Commentator Rob Maclean provides his take on another weekend of Scottish football action.
Dominant Dorrans should be in Scotland frame
With the Scotland set-up in a period of transition, Rangers playmaker Graham Dorrans is making a strong push for an international recall.
I watched the 30-year-old midfielder turn in an eye-catching performance in his team’s 3-0 defeat of St Johnstone in Perth on Friday night.
Not just because he cracked a 25-yarder against the crossbar, then supplied the finishing touch for Rangers’ third goal of the game. No, it was Dorrans’ all-round command of the midfield which couldn’t fail to grab your attention.
He played nearly seven seasons of top-flight football in England for West Brom and still has plenty to offer. Dorrans should surely be in the frame for a return to the Scotland squad for next month’s friendly against the Netherlands.
Big name bosses boost Premiership
The Scottish Premiership’s newest managers, Stevie Clarke and Owen Coyle, will give a badly-needed lift to the profile of our game.
Clarke has already given a boost to Kilmarnock, just by sitting in the stand at Firhill on Saturday only a few hours after being named as gaffer. They beat Partick Thistle 2-0 for their first league win of the season.
Stevie made his managerial name as assistant at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool alongside Ruud Gullit, Jose Mourinho, Gianfranco Zola and Kenny Dalglish. He was in sole charge at West Brom and Reading.
Well done Killie in persuading Clarke to return to his native Ayrshire, just a couple of weeks after Ross County’s eyebrow-raising capture of Coyle.
It’s great to see Scottish football showing big ambition.
Dons catch a break ahead of Celtic test
Aberdeen are already preparing for their biggest test of the season so far and they’ve plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
While Celtic have their Champions League mission to Munich and a League Cup semi-final to negotiate before they head for Pittodrie, the Dons have 10 days of uncluttered preparation.
They’re on a nine-game unbeaten run in the Premiership, beat on-form Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday and there still looks to be a good bit more to come from Derek McInnes and his team.
They’ll need to step up a level against a Celtic side which won six games out of six against Aberdeen last season, but at least they have a clear run at their toughest challenge to date.
Championship continues to catch the eye
The Scottish Championship continues to be compelling viewing and your guess is as good as mine on who’ll win the title and automatic promotion.
There’s been a big box office quality about Scotland’s second tier for the last few seasons as Hearts, Rangers and then Hibs battled back to the top level.
The Championship might be less glamorous this time around but it’s certainly competitive. Four points separate the top four teams – St Mirren, Livingston, Dunfermline and Dundee United.
Another four – Morton, Queen of the South, Falkirk and Inverness – will have their sights set on the end-of-season play-offs.
There’s an almighty scramble for places in prospect.