In retrospect: The Scottish Premiership 2017-18 season

At the start of the season, the then Sport editor Seoras Lyall made his prediction of how things would finish in May. Needless to say, some were more accurate than others.


On Sunday 20 May, Livingston ended Partick Thistle’s five year stint in Scottish football’s top tier and also concluded the end of another remarkable season. Just two seasons ago, they had been in the Scottish League One, yet now the club that has produced several current international players are back in the big time. The season also saw Celtic become the first side ever to do the double treble – winning all three domestic trophies in a season –  although they were finally beaten domestically. At the start of the season, The Saint made their prediction of how things would finish in May. Needless to say, some were more accurate than others.


Predicted Finish: 2nd Final Position: 2nd Top Scorer in League: Adam Rooney (9) League Cup Finish: Quarter Final Scottish Cup Finish: Semi Final

At one point in the summer, things were looking not so dandy for the Dons. McInnes looked set to leave for Sunderland, while Rangers were looking ominous with big spending. However, McInnes stayed and has guided the club to a remarkable second place finish after tight challenges from Rangers and a resurgent Hibernian. The failure to win a trophy will be disheartening, especially the 3-0 loss to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup semi-final. Although, the Dons did finally beat Celtic in Glasgow on the final day. Young Scott McKenna has been a revelation, while seeing McGinn back was a real treat. Yet with Christie, Stewart, and Mclean all leaving, it will yet again be another transitional summer.


Predicted Finish: 1st Final Position: 1st Top Scorer in League: Scott Sinclair (10) League Cup Finish: Winners Scottish Cup Finish: Winners

While they were nowhere near as dominant as in his first season, Brendan Rodgers has created a team that will go down in history for its ability to win. The first man ever to do the double treble, Rodgers looks well set to guide the Bhoys to ten in a row. Yet once again, Europe brought disappointment, even if it was a challenging group. More investment will be needed akin to the money spent on Olivier Ntcham if Celtic are to finally get out of the group stages.


Predicted Finish: 10th Final Position: 9th Top Scorer in League: Sofien Moussa (7) League Cup Finish: Quarter Final Scottish Cup Finish: Fifth Round

As predicted, Dundee’s season was far from spectacular, instead the fireworks were saved for the touchline, where Neil McCann got in a spat with St Johnstone’s Tommy Wright. He will have to seriously re-work the squad over the summer in order to keep Dundee up next season. One position they must certainly fill is the goalkeeper, with Scott Bain having permanently joined Celtic after a rather public spat with McCann.

Hamilton Academical

Predicted Finish: 12th Final Position: 10th Top Scorer in League: Dougie Imrie, David Templeton (8) League Cup Finish: Second Round Scottish Cup Finish: Fourth Round

At the start of the year, it appeared that much of Hamilton’s fate rested on the shoulders of Ali Crawford. He in fact played little this season and only scored one goal, creating two others. Instead Hamilton’s thanks should be directed to long-serving player Dougie Imrie and David Templeton, who each chipped in with eight goals, enough to keep the Accies out of the play-off spots on goal difference.

Heart of Midlothian

Predicted Finish: 4th Final Position: 6th Top Scorer in League: Kyle Lafferty (12) League Cup Finish: Group Stage Scottish Cup Finish: Quarter Final

This was a rocky season for the Edinburgh club. Ian Cathro was sacked just four days before the start of the league season, after failing to get out of the League Cup group stages, and they even played some games at Murrayfield due to delays to construction at Tynecastle. The squad itself had a good blend of experience and young loanees, but Craig Levein struggled to match last season’s finish in a highly competitive top six. Being the first Scottish team to beat Brendan Rodgers in a 4-0 hammering was certainly their highlight.


Predicted Finish: 6th Final Position: 4th Top Scorer in League: Florian Kamberi (9) League Cup Finish: Semi Final Scottish Cup Finish: Fourth Round

A truly remarkable season for Neil Lennon and Hibernian. It was expected that they were going to be highly competitive after they annihilated the Championship, yet few would have imagined that they would have challenged for 2nd place for so long. If John McGinn stays and they can find a 15-goal a season striker, there is no reason why they can’t come second next year and challenge for a cup.

Livingston secured promotion back to the Premiership for the first time in 12 years with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Partick Thistle in the play-off final. Photo: MkBet247


Predicted Finish: 9th Final Position: 5th Top Scorer in League: Kris Boyd (18) League Cup Finish: Second Round Scottish Cup Finish: Quarter Final

Few would have predicted Kilmarnock would finish 5th in October. Under former player Lee McCulloch they did not win a league game, but Steve Clarke has completely transformed the club. A feel-good spirit has come to Rugby Park, with veteran Kris Boyd even being considered for the Scotland squad after top-scoring with 18 goals. They took 12 points off the Old Firm, including Youssouf Mulumbu scoring a famous winner vs Celtic.


Predicted Finish: 11th Final Position: 7th Top Scorer in League: Louis Moult (8) League Cup Finish: Finalist Scottish Cup Finish: Finalist

Motherwell fans would have been fearing the worst when Louis Moult left in January. Yet under Steve Robinson they have done remarkably well for a squad that cost only £10,000. They reached two cup finals, beating both Aberdeen and Rangers at Hampden and comfortably survived. With Robinson at the helm, Motherwell will aim to use this summer to launch an assault on the top six.

Partick Thistle

Predicted Finish: 8th Final Position: 11th (relegated) Top Scorer in League: Conor Sammon (7) League Cup Finish: Quarter Final Scottish Cup Finish: Fifth Round

Few would have thought that effectively the same squad that came 6th in 2017 would lose to Livingston in a playoff a season later. Clearly the season before Alan Archibald overachieved. Liam Lindsay was also a big miss at the back, yet Thistle were ultimately the lowest scoring team in the division. In a league featuring Ross County, Falkirk, Dundee United, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and an improving Dunfermline, Thistle will face a hard time getting into the playoffs, let alone bouncing back straight away next season.


Predicted Finish: 3rd Final Position: 3rd Top Scorer in League: Alfredo Morelos (14) League Cup Finish: Semi Final Scottish Cup Finish: Semi Final

Ultimately this season will be a huge disappointment for Rangers. Pedro Caixinha’s vast scouting network was hit-and-miss: Alfredo Morelos top-scored in the league while Carlos Pena was accused of wiping his nose on a pair of Rangers shorts. Despite spending over £9 million, they failed to get that elusive second spot, did not beat Celtic once, did not reach a cup final, and were humiliated by lowly Luxembourgian side Progres Niederkorn. Steven Gerrard may well be inexperienced, but hopes will certainly be high.

Ross County

Predicted Finish: 7th Final Position: 12th (relegated) Top Scorer in League: Alex Schalk (11) League Cup Finish: Second Round Scottish Cup Finish: Fourth Round

In the season preview, the prediction for Ross County was said to hinge on how well Billy McKay could replace talisman Liam Boyce. His replacement scored three goals in the league, yet as a team they scored one more goal overall than 6th placed Hearts. In the end the team did just not have the quality and next season there will be no team from the Highlands. They weren’t helped by being managed by Owen Coyle, who could not run a bath it would seem. With top scorer Alex Schalk leaving this summer, Ross County will have a tough time bouncing back.

St Johnstone

Predicted Finish: 5th Final Position: 8th Top Scorer in League: Steven Maclean (9) League Cup Finish: Second Round Scottish Cup Finish: Fifth Round

St Johnstone’s inability to replace Danny Swanson proved fatal to their top six aspirations. They were once again reliant on the goals of Steven Maclean, who will join Hearts next season. Considering his side have finished 4th in the last three season, Tommy Wright will have some rebuilding to do in order to compete with the Edinburgh clubs for the final European spots.


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