The battle for the top six

By Paul Fisher

From the first day of the season, whether we like it or not, the top two places of in SPL are already decided. Celtic and Rangers are going to battle it out for first and second spot. But who is going to take the other four spots in the top six?

All the teams in the top ten can still finish in the coveted top half and this makes for an interesting last few games. Celtic, Rangers and Hearts have cemented their place in the top six and Kilmarnock need just one more victory to confirm their first top six spot since 06/07. Without doubt, the Kilmarnock support would have bitten your hand off for such a place had they been offered it at the season’s kick off.

Kilmarnock’s revival under the big Finn, Mixu, has been almost miraculous. After avoiding the dropon the last day of the season their new gaffer has them flying high.

As for Hearts, finishing last season with only 48 points and scraping into 6th position they now occupy 3rd place with a 13 point cushion and have been a thorn in the side of the Old Firm all season long. Their fantastic home form has been instrumental to this and the return of Jim Jefferies has the players well motivated.

So who will finish in the top six this year? Dundee United are looking good for a spot with games in hand over all teams in the league, sitting in 5th position. Although, the Tayside club may suffer from fixture backlog thanks to a series of postponed games. It’s never fair to write the Arabs off, they’re a well settled side and Peter Hostoun will no doubt believe they deserve top six football.

The 6th place spot will be very tightly contested with Motherwell, Inverness, St Johnstone, Hibernian and Aberdeen all in with a chance.

Where will each team finish?

Logic tells you that it will be either Motherwell or Inverness, who sit 6th and 7th respectively but this doesn’t really take Hibernian’s recent form into consideration, having won five of their last six games the Hibees they still have a chance to battle into the top half after their poor start to the campaign.

St Johnstone and Aberdeen are both still in with a shout of top six football as well but need to pick up points in their next few games. St Johnstone are drawing too many games that they should maybe be winning and will need to get this sorted if they have any hope of top six and the cash bounty that accompanies it. Aberdeen will no doubt see top six as a bonus after a horrendous start to their season has been turned around by the old hand Craig Brown who replaced Mark McGhee.

It could be that a team finishing in the bottom half of the table will finish more points than a team in the top six as we have seen in the past. Such is the system in the SPL that even if this is the case, 7th is as high as a team can climb post split.

It is my opinion that the Hibs revival could continue and push them up to the top six, with Motherwell and Inverness giving way. As for the bottom six, Hamilton and St Mirren are almost resigned to the bottom two places with the others being anybody’s guess.

With about a third of the seasons games left there are many crucial run ins for every side, in predictable style an old Firm team will once again lift the title, the battle for Europe continues and the winners won’t be known for sure until after the Scottish Cup final.


2 Responses to The battle for the top six

  1. derek lawler says:

    hibs have to go to Celtic and have Hearts at home before the split. So i think a top six is a busted flush for them. Utd and Well to make it for me.

  2. Ryan Keaney says:

    I’d love to see the Hibees get into the top six but with the fixtures coming up, it seems too much to look for. Safety will do this season despite the promise of last term. Hopefully Calderwood can continue building in the sumer and really put his mark on the side.

    As for the top six, I think it’ll be the same as it is now. Dundee have got a few games in hand and they only need a couple of results to stay where they are. Sure, fixture congestion will be a problem but I reckon that will only catch up on them after the split has already happened.

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