Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kilmarnock’s 1-0 win over Rugby Park on Sunday was great.

One of the bigot brothers had just got beat and it closed the gap at the top between Rangers, Celtic and Motherwell, to at least add some pretend excitement that we have a two/three horse title race on our hands in Scotland.

At least we don’t have one team walking away it, like it looked like just a few weeks ago.

It should all have been joyous news. Except it isn’t.

Kilmarnock’s win, or rather how the Killie fans and players reacted to it, just highlighted one of the many things wrong with Scottish football.

Watching the game on TV, and then listening to Sunday’s Radio Scotland podcast of the day’s news, the post game reaction was astounding.

Sure it’s always nice to beat one of the Old Firm, and yes, it was Kilmarnock’s first home win over Rangers for an incredible 17 years (and 33 games), but seeing and listening to the jubilation at the final whistle, you would have thought that it was a Cup tie or that Killie had just won the League with the result.

These results should not be unexpected. They should not be treated like a Cup giantkilling shock. Where is your aspiration? What exactly are your goals as a football club? To merely survive in the League and hope for some kind of Cup run every season?

Kilmarnock are Rangers’ peers. At the start of every season, they line up on equal footing with their Glasgow counterparts. Level on points, but clearly with much different aspirations.

Obviously I understand that the likes of Kilmarnock cannot compete financially with the Old Firm and, as such, they can’t compete competitively with them on the pitch over the course of a whole season. And that’s what’s sad about the Scottish game.

Ultimately, what is the actual point of these SPL also-rans’ existence?

One of our top flight teams in this country should not be so excited about beating a team that they have played for three and four times a season for years now.

If this is the pinnacle of your hopes and aspirations, then just give up now.

As an East Fife fan, and supporter of lower league football, I often get people telling me that they just don’t understand how I can watch a club like that. What enjoyment do I get not seeing the “big name” players and experiencing the “big match” atmosphere? What is the point of my team’s existence?

If my alternative was watching a team that every season think to themselves “wouldn’t it be great if we finished third this year” or “wouldn’t it be great if we managed to finish second bottom and avoid relegation”, I don’t think I could get much motivation for going to the games.

Clearly I’m not alone. No wonder crowds are so poor.

Did you see all those empty seats at Rugby Park? Was it the cost? Was it the early Sunday kick-off time? Was it the fact that the game was on TV?

For some fans, these will have been the reasons, but the over-riding reason for many will have been the fact that they didn’t see the point of turning up as they expected Kilmarnock to lose – again.

At least with East Fife and most other SFL clubs we have real hopes, battles and meaningful games every season.

Very few teams in the First and Second Division don’t have realistic hopes/fears of being involved in the promotion and relegation issues at the business end of the season.

The Third is a different matter, but add in a pyramid and relegation and we may have a whole different ball game on our hands.

We might not have the skill, the names or the crowds, but lower league Scottish football at least gives the game some real meaning and I’d rather have that any Saturday of the month.

If one of us beat Rangers, then that IS something to get so excited about.

Let’s give Kilmarnock their moment in the sun though. It’s not every season they beat two big teams in a month.

Rangers were one thing, but we should always remember their struggle in overcoming the odds to beat the ten men of the mighty three time League Cup winners East Fife a few weeks ago.

What a season for them, huh?

Living the dream.

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