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The 42 Challenge


LoonsYouthTeam
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Onto the proper stuff! August:

August2.PNG.52f7d616e0982fa364eb0a744a55e84e.PNG

 

Very happy with our start. A domestic debut goal for Rivas live on telly, 2 home wins without conceding and finally we didn't get a doing against Celtic! Delighted to get a draw and Liam Buchanan showing he's still got something to offer. Fantastic start, can we keep it going?

September:

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Happy overall but always a little disappointing to lose at home to teams we'll be competing for top 6 with. Excellent to show County wha's in Cherge here after their promotion with Eder showing who's boss for the rest of the month. Another draw with the Old Firm too.

October:

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Hmm, OK, but another home defeat to teams I'd consider our equals, and ever since I left on a sour note I've wanted to beat Utd so was unhappy with that. Good point at Tynecastle and we're also through to the League Cup semi finals which is a nice bonus.

 

League table at the end of October:

1st: Rangers - 23 points
2nd: Celtic - 21 points
3rd: Dundee Utd - 21 points
4th: Hearts - 20 points
5th: Caley Thistle - 17 points
6th: Aberdeen - 16 points
7th: Motherwell - 15 points
8th: Hibs - 13 points
9th: Dundee - 10 points
10th: Falkirk - 8 points
11th: Killie - 7 points
12: Ross County - 5 points

Pretty tight and the Old Firm not clear. If we can maintain this form we should be aiming for Top 6 and hopeful of some further cup progress.
 

Edited by LoonsYouthTeam
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November:

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3 defeats and no goals scored at all! Need to fix this sharp-ish!

December:

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That's more like it! Eder back scoring regularly, but great to see the goals shared among the team. No shame on losing at Ibrox. All of this left the table looking like this:

1st: Rangers - 40 points
2nd: Dundee Utd - 37 points

3rd: Celtic - 35 points
4th: Hearts - 33 points
5th: Motherwell - 28 points

6th: Caley Thistle - 26 points
7th: Hibs - 25 points

8th: Aberdeen - 22 points
9th: Dundee - 20 points
10th: Falkirk - 12 points
11th: Killie - 11 points
12th: Ross County - 5 points

Normally I'd be happy to see a non-Old Firm team in the mix, but f**k Utd. Hearts still in it and disappointed I've dropped back a little from the top 4, a lot of teams in the hunt for Top 6. County lost every game in November and December, shame. Sure Uncle Roy will dig deep come January.

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January Transfers:

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I've spent my budget so ended up looking for cheap veterans to fill in some areas of the squad. Always thought Pienaar was class at Everton in real life and even though he's older than sin he can cover both wings and still looks decent. Karl Henry is a classic kick everything that moves midfielder and I'm reunited with Brain Howard who I signed for Utd. He can play centre mid or left wing. Doubt any of the 3 will start much but add some much needed depth. Nobody out at all.

January:

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Gutted to be out both Cups! Getting drawn at Ibrox in the last 32 of the Scottish Cup is a bit of a boot in the baws though! Definitely more annoyed at the League Cup semi, Motherwell are around our level and I'd only won at Fir Park last month. League Form decent, the Tannadice skelping apart, and nice to see Rivas scoring more.

 

February:

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Bloody Motherwell again! That's both games at home to them I've lost now. League table at the end of February was as follows:
 

1st: Rangers - 60 points
2nd: Hearts - 49 points
3rd: Motherwell - 48 points
4th: Dundee Utd - 46 points

5th: Celtic - 44 points
6th: Hibs - 44 points

7th: Caley Thistle - 42 points
8th: Dundee - 33 points

9th: Aberdeen - 28 points
10th: Falkirk - 18 points
11th: Killie - 18 points
12th: Ross County - 10 points

Rangers look home an dry for the title but a huge surprise to see Celtic struggling, makes it even more annoying we've had a few silly defeats as we could've been right in the hunt for 2nd and instead could be facing the bottom 6!

 

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March:

March2.PNG.8489f3ef3cf78dfbbdbedb77333d5e9e.PNG

No huge surprises and always nice to put your rivals in their place, two away wins in a month with four of them is a good return.

 

April pre-split:

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Fantastic! Rivas really beginning to show his worth and 3 wins on the trot with clean sheets. Great to get a little revenge on Utd. This left the league table at the split as so:
 

1st: Rangers - 79 points (Champions)
2nd: Hearts - 61 points
3rd: Celtic - 57 points
4th: Caley Thistle - 55 points
5th: Motherwell - 54 points
6th: Dundee Utd - 53 points

7th: Hibs - 50 points
8th: Dundee - 39 points
9th: Aberdeen - 35 points
10th: Killie - 28 points

11th: Falkirk - 22 points
12th: Ross County - 14 points

Our decent form puts us in a great position. Top 6 target secured and now let's see what we can do in the Top 6, hopefully we can do better than last season and prove we belong here. County looked buggered at the other end.

 

Top 6 fixtures:

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Would rather have had Motherwell away given our record, but happy with that. Anything at Parkhead or Ibrox will be a bonus, must be looking to win the home games if we're looking to aim high.

 

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Fixture 34:

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What an unbelievable game!! Our main strikers doing the business, just one of those games where every highlight was a goal. I took a screenshot of this at the time which I sent my mate. From 5-3 up, I was furious to go back to 5-5 but managed to grab a winner and finally beat Motherwell at home.

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Fixture 35:

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Back to Earth with a bang! 8 scored and 9 conceded in just 2 games, we're definitely giving it an entertaining end to the season. This left the league like this:

2nd: Hearts - 65 points
3rd: Celtic - 63 points
4th: Caley Thistle - 58 points
5th: Motherwell - 54 points
6th: Dundee Utd - 54 points

Can't see us getting 2nd or 3rd, but we're in the driving seat for 4th

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Fixture 37:

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Not surprising, but annoying after our last result. This left the standings going into the final day:

2nd: Hearts - 67 points
3rd: Celtic - 65 points
4th: Dundee Utd - 60 points

5th: Caley Thistle - 58 points
6th: Motherwell - 55 points

From 4 ahead to 2 behind Utd, that defeat means I now have to beat Hearts and require a favour to get 4th. Could we do it?

Spoiler

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No we could not, the draw meaning a 2nd consecutive 5th place finish. A decent achievement, but feel this season could have went a little better.

Final league table:

Spoiler

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Good to see somebody split the Old Firm, half tempted to see if a 3rd place finish may have Celtic manager Craig Levein's coat on a shoogly peg. Thoroughly enjoyed my 2 seasons with Caley and very tempted to stay on as it's good fun and I think I could build a really good team. That was the issue though, there was still a team to build, and given this challenge I thought I best leave Caley and hopefully they can maintain their position as a Top 6 team who can make Europe. I'll leave Caley with my Best XI:

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A fantastic contribution from the front 2, very rare to have 2 strikers with 20 goals, but you can see we struggled elsewhere for goals. Part of the reason this would be a big job staying on is that quality is needed pretty much everywhere else.

Where will my adventure take me next?

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My next stop was the Third Division for the first time since the initial season of the challenge at Montrose. One of my aims for the challenge is to win the Third Division title every year I'm in the league, and I'd be attempting to do it with...

Ayr.jpeg.11b30c2e534ba3547ecfe0b464edfbfe.jpeg

Ayr! Ayr! Super Ayr! Now, you might think that this would be easy as surely if Ayr are in this league they've just come done and should be strong. Not so, last season Ayr finished 8th in the 3rd Division in what might be the worst season in their history. As we begin the 2017/18 season in game, Ayr have not played in the Second Tier since 2004; they were relegated to the Third Division in 2011 before winning the title before suffering another relegation leading to last years humiliating finish. My aim is to win the league and have a crack at back-to-back promotions if possible.

The squad I inherited was mostly pretty poor with a couple of exceptions, so a busy transfer window was needed before the new season began:

Transfers Out:

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Mostly terrible, but included the full list as there's some known names there, including my ex-QOS player Steven Caldwell.

Players In:

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First signing is a true Ayr hero! He's pretty much just a right back in this game which is where he'll play.

James Sheridan looks like a cracking striker at this level, decent physical stats and good stats for dribbling, composure and finishing I'm hoping he'll be my goal poacher.

Martin Rice is a youngster who can play centre mid, right wing or up front, doubt he'll be a regular but he's cheap to have as an option in a number of positions.

Stevie Smith on loan from Rangers is a centre mid who is great all round, he's too good for this level.

Alan Robertson is a big, physical, defender which I feel is always a must at this level.

Gavin Swankie will be known to most. He can play on either wing or up top and is very skillful.

Gary Wray comes in as goalkeeper as we didn't have a decent one. He looks OK but not fantastic.

Steve McKeown can play at the back or in midfield either on the right or in the middle, another one useful for versatility

Gary Hughes is a technically decent centre mid who I picked up as he never agreed a new deal at East Fife.

Alex Walker is the same player I had at Clyde, another versatile defender.

Graeme Holmes is the ex-Alloa man, experienced centre mid compared to my other options who are young.

 

Think that gives me a good basis of a strong squad, certainly fancy us to win the league.

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August:

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Lost on penalties to Berwick but not too concerned; they also inflict my only defeat. No surprise losing away to Airdrie, but the league is my main focus. Not a great start but showed my intent at the end of the month hammering Livingston who I'd expect to be a title rival.

September:

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Do, do, do, do, GAVIN SWANKIE! Great month and excellent to get 3 clean sheets, now played most teams and feel we're the best team.

October:

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Short month with a loss and a win in the league before an absolute doing handed out to Wick, a long way home for them after that!

November:

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Another shirt month, and undefeated again. I have still been looking for other options and was able to bring in another striker this month:

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Wakeford is a physical striker which was the one thing I felt we were missing, hoping he can see us keep the ball further up the field.

The league table at this stage looked like this:
 

1st: Ayr: 27
2nd: Cowdenbeath: 23
3rd: Livi: 23
4th: Alloa: 22
5th: Berwick: 20
6th: Elgin: 19
7th: Stenny: 18
8th: East Fife: 17
9th: Queen's Park: 13
10th: Peterhead: 5
 

Pretty tight, but hoping I can kick on.

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December:

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14 goals scored in 2 Scottish Cup ties! Great start from Wakeford, and having a partner seems to have lit a fire under Sheridan who more than double his tally for the season in the first 3 games of the month. Disappointing defeat to Stenny but a good response with another run of wins with clean sheets.

January:

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James Sheridan is on fire! 14 goals in the last 2 months. An excellent month but with another defeat to Stenhousemuir, at least I put them out the cup, hopefully can get a money-spinner next round as we're not exactly flush with cash.

 

My run of wins had put me well clear in the league so I won't bother with the table update. A little bit of transfer activity:

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A young striker on loan from Rangers, although Sheridan and Wakeford are doing great, I don't have much back-up and he's free of charge.

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February:

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Well, the Scottish Cup was supposed to be a bonus, but we've only went and won away at Premier League Falkirk to make the Quarter Final! They battered us if truth be told but could not score. I've not mentioned Craig Potter before, he's a bang average defender who was already at the club, but he has chipped in with some goals, none more important than that!

My league form seems to exist of winning 80% keeping plenty of clean sheets before a silly defeat creeps in every month. Can live with that to be honest!

March:

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We put up a good display against Celtic, but they were comfortable. Excellent league form continued with Wakeford scoring every game; this saw us on the brink of the title.

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4 wins across April and May saw us worthy champions with another run of goals for that man Sheridan.

Final table:

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A cruise in the end, always fancied winning it and I'm now 2 for 2 in terms of league titles in the Third Division.

Bext XI:

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You can see the importance of my front 2, but a few other good goalscorers, especially at centre back.

Despite the title, I don't feel it's much of an achievement for Ayr, therefore I'm going to stay on for next season and go for back-to-back promotions to see if I can get the Honest Men into the First Division for the first time in the game.

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