But they were actually in third, and quite a ways behind the “hoops” and Old Firm rival Rangers Football Club (Gers) when it came to top billing on the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) Scotland’s Sportscene.
A recent survey showed Aberdeen Football Club (Aberdeen) was featured in the headline game in the weekly reporting of Scottish football on just six occasions. But Celtic was in the main contest on 17 occasions, which was not a surprise. The Rangers, with 14, were the selected second in the most often picked of the Scottish Premiership sides.
BBC Scotland’s David Harron, executive producer for sport, supported giving the Gers more top air time than the Dons, despite the fact the Pittodrie side (Aberdeen) finished as runners-up to Celtic in each of the three area contests.
Harron said that “The Sportscene running order is ultimately a matter of editorial judgment each week.
“The key factors that the programme producer needs to weigh up are the quality of a game, the importance of the game, likely audience interest in a game and also the level of coverage.
“This last point is something which is not always appreciated by supporters.
“While most non-live games are now covered as multi-camera outside broadcasts, two games per week were covered using only two or three cameras due to a contractual situation between the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and one of their broadcasters.
“Our understanding from the SPFL is that from next season all the games will be covered by at least a small fully mixed outside broadcast unit, which should enhance the offer for the audience still further.
“It has been pointed out that highlights of a live BT or Sky Sunday game often lead the show but this makes sense as these games have often just finished and are therefore of greater interest and also they tend to be the biggest or one of the biggest games of the weekend.
“Another factor in considering the running order of course is that in the post-split fixtures it makes sense to group the top six and bottom six games together for the story of the weekend to make sense.
“One criticism of the programme previously which we have responded to was the late Sunday night slot.
“We have seen a real growth in engagement, positive feedback and strong audience figures since the programme moved to 6pm and that feedback also suggests that the audience enjoy having Michael Stewart and Steven Thompson as the regular guests. We would hope to continue to build on that growth next season,” Harron added.
The Hamilton Accies ended up in the cellar within the league as far as appearances on Sportscene were concerned.
The Accies beat Dundee United, their play-off nemesis, across the recent two legs, closing BBC Scotland’s top features programme ten times.
Those ten occasions represented more than any other team, although they also appeared first on the show the fewest number of times.
Only once in the entire 2016/17 season, they received top billing. In fact, they landed on top just once throughout the entire 2016/17 season and, even then, the Lanarkshire team’s fan had to wait until May 14 to see their team begin the Sportscene action because of their critical match opposite local rivals Motherwell.
Martin Canning, head of the Accies, said his team’s low standing with the broadcaster did not overly concern him.
“To be honest,” said Canning, “it doesn’t bother me because the most important thing is that we get our job done.
“I understand when you’re putting together a TV programme like that there are clubs with a lot bigger supports than ours.
“Maybe that justifies them being shown first, maybe it doesn’t but I’m not in charge of Sportscene so it’s nothing to do with me, I can’t affect it.
“They will chose what games they show first and it will be based on whatever they base these things on.
“All we can do is look after our own matters,” he reiterated.
Like Hamilton, the Kilmarnock Football Club was also afforded just one beginning feature waiting in last nine additional time slots.
Although PartickThistle Football Club had their top season in 36 years, getting into the upper six, their fans had to wait as well, having showed up at the end on nine occasions as well.
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