Well, the season has kicked off and it’s time once again to see who is wearing what and whether a club’s new kits deserve a slow-clap, averted eyes, or something in between.
Right from the start this year’s trend is easy to spot and that trend is, in a word, “safety.” Rest assured that nobody is wearing fluorescent green with reflect-y bits (though one club came close…), but rather, that most of the club’s have opted for kits that are not likely to cause much of a stir- for better or worse. Among the twelve Premiership clubs there is a clear winner and there is a trio of losers, but everything else falls between an unenthusiastic “fine” and a slightly more passionate, “not bad.” So, without any further ado, here they are, from worst to first!
You are no doubt looking at this kit (completed by plain white socks) and thinking, “There’s nothing wrong with it,” and you’re mostly right. Save the orange trim (which is the result of a sponsor that uses orange as one of its corporate colors), it is in fact, fine. Which should lead you to suspect that the away kit must be something…special. It is.
For one thing, the complete lack of grey below the waist makes it look like they are wearing pieces of two different uniforms. And what might those uniforms be? Goalkeeper kits? No, that’s the yellow one in the middle, it’s not that. Training kits? Well, the top fits that description, but the top also looks like something a that your local 14 year old wears when he competes with his paintball team, “Deez Nutz.” The shorts and socks look like they could actually be part of a decent kit…belonging to Dundee United. For me this is even worse than last year’s all-orange away kit, which I thought was just for warm-ups until the players went back into the dressing room at Victoria Park and then returned wearing the same thing. Oof.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C.
Caley Thistle had some decent kits last year. The home kit had some retro flair (racing stripe on the top, hooped socks, etc.) and the third kit (the white one) was pure class. The black away kit? Meh. It looked about as good as it could given how…different…the top was. You can see them all here. This year they decided, apparently, to combine the worst features of last year’s home and away kits, resulting in the test pattern you see above. This looks like the kind of kit you’d see some club in Moldova wear in their one European match before being eliminated from the competition. The away white kit (not pictured) has lost the distinctive black sleeves and is unremarkable at best. This year’s kits are also a case of an average-to-poor set of kits absolutely buried by a terrible sponsor/sponsor logo. Nothing against Subway (well, that’s not true, but…), but the diagonal “Eat Fresh” under their word mark looks terrible. It looks like a sticker that was applied after the fact. Finally, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about this: the season has started and you still can’t buy these kits through the club’s website.
Partick Thistle F.C.
There are two main problems here. First, Patrick’s shirt- whether hooped, striped, quartered, or whatever- really needs plain white or black shorts to tone down the riot of colors and shapes that are typical of their kit. When it has the contrasting- and plain- shorts it can be a handsome kit. Instead, for only the fourth time in the last forty years, they’ve gone with red shorts and for the fourth time it’s a mistake. The second problem is the new “Kingsley” logo which appears on both kits. I don’t care who designed it (Turner Prize-nominated artist David Shrigley) or what business it represents (some California-based investment company), it’s terrible. A demented Maggie Simpson-looking fail. So, given these issues, how does Partick avoid last place? Like this:
The pale blue away kit is a beauty that even the terrible sponsor logo can’t ruin- it looks like something Lazio might have worn, but without all of the fascist overtones. In this picture it’s also modeled by former County man Gary Miller! Not only is this a good kit on its own, but it breaks literally years of absolutely BONKERS away kits by this club. I kid you not, Google “Patrick Away Kit” and shield your eyes- pink/grey/black/white camo, pink and grey hoops (from head to toe!), black and fuchsia, black with a giant thistle image (wait, I kind of liked that one!), and more! That sponsor logo though…
Heart of Midlothian F.C.
Hearts have set the kit bar high over the past few seasons and they also should have come up with something better to celebrate their return to the top flight. These kits aren’t bad, they’re just boring. So boring that I don’t even have to show you the whole thing. The home kit has white shorts with a maroon stripe and maroon socks with a white stripe and the away kit has the opposite. Yawn. No, they’re not just boring, they’re disappointing. Why? Take a look at last year’s home and away kit. See what I’m saying? From two of the best kits ever to grace Scottish football to equivalent of a Kraft American Single on Wonderbread. Boo!
St. Johnstone F.C.
Speaking of boring… If the St. Johnstone home top didn’t have the sublimated tartan pattern on it they’d have to sell it with a sharp stick so you could prod yourself to stay awake. Don’t worry, I didn’t short-change you by not showing the white shorts and blue socks…with a white cuff!! As for the away kit-
On Twitter the club described it as their “fabulous new away kit”- are things really that bad in Perth these days? Talk about aiming for the (lower) middle… The only credit I’ll give here is for the color-matched club badge. They might have done well to go with white shorts as well, but that would have made this kit only a little less shrug-worthy. It almost looks like they had some extra “leisure tops” in the club shop and somebody thought, “Hey, what if we just printed “Invest in Perth” on them and handed them out to the squad?”
Still spinning our wheels in the boring portion of the list, we move on to Dundee F.C. who finally show us that there might be something to look forward to in the top half of this list. The home kit is, well, they got the colors right and I don’t want to throw anything at it, so, it’s…fine? No, really, it’s perfectly…okay. Note: this is one of those tops that looks 100% better with long sleeves, so if you’re a Dundee supporter go ahead and spend the extra £5-10. Also, one note for Puma: the side stripe socks need to be over. Anyway, nothing special here, but the away kit offers us some hope!
I really like this kit, particularly the top. I’m a sucker for a sash, and when said sash contains a blown-up portion of the club’s iconic crest? Count me in. I also like that they have kept all of the attention on the shirt, there’s no attempt to try to replicate the oversized logo in the shorts or socks, which would have made the whole thing just too busy. My only criticism is that they couldn’t get Kilmac (a construction/civil engineering firm) to let them make their logo all blue. The small pop of bright green is annoying. If the hope kit had been as nice as the away kit Dundee would have been easily a “top three” kit club this season.
Though the Magners logo is a bit more obtrusive this year the home kit is probably the best one since the since the early-mid 1990s Umbro kits. I know thinner hoops have been used by the club more often than not, but I like the thicker ones. The socks are nice too. That said, how hard is it to design a Celtic home kit? The only real job is, “Don’t screw it up.” So, job done here.
Celtic away and third kits have generally come in two kinds, “handsome” and “hideous,” there’s rarely one that inhabits a space between those two descriptors (no, really, take a look). This season, I’m afraid, there’s a lot more hideous than there is handsome, which is sad because last year’s away and third kits were winners. While both kits harken back to previous Celtic kits, they harken back to terrible ones.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, pinstripes on a shirt never work well- what do you do with the shorts?! The socks?! Nope, every time a club does this they end up looking like the Larry Johnson-era Charlotte Hornets and nobody wants that. Nobody. Also, the Celtic/New Balance marketing department needs to settl’ doon, the club wore a shirt like this for ONE season in the past (1982-1983, third kit), it’s not like you’re bringing back a lost treasure. Speaking of third kits, Celtic is the only Premiership club with one thus far this season.
Sorry, technically this is Celtic’s “Euro Kit” for 2015-2016 and it is meant to recall the Euro/Third/Away strips the club wore in the late 1990s and from 2009-2011. The main changes are that the color has been “punched up” from a bright yellow (with greenish undertones) to this eye-searing fluorescent-ness. Also, the previous kits were mostly black and that helped hold down the crazy a bit. The new kits have much less black on the shirts, have swapped black shorts for neon, and dropped 50/50 hooped socks for neon ones with black cuffs. My one word review? No.
Ross County F.C.
Unlike Celtic, Ross County have started to build something of a reputation for trying new things since their elevation to the Premiership. Nothing crazy, mind you, more being open to trying new ideas and I give them points for that. In this case they stretched their legs a bit with their new home top and the results were more positive than negative. Do I love it? No, but I do find it…intriguing. The multiple “bands” of pinstriping make for a handsome top and help to somewhat avoid the Charlotte Hornets effect I spoke of above, but they still don’t quite go with the shorts, do they? It’s also helped by a more streamlined and color-matched sponsor logo. Now the away kit…
It works from top to bottom and it’s simplicity helps to one down those stupid Carbrini shoulder logos, which are the only misfire on the entire kit. This is the kit that Caley Thistle and St. Johnstone’s away kits were trying to be. In fact, this is the Ross County shirt that I’m going to buy this year- it’s just a bonus that it’s white and I don’t have a white one yet!
Dundee United F.C.
Remember all of those clubs earlier that were trying to go for the “classic” or “simple” look and failed? This is how it’s done. The home kit is not their best kit ever and the extra sponsor on the back of the shirt and on the socks(!) drives me starkers, but it’s still good. Two colors, no frills, let’s play some football! The away kit, however, is great!
Is it better than last years? Probably not, but it’s pretty close. I think the reason for that is that the club have once again paid homage to the home colors they wore before 1970 and gave it a retro “feel” without actually trying to duplicate a past kit. It’s almost as simple as the home kit and equally well-executed. This is the kind of kit a supporter can buy and wear to a match a decade from now and have people remark, “Oooo, I remember that one! Nice!” It’s quality.
The Steelmen, on the other hand, have opted to produce a home kit that is as exact a replica of their 1973-1976 alternate kit as possible, right down to the script team initials in place of the traditional club badge. The only notable differences are the lack of a fold-over collar and the addition of an amber band on the socks. Seriously, what is not to like? Maybe it was something about almost getting relegated that made them make a better effort than they have in past years. Did I mention that I was a sucker for a sash?
The away kit isn’t quite as good, but it’s good enough. More importantly, it solves the “pinstriped shirt problem” the best way it can be, with plain white shorts (are you listening, Ross County!?). They don’t match, they don’t clash, they compliment- that’s a free style tip, kids. The away kit is rounded out by the same socks as the home kit, though I suspect that you’ll see the club wear white or amber socks at some point this season if they are playing a club that wears dark socks at home.
Hamilton Academical F.C.
With one of the best home tops in all of Scottish football Hamilton were always going to be near the top of the heap, so it really came down to the away kit…more on that in a moment. What’s interesting about the home top is that it is self-produced and paired with “off the rack” shorts and socks made by Adidas. If nothing else this proves that if your “foundational design” is solid you don’t really need to do much to make it work (I’m looking at you, Celtic).
Access did spring for the full Adidas kit with their away choices, but they didn’t exactly break the bank. They chose a shirt template that I’m sure has been in Adidas catalog since the company was located in West Germany and there can’t be more economical choices in said catalog than plain blue shorts and socks. Once again, though. They work. Sorry about the pictures of both the home and away kits, they were revealed so late in the season that there are few pictures on line and I had to resort to pulling them from the clubs online store.
This was an easy decision and one that I’ve already written about so I’ll spare you any more here and just stick to the facts. The home kit is a classic that is put over the top by the hooped socks.
The away kit is a stunner that also pays homage to Aberdeen’s pre-war colors.