Scottish Premier League: Week One Preview

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Our Scottish football guru previews week one the SPL gets underway on Saturday 5 August.

Week one of the Scottish Premier League gets underway this week with Brendan Rodgers' Celtic side favourites to claim the title once again this season. The Bhoys get their campaign underway against Hearts at Celtic Park while Aberdeen and Rangers - the two sides most likely to resist Celtic's dominance - up against Hamilton and Motherwell respectively.

Elsewhere, Hibernian host Patrick Thistle while St. Johnstone travel to Kilmarnock while Dundee and Ross County clash in some of the less glamourous ties.

Saturday 5 August

Celtic 1/5 | Draw 5/1 | Hearts 11/1
We kick off the season with a game that looks relatively easy to call at first glance. Celtic have had a pretty good pre-season thus far that has included Champions League qualification matches against the likes of Northern Ireland’s Linfield and Norway’s Rosenborg. The Bhoys have only lost once in pre-season thus far and come into this match off the back of a 5-0 drubbing of Sunderland.

Hearts’ pre-season and Scottish League Cup qualification campaigns have gone pretty badly by all accounts. Losses against Dunfermline and Peterhead have seen them miss out on qualification to the Scottish League Cup. Back Celtic on the (-1) handicap with confidence here – 11/20 isn’t a half bad price if you can dig up a few other bankers for the weekend.

Kilmarnock 31/20 | Draw 21/10 | St. Johnstone 7/4
Kilmarnock are another side who have endured a pretty average qualification campaign for the Scottish League Cup. Finishing second in their group behind Ayr United, they snuck into the knockout phase of the competition as an unseeded side and will face Celtic.

St. Johnstone will look to build on last season’s performance finished fourth (or best of the rest) behind Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers. Unfortunately for the Saints, they were knocked out of the Europa League by Lithuanian side, Trakai. It’s still early doors, so these sort of games always prove quite tricky. St. Johnstone look to be the better side on paper at the moment and are tipped to claim a tasty little away victory early doors at 7/4.

Hibernian 8/10 | Draw 24/10 | Patrick Thistle 32/10
Hibernian are another side who’ve enjoyed a pretty solid pre-season and League Cup qualification campaigns. Hibs finished top of their League Cup group ahead of Ross County and will enjoy a life as a seeded side. The men from Edinburgh look primed and ready for the season after winning promotion last term.

The Jags enjoyed a stellar campaign last time out, finishing in the top six for the first time since the league split was introduced to the Scottish Premier League in 2000/01. They’ll do well to repeat the feat this term. Alan Archibald has one of the thinner squads in the division and will need to be almost flawless at home if they’re to finish in the top six again this season. Hibs here for me – they should prove far too strong at home and look good value at 8/10.

Dundee 29/20 | Draw 22/10 | Ross County 18/10
Dundee come into the new league season with an easy-looking match against Ross County – who many have tipped to go down this season. The Dee qualified for the next round of the Scottish League Cup after finishing second behind crosstown rivals, Dundee United.

Another club who unfortunately look to have a bit of thin squad, Ross County did well to qualify for the next round of the League Cup finishing behind Hibs on goal difference. They didn’t concede once in their four games and will need more of the same if they are to survive this season. County will back themselves to not concede against Dundee after their League Cup qualification campaign. A low scoring affair is expected – get on the Total Goals (aggregated) 0-1 goals market at 21/10.

Sunday 6 August

Motherwell 4/1 | Draw 11/4 | Rangers 13/20
This is one of those games where I think the bookmakers price up on a name rather than a team’s abilities. Motherwell aren’t a bad side, cantering to the top of their League Cup qualification group scoring 10 goals and conceding two in eight games.

Rangers were unceremoniously dumped out of the Europa League qualification rounds by the virtually unknown FC Progr├Ęs Niederkorn. They went down 3-0 on aggregate and will most certainly be vulnerable against a Motherwell side who know that the Glaswegian giants will be vulnerable. Back Motherwell to come away with at least a point against a weary, nervous Rangers. At 23/20 on the Double chance, well represent decent value.

Aberdeen 3/10 | Draw 39/10 | Hamilton 8/1
This looks like another pretty straight-forward one to call. Aberdeen have enjoyed a pretty good pre-season, winning all of their friendlies and find themselves within a hair’s breadth of the play-off of the Europa League. They hold a 2-1 advantage over Apollon of Cyprus and will be confident heading into a home game against Hamilton who will probably be the whipping boys of the division this season.

Hamilton barely survived relegation last season, eventually scraping to safety after winning their play-off against Dundee United 1-0 over two legs. It’ll be another difficult season for the Accies this time around and Aberdeen should make short work of them at the Pittodrie Stadium. Back Aberdeen on the (-1) handicap at 17/20.

TREBLE @ 5/1
Celtic (-1) Handicap 11/20
Motherwell Win/Draw 11/10
Aberdeen (-1) Handicap 17/20

Written by Jason Dewey for

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