There’s been another restructuring of the league in Scotland, less than 15 years after the SPL was formed. They have attempted to replicate the structure used in England with a Premiership supported by a Championship and two other lower leagues. It clearly won’t have as positive effect on the game in Scotland as it did in England for the sole reason that the quality is just not there. Infact, it looks the weakest ever Premier League. No matter, we’ll strive to find a decent ante-post bet to see us through the season.
As Rangers continue fighting their way back to the top division in Scotland, Celtic remain the only plausible winners of the Premier League. They were rarely at their best in domestic matches last season but still won the league by a comfortable 16 points with Motherwell next best. Despite losing both Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama to Premier League clubs down in England, Celtic should stroll to their third successive Championship in Scotland.
Best of the Rest
The most competitive market in this year’s Scottish Premiership will be who finishes second otherwise known as the ‘Without Celtic’ market. Although there appears little between most of the sides in the division, there are more gaps appearing and certain clubs can be ruled out straightaway.
Hearts are in financial turmoil at the moment and have had a transfer embargo currently placed upon them. They have had to get rid of several key players over the last six months and it looks like a season of struggle ahead for Gary Locke and his charges. The other Capital club, Hibernian, slipped away dramatically last season after a positive start. They have already been humbled out of Europe and the loss of Leigh Griffiths who was their best player and top scorer last season suggests that they are going to be short of a challenge for second spot. Ross County and Inverness surprised many with top six positions last season but both will find it difficult to repeat that kind of form. Inverness have had to rebuild their squad after key members left and County could well suffer from the second season syndrome, although visiting teams will still find it difficult at both northern venues.
That leaves us with the likes of Motherwell, Aberdeen and Dundee United who I think will be best placed to mount a challenge for second place. Motherwell are favourites and rightly so. Stuart McCall has bought well with the signings of John Sutton, Stephen McManus and James McFadden. They have lost key players though and the losses of Darren Randolph and Michael Higdon could be crucial. Aberdeen installed Derek McInnes as manager towards the end of last season and he is a manager I like. He knows Scottish football inside out and has good experience of working down South. He’s used that to his advantage by bringing in several Championship players including Nicky Weaver and Greg Wylde. Having kept all their key players from last season I expect them to go well. Dundee United welcomed their prodigal son, David Goodwillie, back to Tannadice but as he comes back on loan, Johnny Russell departed to Derby County and Jon Daly left for Rangers. I much prefer the departing double act to the returning Goodwillie so feel they have been weakened. I do have lot of time for Jackie McNamara however, and his management could well see them secure a top three finish.
Down at the other end of the table, Partick Thistle, who were promoted last season, are the favourites to go back down. It will be a learning curve for all at Firhill on their return to the top flight, especially as they have lost two key players to Dundee United. I do think they will be competitive and don’t believe they will be cast adrift like Dundee were last season. St Mirren are always in and around the bottom end of the table whilst Kilmarnock are never far away either. I expect the latter to improve under Allan Johnston, despite their financial difficulties. Hearts will be massive favourites to finish bottom dogs with their 15 point deduction and I can’t see them finishing elsewhere other than at the foot of the table. The only worry for the other clubs is who finishes in 11th which will result in a play-off with a side from the second tier. My bet would be Partick, but I don’t think Hibernian will be far away either.
I think it’s a toss of a coin between Dundee United and Aberdeen for the ‘Without Celtic’ market. United can be backed as big as 7/1 whilst Aberdeen are much shorter around the 5/2 mark. I will side with Derek McInnes men because I thought they had the best squad in the league last season (not including Celtic) but it wasn’t well utilised. Take them to finish behind Celtic.
Aberdeen in the ‘Without Celtic’ market 11/4 @ Coral
August 2nd, 2013 / callum - Category: Other Events Betting