Scottish football season kicks off
Bookies will be over the moon as Celtic win title
Celtic are as long as 1-50 odds-on favourites to secure their 11th league title this century after winning it for a fourth successive season last year by 17 points. The club opens with a home match against relegation favourites Ross County.
Aberdeen, last season’s runners up, offer the only serious likelihood of a competitive edge to a competition still missing the Old Firm rivalry that has dominated Scottish football.
The Dons will play Dundee United, who finished fifth last year after a bright start. After selling three of their best players to Celtic, the Arabs may struggle to put together an effective challenge.
Inverness, third last season, are home to Motherwell and have already suffered the setback of being ejected from their debut season in Europe before the end of July.
Celtic are generally 1-33 to win the title, with Aberdeen next best at 20 or 25-1. Hearts are third favourites at 33 to 66-1. Supporters of Ross County and Kilmarnock should save their money. Both are priced generally at about 1,000-1.
Despite what looks like an easy passage to the title, Celtic manager Ronnie Deila attempted yesterday to suggest the season will prove challenging.
“It is going to be tough this season but I think we are a better football team than we were at the same time last year and hopefully that will give us more points,” he said in what looked like a killer blow for the other clubs.
Aside from the signing of Dundee United striker Nadir Ciftci, the Hoops added Manchester City defender Dedryck Boyata to their squad.
Promoted Hearts play St Johnstone tomorrow but despite coasting to the Championship title last season their ambitions this year are more modest.
“We want to get to the top six and I think we’ve got a squad capable of getting there and hopefully get a decent cup run,” said head coach Robbie Neilson.
Once again more interest may be generated by the Championship where a rejuvenated Rangers will hope to build on their thrashing of main challengers Hibernian in the Petrofac Cup last week. Hibs will be licking their wounds in the hope that this was a one-off and will not set the tone for a season in which they will be seeking to repeat their domination of the Ibrox club last year.
Relegated St Mirren will also be looking to rebuild and mount a serious challenge.
Betting from Oddschecker. Click on image to enlarge: