SPFL Matchday 1: Jam Tarts Could be Tasty Price6 min read
The SPFL 208/19 campaign kicks off on Saturday as Celtic unfurl the league flag at Parkhead whilst all eyes will be on Steven Gerrard’s Rangers as the Light Blues travel to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen on Sunday.
Celtic v Livingston
The Championshipgets underway in earnest at Celtic Park on Saturday and it is Championship runners-up Livingston that are the first visitors to Glasgow’s East End this season. It’s all change for Livi’ as David Hopkin vacated during the Summer for Kenny Miller to take the reigns fresh from his Ibrox exit.
What a start it could be for Miller if he were to get a result here but one can only dream, as you would expect Celtic to win this one fairly comfortably. The home side have already been involved in competitive action having successfully negotiated their way past Rosenborg to qualify for the final round of UEFA Champions League Qualifiers. That should have sharpened them up and may spell bad news for the away side.
Moussa Dembele will not feature here, as he is out with a hamstring injury. So, this means Odsonne Edouard may start – but it’s worth noting that Brendan Rodgers could rest him ahead of the match against AEK Athens on Wednesday night, in which case Leigh Griffiths will be up top.
At the time of writing both strikers are 11/5 to bag two or more goals. Given the competition in the forward department at Parkhead this season, whoever is given the nod will want to impress. Edouard has already notched a brace at Celtic Park this season, in the home leg of the Champions League tie against Rosenborg, and if goals are on the menu, you’d expect him to be involved.
Odsonne Edouard 2 or more goals (Check line-up before bet)
Celtic -2 goal handicap
Hamilton v Hearts
Hearts can boast of an undefeated record from visits to Hamilton last campaign and will be hopeful of continuing that run when the sides meet in the season opener on Saturday.
Hearts won this fixture back in January 3-0, but it must be noted, that was the last time the Edinburgh side managed to keep a clean sheet away from Tynecastle.
Hamilton have only kept two clean sheets at home since January, but in defeat they have managed to score in all but one of those matches. You just have to look at last season’s league table to see that Hearts should have enough in their locker to win this.
They are 1/1 to come away with all three points, but given the Accies’ history of finding the net in defeat, the 18/5 about BTTS & the away win looks a fair price.
Hearts to win
Hearts to win & BTTS
Aberdeen v Rangers (Sunday)
What an opening fixture this is. Both sides were neck and neck last season in their pursuit of second spot with the Dons edging it in the end. The two teams met on 4 occasions last term, with Rangers undefeated in away games against the Dons – winning 2-1 and drawing 1-1 in the duels at Pittodrie.
You’d need to be living under a rock not to have heard the news that Steven Gerrard has taken over at Ibrox. First port of call for the Liverpudlian was to reshape the Gers defence. That started with bringing back Alan McGregor between the sticks followed by Nikola Katic, Connor Goldson and Gerrard’s ex team mate John Flanagan. Since then the Light Blues have looked much more solid after accomplished displays in Europe and in pre-season as they have conceded just once in those fixtures.
The Dons are still on the look out for a striker after losing Adam Rooney to Salford City and Kenny McLean to Norwich. One must wonder what Thursday’s Europa League tie away at Burnley will take a lot out of the Reds with them having such a thin squad at the moment. Their tiredness will have been compounded by the fact that the match went into extra time.
A point of note is that Rangers were the leagues top scorers last season and will line up similarly again in that area. That coupled with the defensive reinforcements previously mentioned, another successful away day up North for the Teddy Bears could be on the cards.
Rangers to win
Rangers to win to nil