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SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE

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Take a look below at our previews of the 2005/2006 Scottish SPL! Do you believe our predictions? Click on your team below to see how we think they'll do!
Aberdeen Dundee Utd Dunfermline Falkirk Hearts Hibernian Inverness CT Kilmarnock Livingston Motherwell



OLD FIRM Clashes apart, Scottish football now sets fewer Pulses racing than a vegetarian stew. Every season we know who the top two are before they start and the other three Divisional winners were decided last year weeks before the end. Why don’t they have play-offs to bring in more revenue and excitement?


The only surprise about the early markets is that some bookies cannot spilt the Old Firm quoting 5-6 the pair, and Rangers at that price are just about value. I'm with those who make Gers 4-6 favourites and Celtic 11-10. Given how Celtic start with a tricky rerun of May’s fatal, final fixture at Motherwell and the champs with a gimme agasint Livingston, even 4-6 may not last the week. Rangers were already the more settled side and their summer signings so far look better than Celtic’s.

John Hartson should score 30+ again but he'll have to make do with accomplices like Jeremie Aliadiere and Maciej Zurawski.
Rangers actually nicked their big new central defender Jose Pierre -Fanfan of PSG from under Celtic’s nose, and with Barry Ferguson back in midfield as captain, they should be less prone to the shock results that settle this title as much as the Old Firm games. Stefan Klos’ return to fitness also means competition in the goalkeeping department.

Celtic’s time will come again (they won the reserve and U-19 titles last year) but at Ibrox, Alex McLeish has got a strong nucleus of players in their mid-20s just as Martin O’Neill did when he went to Parkhead.

Elsewhere, Aberdeen have an impressive 6-2-1 record in pre-season but have also collected injuries that might hamper their start. They have nabbed Dundee striker Steve Lovell and head the “without Celtic and Rangers” market at 2-1.
I prefer well-funded Hearts at 11-4 with Skybet.

New manager Craig Burley is close to clinching three trialists who’ve featured in recent friendlies (Lithuanian striker Edgaras Jankauskas, and Czech pair Michal Pospisil and Roman Bednar) plus another two players this week.
The lower divisions look more competitive and it’a unlikely they will be won by margins of 15,9 and 20 points again.
In Division One it’s hard to see past favourites Dundee,’ but speculation makes little sense until their relegation is finally confined. In Division Two, Partick hope to bounce back from relegation just as Brechin did, but may start slowly -they called off a friendly last week because of injuries. Morton are more likely to challenge Gretna, especially with striker Derek Lilly back. Saturday’s Gretna-Morton Cup tie might be revealing, but it’s the money-bag borderers that carry my cash.
 

In Division Three, Cowdenbeath won four and drew two of their last six, scoring 14 in the run, so their Outlook five-match-form figure was second only to Gretna’s.
Their final run included a 4-0 win over Peterhead and points against Montrose, Stenhousemuir and Queen’s Park, all now ahead of them in some lists. Skybet go 7-1 against the Blue Brazil when Ladbrokes, who have good sources in Scotland, go only 9-2, so take the hint. Skybet also offer 1/5 the odds for each-waY to finish in the top three 50 with 7-1, the place bet looks good jnsurance.

 


 

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