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allyhibs

SPL Predictions > Aug 1st - 3rd

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Hibs go into the new season looking in better shape than a few other clubs, the new signings so far look like we've addressed the obvious weaknesses last season and with 1 or 2 more additions before the transfer window closes, a challenge for European places look on the cards.

For once, Hibs made their main signings early and have had the whole squad in training for quite a while now, reports are they've settled in well and everything seems positive ahead of the new season. Reports from Kilmarnock suggest the opposite, they lost a lot of players and were short of numbers a couple of weeks ago, they also have a couple of key players missing due to injuries.

I think a straightforward home win looks the outcome here in an empty Easter Road and there looks a little bit of value to be had.

Hibernian @ 2.10 - 2pts.

 

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Aberdeen vs Rangers

The Scottish Premier League season kicks off for the 2020/21 campaign with an intriguing clash between Aberdeen and Rangers in a 12:30pm BST start this Saturday lunch-time at Pittodrie. Both sides have had to deal with their managers being linked with other managerial positions during the off-season and their pre-season have been disrupted by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. How will they both approach this first game?

Aberdeen come into this game feeling they can improve of last season's 4th placed finish. Derek McInnes remains in charge with the Dons but he's not been able to bring in many new faces. Jonny Hayes has been re-signed from Celtic on a free transfer and young Leeds striker Ryan Edmondson arrives on loan. There have been no major departures but you have to wonder if the squad has changed that much to enable the club to evolve in the right direction? They will certainly feel they can start the season with a positive result here. The loss of Sam Cosgrove to injury for the opening 6-8 weeks of the season is a big issue but hopefully it means other players will step up.

Rangers know this is a tricky start for their campaign. Manager Steve Gerrard has been linked with a number of vacant managerial positions elsewhere over the past couple of months with bookies backing him heavily to take the reigns at Championship club Bristol City recently. He is still in charge of the Gers for the time being though but has also had his hands tied in the transfer market. The loans of Ianis Hagi and Jermain Defoe have been made permanent with Jon McLaughlin from Sunderland, Calvin Bassey from Leicester, and Leon Balogun from Brighton all coming in with little fuss or fanfare. The failure to extend Sheyi Ojo's loan deal from Liverpool is a blow.

This game is finely poised with both teams enjoying some ding dong battles down recent years. Rangers have only won 1 of their last 6 visits to Aberdeen. Both teams have also scored in 5 of the last 6 meetings between the two clubs. Aberdeen only managing to keep one clean sheet in their last 9 home league games suggests we could see goals here. I know the bookies are heavily backing a Rangers win but with their recent record here and with neither side making massive changes to their squads I can see the home side getting something.

Draw @ 4.50 with Bet365

BTTS @ 2.10 with Boylesports

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Dundee United vs St Johnstone

OK, so I'm making a last minute decision to cover all the opening Scottish Premier League matches for this new season because it just feels a lot more exciting to cover than other leagues that are winding down with very little to discuss. Newly promoted Dundee United kick-off their return to the top flight of Scottish football with a 3pm BST start against St Johnstone at Tannadice Park on Saturday afternoon.

Dundee United fans will be relishing this return to the highest tier of Scottish football after winning the Scottish Championship title last season. Manager Micky Mellon needed the goals of star striker Lawrence Shankland who bagged 29 goals in 35 appearances last season. He'll be hoping he can carry that predatory instinct into the Scottish Premier League. Unfortunately, the Terrors (best nickname in world football?!) ended last season limping over the line with just 1 win in their last 9 games. If they're to stand any chance of staying up this season then they'll need to start positively. The signings of youngsters Jack Newman from Sunderland and Luke Bolton from Manchester City are shrewd investments and it'll be interesting to see how they adapt.

St Johnstone will no doubt be optimistic about returning to the European qualification places this season after finishing 6th last season. Manager Callum Davidson has a mammoth task on his hands trying to build on the fine work done by former gaffer Tommy Wright who resigned from his role back in May. There's been little room to manoeuvre for Davidson in the transfer market so he's still largely dealing with a squad of players that aren't his own. However, he takes charge of a side that had only lost once in their last 8 away games and have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 7 matches on the road.

The Saints have a cracking recent record away at Tannadice Park having won 4 of the last 6 visits. Still, they're an unknown quantity now under Davidson. It's amazing how much a new manager can change things. Dundee United might have ended last season poorly but this is a fresh start and they will be keen to impress. In Shankland they have goals and if you have that as a newly promoted side then you stand every chance of staying up. I can see the home side scraping a draw in this one. Let's see how St Johnstone cope in this post-Wright era.

Draw @ 3.40 with Betfair

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.64 with 888Sport 

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Hibernian vs Kilmarnock

OK, so I don't want to tread on @allyhibs toes here and you should certainly follow his tip as the man in the know but I thought I'd build on his look at things to see how this game is set up between Hibernian and Kilmarnock when both teams are scheduled to meet for this 3pm BST kick-off on Saturday afternoon from Easter Road. Can either of these two sides win to start their campaigns in a positive manner?

Hibernian finished last season in 7th place but they weren't a million miles off the Europa League qualification spots. Head coach Jack Ross will be looking to make this the season that he brings the club back up to where they feel they can compete and battle for European contention. The signing of Alex Gogic from Hamilton is an intriguing one because he could add that bit of extra bite that the team needs. Defensive issues plagued the team last season with only Ross County, Hamilton, and Hearts conceding more. The strength of this squad is goals though and if they can tighten up at the back then there's no reason why they can't storm up the table. Adding the duo of Drey Wright from St Johnstone and Kevin Nisbet from Dunfermline could prove decent business.

Kilmarnock, as Ally said, come into this opening game with rumours suggesting things aren't quite settled at the club. Manager Alex Dyer didn't have the best of starts to his time in charge at the club winning just 3 of his first 12 league games after replacing the outgoing Angelo Alessio. Even so, the Killie board have deemed him the right man to take them forward and he was given the job on a permanent basis back in June. The gaffer has been busy during the summer with a number of players joining the club over the last week to 10 days. They include Brandon Haunstrup from Portsmouth, Danny Rogers from Aberdeen, Jake Eastwood from Sheffield United, and, most interestingly, Aaron Tshibola from Aves. It's asking a lot for these new lads to come in and blend into the squad straight away so it might be too little, too late for this game but they're fascinating additions for the long term. Particularly Tshibola who clearly has the ability but has lost his way recently.

I'm going to have to back our boy Ally for the outcome here. Hibernian just seem better prepared and more settled than their opponents ahead of this game. You can't help but feel that Kilmarnock are a club that are making it up as they go along a bit at the moment. I'm not sure why it took them until the end of July to start making big moves in the transfer market but it could cost them early on.

Hibernian to Win @ 2.05 with Gentingbet

BTTS @ 1.87 with Sportingbet

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St Mirren vs Livingston

The final preview for Saturday's games in the Scottish Premier League is the 3pm BST clash between St Mirren and Livingston at St Mirren Park. The home side will be looking to start their season with a victory as they aim to avoid another relegation scrap against an away team that have ambitions of breaking into the European qualification spots come the end of the season.

St Mirren finished 9th last season and manager Jim Goodwin knows that simply staying up is satisfactory but his side will want to improve on that this season. The club have been busy during the summer adding a number of new faces to the team with a number of departures heading out. The signings of Richard Tait from Motherwell, Jak Alnwick from Rangers, and Marcus Fraser from Ross County will add depth but none of those signings address the goal scoring issues that plagued the team's season last year that saw them finish as the lowest scorers in the top flight. Losing a number of players such as Vaclav Hladky, Tony Andreu, and Calum Waters will not help with squad depth.

Livingston will have one aim this season and that is to break into the Europa League qualification spots after last season's positive showing. Head coach Gary Holt is doing a great job at the Almondvale club. The arrival of 23-year old Alan Forrest from Ayr United is an exciting one. Holding onto star striker Lyndon Dykes was a priority and the club have managed to do that. A big challenge now is whether the club can improve their away form. Their artificial pitch has long been a point of controversy with many feel it gives them an unfair advantage at home. The stats appear to back this with 28 points earned at home and only 11 on the road last season. Will that away form be their downfall again this season?

I'm torn about which way to go here. I think St Mirren are a weaker side than last season. Losing Hladky is a massive punch to the gut and a keeper can be the difference between 10 points over the course of a season. Hladky was arguably a key reason the Buddies stayed up last year. I think Livingston could have a real talent on their hands in Forrest and if he can provide the service for Dykes then the goals those two can bring might improve that terrible away form. I'm going to back the away side to get the win in this one.

Livingston to Win @ 2.45 with Sportingbet

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.62 with Sportingbet

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Aberdeen looked awful without Cosgrove, Rangers didn't have to get out of first gear.

Hibs have striker Christian Doidge out injured, Wide man Martin Boyle moves into the middle with new boy Drey Wright taking over out wide, that is serious pace for Hibs up front, Boyle and Wright are rapid, don't think Killies defence can handle that.

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Celtic vs Hamilton

Mixed results yesterday meant we didn't do too badly with the calls and we'll look to build on that today when reigning champions Celtic host last season's relegation strugglers Hamilton in a 4:30pm BST kick-off at Celtic Park. It seems almost impossible to see anything other than a home win here but is there something in the statistics that suggests otherwise?

Celtic were crowned Scottish Premiership champions for the 9th consecutive time when the season was brought to a close early last season. Neil Lennon's side are looking to make it 10 trophy wins in a row this campaign. The Hoops have done well to largely keep their squad together with the additions of Norwegian midfielder Mohamed Elyounoussi coming in from Southampton on loan and Greek goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas signing from AEK Athens. It's hard to see any real title challenge coming from anyone this year so anything less than another title win will surely be seen as a failure.

Hamilton have it all to do here. Manager Brian Rice saw his team stay up by the skin of their teeth in 11th place and not having to participate in a relegation play-off due to the season being cancelled. Form between December and February last season cost Accies their league position but they ended their campaign before the cancellation with two wins over Rangers and Kilmarnock. Those two wins were effectively the reason they stayed up. The loss of Alex Gogic to Hibernian is a huge blow to their survival hopes. You look at the players they've brought in such as Ross Callachan from St Johnstone, Charlie Trafford from Inverness, Callum Smith from Dunfermline, and Tunde Owolabi from FC United of Manchester and they hardly inspire confidence. It could be another tough season for the club.

This game is all about trying to guess how many Celtic will win by. They have won every single one of the past 12 meetings with Hamilton and have been winning at half-time and full-time in 5 of the last 6 encounters. I'm anticipating goals as well because Celtic have scored at least 3 goals in 8 of their last 10 home league matches. I wouldn't be surprised to see them win this one by a 3-0 or 4-0 score-line at least.

Celtic -2 @ 1.72 with Paddy Power

Total Goals Scored Over 3.5 @ 1.85 with Betfair

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Good start to the season but it wasn't a great performance from Hibs, there were long spells when Killie were on top but Hibs defended well and hung on for the win, Martin Boyle being the difference between the sides, plenty room for improvement though. Betting wise it's 1 win from 1 so can't complain too much.

Can only see a convincing Celtic win today, only question is by how many, as usual in Glasgow, if they score early it can get messy, so i've had a little punt on an early goal.

Celtic winning at 15 minutes @ 3.00 - 0.5pt.

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Ross County vs Motherwell

The Scottish Premiership gives us a Monday night fixture this week with last season's relegation strugglers Ross County welcoming Europa League contenders Motherwell to Victoria Park Dingwall for a 7:45pm BST kick-off. It may well be a new season with the chance to start afresh but will some old habits die hard as these two sides from opposite ends of the table last season clash?

Ross County know that this season is all about survival. Manager Stuart Kettlewell must address priority number one and that's the team's leaky defence. County conceded a league worst of 60 goals in 30 league games last season and the arrivals at the club over the summer have shown that the gaffer is keen to strengthen at the back. Goalkeeper Ross Doohan has come in on loan from Celtic and there have also been additions to the defensive line with former Liverpool youngster Connor Randall, Alex Iacovitti from Oldham, and Carl Tremarco from Inverness. Midfield has also received a bolstering with the signings of Stephen Kelly from Rangers on loan and Regan Charles-Cook from Gillingham on a free.

Motherwell finished 3rd last season and even though they were still 21 points behind 2nd placed Rangers they are seen as the strongest-placed side to start applying pressure to the top two of the Old Firm. Manager Stephen Robinson is boosted by the return of 21-year old starlet David Turnbull who returns to action after a long lay-off. His influence was undeniable in the 2018/19 season so it'll be interesting to see if he can re-discover that form after so long out injured. The Well have moved to strengthen their squad with the signings of Ricki Lamie from Livingston, Jordan White from Inverness, Nathan McGinley from Forest Green Rovers, Scott Fox from Partick Thistle, and Mark O'Hara from Peterborough. There have also been the loan signings of Jake Hastie from Rangers and Callum Lang from Wigan. Hardly big name signings needed to break into the top two but potentially shrewd additions.

OK so the statistics don't bode well for Ross County ahead of this game. The hosts have lost both of their previous two meetings with Motherwell. The visitors have also two goals in four of their last five trips to Dingwall. In addition, Motherwell have won 4 of their last 5 away matches with a clean sheet. I wouldn't bet against them pulling that off again as they look to start this campaign on a positive footing against a County side destined to struggle again.

Motherwell to Win @ 2.25 with Gentingbet

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.83 with Betfair

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