Old Firm Duo to Start with Wins as SPFL Returns

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Plenty of leagues throughout Europe are still wrapping up their 2019-20 campaigns but the new 2020-21 season in Scotland gets underway this weekend.

Celtic and Rangers battle in the Scottish Premiership

The focus at the top of the table this term is again likely to be on the battle for supremacy between the two Old Firm rivals, Rangers and Celtic, with the added spice of the Bhoys going for a record 10 titles in a row.

Old Firm Duo to Dominate Again

Both Glasgow giants have managed nine top-flight titles in succession (Rangers 1988-97 and Celtic’s current fantastic run 2012-20), so the motivation is huge for Steven Gerrard’s side as they hope to stop their city rivals moving clear of the jointly-held record.

The Gers’ are in action on Saturday among four games when they go to Aberdeen for the 12:30 kick-off and it’s a clash they should win.

The visitors are 20/51 to come out on top against a Dons outfit that were fourth and 22 points behind the Light Blues when last season was ended early.

Impressive Pre-Season for Gers

Gerrard’s men have looked good in a shortened pre-season, winning four friendlies to nil, after seeing off French sides Lyon and Nice (both 2-0) and Motherwell (4-0) and Coventry City (2-0), so they will approach the opener with plenty of confidence.

Aberdeen are without last season’s 23-goal top scorer Sam Cosgrove, who has a knee injury, but Jonny Hayes has returned to the club following three years at Celtic – a move that was only able to go through as the Irishman offered to defer his wages with the rest of the Dons squad also taking pay cuts.

That demonstrates the state of play at Pittodrie – and the game in Scotland overall – and Rangers, who are boosted by the permanent captures of Ianis Hagi and Jermain Defoe – can take advantage.

Aberdeen have only had two build-up games before Saturday’s competitive return – drawing 2-2 with Motherwell and beating Hibs 3-1 – so goals aren’t seemingly a problem. With that in mind, backing the visitors to at least get on the scoresheet looks wise, even if overall a home defeat looks on the cards (Rangers win and BTTS - 39/20).

United to Return with a Bang

In the other three games on Saturday, Dundee United mark their return to the Premiership with a winnable first home game against St Johnstone.

The Tangerines won the Championship and now have experienced Micky Mellon in charge so they can kick-off with a victory.

Also on Saturday, Hibs (21/20 - To win) will fancy their chances of seeing off Kilmarnock at Easter Road while St Mirren host Livingston in a game that should be tight. Backing a draw here, on offer at 11/5, may therefore prove an astute move.

Normal Service Resumes for Hoops

Then on Sunday, Neil Lennon’s side’s title defence begins with a home game against Hamilton Academical and anything other than a home win would be a huge surprise.

Celtic have taken a while to get going again in pre-season and, after friendly defeats against French duo PSG and Lyon, they have beaten Hibs and Ross County at home fairly comfortably.

Hamilton finished last season second-bottom, just about avoiding relegation, and stopping the Hoops at home is always a huge challenge.

Expect a handsome Celtic win against opponents they have beaten the last 12 times they have faced them. A home win to nil at 5/9 offers a bit more value, considering the Accies have only managed two goals against Celtic in the last six head-to-heads.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.
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