The 2019/20 Scottish Premiership season is already underway, with Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers winning both their opening games.
The current Scottish Premiership champions have been rampant, with a 7-0 over St. Johnstone, followed up by a 5-2 win at Motherwell – already with a goal difference of +10. With the Bhoys asserting their dominance early, can anyone challenge them at the top of the Scottish Premiership?
Celtic have won the last eight league titles and their most recent, last season, was their 50th title to date – just four behind fierce rivals Rangers, on 54. Here, we will take a look at the most likely candidates to prise another title out of Celtic’s hands.
In the last five seasons, Aberdeen have finished runners-up to Celtic on four occasions. However, their margin of defeat has ranged from just nine points in 2017/18 to a massive 30 points in 2016/17 – the season that Celtic remained unbeaten.
Through the dominance of Celtic and Rangers since the mid-1980s, Aberdeen last won the title during the 1984/85 season, but under current manager, Derek McInnes, have had success domestically. The Dons won their first trophy in 19 years, winning the League Cup in 2013/14 and their runner-up finish in the Scottish Premiership at the end of the 2014/15 season was their best finish in over two decades.
Last season, Aberdeen finished fourth in the Scottish Premiership, having sold their star striker Adam Rooney to Salford City. However, the Dons still qualified for the
Europa League. In terms of fire-power, they don’t score as many as Celtic and Rangers and despite the managerial prowess of McInnes, can probably hope for a top-four finish again this campaign.
Rangers may well be the most successful team in Scottish football, with 54 top-flight titles to their name, but they haven’t won the division since 2010/11. The Gers have managed to rise from the ashes, following their insolvency and having been relegated to the fourth-tier of Scottish football for the 2012/13 season, found themselves back in the Premiership four years later.
Since returning to the top-flight, the side have managed two third-place finishes and having come runner-up to Celtic last campaign, it’s fair to say that the Gers are back. With Steven Gerrard at the helm and last season’s Golden Boot, Alfredo Morelos in their ranks, Rangers have what it takes to challenge Celtic.
One thing that will prove vital in their quest for success is the outcomes of the Old Firm derbies and last season, Gers lost their first two matches against their fiercest rivals, ultimately dropping six points, which would have seen them crowned champions.
Let’s be honest, the Scottish Premiership isn’t known for its variety of winners or surprises and the gulf between the top teams and the bottom teams is immense. Ultimately, it’s likely to be a two-horse race against the Bhoys and the Gers, with a vast number of points separating the top two from the rest of the pack. For the likes of Aberdeen and maybe even Motherwell and Hibernian, the aim is surely a top-four finish to qualify for European competition. Think you can predict this year’s winner? Check out the latest odds forScottish Premiership winner 2019/20 with the Betfair Exchange.