The new season kicks off officially today with the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup. Our new tipster Graham Munro takes a look at the five games that have caught his eye.
Arbroath v Dunfermline
With the experienced pair of Allan Johnston and Sandy Clark at the helm it is likely that the Pars will provide a much potent force in the forthcoming league campaign. A relatively successful pre-season has seen the East End Park outfit notch up 11 goals as they notched 2 wins and 2 draws. Losing out narrowly to Title Favourites Hibs was their only reverse. Meanwhile the Red Lichties had seen an unblemished record in their 4 preseason friendlies with nine goals with no response. However they came unstuck at when facing a Rangers XI losing 5-0. Gayfield could easily have installed a revolving door at their main entrance as the personnel changes have been wide ranging. The result is that I take the Pars to be overwhelming favourites in the tie.
Prediction: Arbroath 1 Dunfermline 3 [Dunfermline 1/1 -Wm Hill & Bet 365]
St Mirren v Berwick Rangers
Relegated from the top tier, ‘The Buddies’ are still licking their wounds and this should provide the necessary incentive to continue to bond under the tutelage of new boss Ian Murray.
Berwick have brought in over a dozen players and have now gone three matches in pre season without scoring.
The likelihood is that the men from Paisley will be too strong – just!
Prediction: St Mirren 2 Berwick Rangers 1 [St Mirren 1/3 -Wm Hill & Ladbrokes]
QOS v Stranraer
With new Stranraer boss Brian Reid returning to his old stomping ground it will likely be a feisty encounter between his charges and the Doonhammers. Queens have lost a couple of key players and they have recruited replacements that will likely need a bit more time to settle. Reid has opted to import players with SPFL experience. This will likely mean that Stranraer will have the edge having signed Marc McGuigan from Albion Rovers while strengthening the defence.
Prediction: QOS 0 Stranraer 2 [Stranraer 4/1 Ladbrokes & Bet Victor]
Ayr United v Albion Rovers
Replacing assistant manager Sandy Clark with Billy Stark will have brought Rovers a wealth of experience. Stark’s coaching ability will dovetail well with boss Darren Young, who brought success last season. Somerset Park has seen more departures than arrivals and as such the journey back to Coatbridge is likely to be a happier one that the one made by the Ayrshire hosts.
Prediction: Ayr United 1 Albion Rovers 3 [Albion Rovers 3/1 Marathon Bet]
Hibs v Rangers
The early kick off sees last season’s bridesmaids lock swords. Whereas Rangers have opted to almost rebuild courtesy of Wigan Athletic, Hibs have decided to go for a more local recruitment policy. Mark Warburton is likely to be still smarting at the recent loss to Burnley and as such he will ensure his team offers a more coherent approach to their Edinburgh hosts. Alan Stubbs has the thorny issue for Scott Allan wanting to travel along the M8 back to his boyhood heroes and it will be interesting to see what kind of reception last season’s Championship Player of the Year gets.
Nevertheless it will be the Ibrox outfit who make their intentions known with an impressive win to take the early season initiative.
Prediction: Hibs 0 Rangers 2 [Rangers 13/8 Paddy Power]
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