THE Scottish Premier League is at the halfway point and the table has now taken shape, it’s now easier to decipher which teams are in the running for European qualification and which teams are battling it out at the bottom of the table from relegation.
The race for Europe is hotly contested by at least six clubs all of which have the potential to finish in any of the three European places. Some indifferent performances by Scottish teams in both UEFA competitions i.e. the Champions League and the Europa League led UEFA to reduce the number of Scottish teams participating in Europe from four to three. For punters, this is the time to make some extra cash through sports betting online by choosing which teams will finish in the top three places in the Scottish Premier League.
Celtic- Position 1 (Champions League)
Currently leading the second-placed team by eight points, Celtic is well on course for another league title hence another dance in Europe’s elite club competition, the UEFA Champions League. Celtic has one defeat all season, and considering the kind of performances the team has been putting in, the strength of the squad and the additions to the team in the winter transfer window, it looks increasing likely that we are not going to see another Celtic defeat during the rest of the season.
Aberdeen- Position 2 (Champions League and the Europa League)
Behind Celtic is Aberdeen, sitting eight points off the top. Of late, Aberdeen has been putting in some great performances that make it Celtic’s biggest challenger for the Champions League spot. They say we should not prejudge anything in football and if that is the case, then Aberdeen still stands a chance in case Celtic drops some points. What looks like a certainty for Aberdeen is the Europa League as it sits eight points clear of other competitors.
Rangers- Position 3 (Champions League and the Europa League)
Rangers still have an long outsiders chance of challenging for the Champions League spot but Celtic can evaporate that chance if they manage to maintain their consistency after the winter break . Rangers themselves see the chance to compete with Aberdeen as their main objective and have all but accepted that Celtic will reach 7 in a row come May. Rangers currently occupies the remaining Europa League spot and if the club keeps picking up points until the end of the season, then it has a decent chance of reaching the Europa League, although they will be looking over their shoulder to the Edinburgh clubs attempting to mount a challenge.
Hibernian- Position 4 (Europa League)
It’s reasonable to say Hibernian has no chance of winning the title are all but over but if they put in a great shift before the end of the season, then a Europa League spot is a possibility. Currently, Hibernian sits 5 points off the remaining Europa League pot held by Rangers but Neil Lennon will have his side motivated and ready for the challenge. It could get interesting!
Heart of Midlothian and St Johnstone still have a chance of reaching the Europa League but both need to improve on their overall form in the second half of the season. Hearts haven’t lost a goal in 7 matches and have the distinction of being the only Scottish club to inflict a defeat on high flying Celtic since Brendan Rodgers took charge. St Johnstone can also point to taking a scalp from Glasgow with their impressive 3-1 at Ibrox last month.
Celtic will win the league comfortably and Derek McInnes will secure Aberdeen’s usual runners up spot. Hibs will make it an interesting end to the season but ultimately will end up in fourth spot just behind a relived Rangers who desperately need the European spot. Hearts will take fifth spot with Tommy Wright once again leading St Johnstone into the top six, a remarkable achievement again given the size of the Perth club’s budget.