CELTIC were crowned Scottish champions for the seventh season running back in May and it would take a brave man to back against Brendan Rodgers’ side in 2018/19. And, by brave, we mean stupid.
The Glasgow giants are some way clear of their domestic rivals and plenty of punters will fancy Celtic to secure an eighth successive title. Aberdeen cannot sustain a genuine title challenge over an entire season whilst inconsistency haunts Rangers – though that could all change with new boss Steven Gerrard at the helm. At the other end of the table, a fiery relegation battle looks likely.
There are at least four or five viable contenders to drop into Scotland’s second tier and fans will be keeping a close eye on the latest transfer news ahead of the upcoming campaign. A major signing could be the difference between staying up and going down – that’s how tight it could be. As of July 11th, the likes of St Mirren, Hamilton Academical and Livingston are those most in danger of suffering relegation in 2018/19.
Celtic To Top 100 Points Next Season?
The Bhoys eventually finished with 82 points last season – nine clear of closest challengers Aberdeen. Rodgers’ side were in complete control throughout the campaign and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Celtic push for 100 points. Manchester City topped that mark in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign and the Glaswegian outfit have a genuine chance to rewrite the history books. An improved effort from Rangers may hinder Celtic’s chances of topping that figure; there will be three
Old Firm Fixtures in 2018/19. The Scottish champions have dominated the Old Firm in recent times – Rangers haven’t tasted victory over their arch-rivals in 11 matches in all competitions.
Rodgers will be looking to get the better of Gerrard in the battle of the two managers and that makes for a fascinating encounter. In the grand scheme of the title race, Celtic will be tipped by the majority – SPL predictions at footballtips.com will have the Bhoys to win on a regular basis. Celtic went the entire 2016/17 campaign unbeaten, winning 34 games whilst drawing four.
Rodgers will be demanding a similar effort this season after Celtic suffered four defeats in 2017/18. Going unbeaten again will be very difficult indeed though and the 100-point target is more realistic.
Gerrard To Have An Instant Impact
Rangers fans are excited at what the future holds with the Liverpool legend in charge and an improvement is expected. It might not be sufficient enough to push Celtic in terms of the title race but Gerrard will be looking at the bigger picture. Building a squad that is capable of competing at the top is the primary target for now – winning the Scottish crown will follow in time. The Ibrox faithful will be expecting big things in the coming years.
🎙 SG: This will probably be one of the easiest team talks I’ll ever have to do, all I have to do is show them the faces from 12 months ago in the away leg and that’s the team talk right there. If you’re not ready to go put that right we have a serious problem here.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 11, 2018
At the very least, Gers look well placed to topple Aberdeen this year. The 54-time Scottish champions fell short on the final day of the season to gift second spot to the Dons – Celtic also did their bit by losing to Aberdeen. Both teams are quite evenly matched but Gerrard should give Rangers the edge – especially as the Dons also have a new manager at the helm. The general landscape of the Scottish Premiership is ever-changing and that should make for an exciting campaign.
‘Best Of The Rest’ Hibernian To Come Under Pressure?
Hibernian finished a gallant fourth last season after an excellent campaign and Hibs fans will be hoping for more of the same in 2018/19. Expecting to sneak into the top three might be unfair but Hibernian do have the quality to give the likes of Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers a stern examination on their day. It should be an exciting campaign at Easter Road and fans are right to be excited ahead of what may be another positive season for the club.
Motherwell could improve this campaign after a brief scare in 2017/18. Well fans had concerns over a shock relegation but they raised their performance when it mattered most of all.
Steve Robinson’s men lost three of their final 10 league games – emulating that form will shoot Motherwell up the Scottish Premiership table next season. In addition, Motherwell reached the Scottish League Cup final, an achievement that shows how talented they can be at their brilliant best.
Edinburgh rivals Hearts will also be right in the mix to snatch fourth place. Craig Levein’s men finished 18 points behind Hibernian last season – too many draws cost Hearts dearly. In fact, they drew more games (13) than any of their Scottish Premiership rivals, a statistic that tells the story of their campaign.
Winners And Losers In 2018/19 Will Be…
Congratulations to Celtic, the 2018/19 Scottish Premiership winners. You won’t find too many punters backing against Rodgers’ side this season and Celtic will be well supported to win every major honour on offer. As previously mentioned, Aberdeen just don’t have the strength in depth to lay down a serious challenge to Celtic’s dominance whilst Rangers are going to need some time for Gerrard to put his own stamp on proceedings at Ibrox.
Rangers 6 Bury 0: Over 40,000 flock to Ibrox to watch Steven Gerrard make winning home debut https://t.co/hjEFOzySkD
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) July 6, 2018
With Celtic’s expected victory, Rangers are automatically losers. Their bitter rivals are edging closer to their tally of 54 Scottish titles and the Celtic Park faithful will rejoice in reminding Gers about that. It may be bittersweet for Rangers though; an improved effort with Gerrard at the helm is likely and they could pip Celtic to the crown in the near future.
The so-called ‘boring’ Scottish Premiership is about to get very interesting indeed. In the battle for dominance in Edinburgh, Hibernian look well placed to come out on top. Hearts will fancy their chances but a 19-point gap is just too large to overturn. Backing against Hibs in that particular head-to-head would be unwise.