The Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League kicks off on July 23rd which is notably early. In fact, it almost caught me out with regards to posting my pre-season thoughts!
Last season was a highly memorable one but mostly for the wrong reasons. The Old Firm Derby matches were famously ill-tempered affairs, so bad in fact that the Scottish Parliament became involved in trying to sort things out. In addition, Celtic boss Neil Lennon was targeted with letter-bombs, assaulted and generally Scottish football and it’s fans inflicted upon the rest of the world a shameful theatre of how not to behave.
Anyway, hopefully things will be calmer this season and as always, just two teams look to have any prospect of lifting the title. Celtic will once again be under the guidance of Neil Lennon whilst Rangers will be looking to Ally McCoist, last year’s assistant manager, to continue where Walter Smith left off.
Lennon has made no attempt to deny that another defeat to Rangers this time around will probably result in his seeking other opportunities. Quite frankly, the way the Hoops snatched defeat from certain victory last season might have done for him. Perhaps his off the field trials were effecting things and one does have to hope that nothing of that ilk manifests this year.
Ally McCoist will be aware that fate might hand him the sword with which to slay his rival (metaphorically of course) as it well documented that there is no love lost between the pair. One might have looked for an angle with McCoist having his first season in charge but given his involvement with the club under Walter Smith, I don’t think Ger fans have anything to worry about on that score. Perhaps more concerning is a lack of new blood, with only Juan Manuel Ortiz signing in the close season. Celtic have done slightly better on that front Kelvin Wilson, Adam Matthews and Victor Wanyama new additions to the squad.
Who is going to carry my money? Well, I got badly stung on Celtic a year ago and as ever, the Old Firm Derby results will really matter. It is not an easy call but I am just going to side with the green and white once again.