As sea­son looms, it’s time to tell the fu­ture again

Evening Times - - SPORT -

WELL, it’s that time of year again. The sign­ings have been made, the train­ing has been done, the friendlies have been played and some of our teams have been knocked out of Europe.

But there is still one bit of house­keep­ing to be com­pleted be­fore a ball can be kicked and the new Premier­ship cam­paign can get off and run­ning.

Yes, sports writ­ers up and down the coun­try have to put their heads above the para­pet, or on the chop­ping block, and give their pre­dic­tions on who the big win­ners and losers will be in the com­ing months.

You can find out who the Evening Times team are tip­ping for ti­tle glory and rel­e­ga­tion hell later in the week.

Make sure to keep a note of them so they can be used as on­line am­mu­ni­tion and held against us from here un­til the fi­nal whis­tle at Ham­p­den in May.

But re­mem­ber, it is only a pre­dic­tion. If it doesn’t work out how we think, it’s not the end of the world. It’s only a game, folks.

As it turned out, no­body on our desk got the full house of Celtic for the ti­tle, the Scot­tish Cup and the League Cup, Aberdeen for sec­ond and In­ver­ness for the drop 12 months ago.

Look­ing back, it was all so ob­vi­ous. Hind­sight is a won­der­ful thing, right enough.

The two-horse race be­came a one stal­lion can­ter to the fin­ish­ing line in the Premier­ship, while the Old Firm were re­united in the divi­sion but ended the cam­paign with Aberdeen in be­tween them.

The only magic that was in Mark War­bur­ton’s hat was used for his dis­ap­pear­ing trick from Rangers, while Joey Bar­ton spent more time sign­ing books than he did on the park.

At the other end of the ta­ble, there was no top-flight drop for Kil­marnock as the huge squad Lee Clark com­piled and Lee McCul­loch in­her­ited picked up enough points to re­tain their place amongst our 12 high­es­tranked clubs for another sea­son.

Sadly for Alan Archibald, Partick This­tle didn’t end their long wait for silverware at Ham­p­den and win the League Cup. That par­tic­u­lar pre­dic­tion was burst even be­fore it be­came ob­vi­ous that six-in-a-row was on the cards.

Celtic did, of course, win the Scot­tish Cup in the most dra­matic of cir­cum­stances as Bren­dan Rodgers’ side wrote their names in the his­tory books.

So that meant one out of five. Not so much could do bet­ter as must do bet­ter.

This time around, we will have to see if Aberdeen’s cy­cle has come to an end or if they are about to find another gear un­der Derek McInnes, while Ian Cathro may have to buy a ticket for Tynecas­tle if he wants to be there when the new Main Stand is opened in Septem­ber.

The Jam­bos will be in the sights of a resur­gent Hiber­nian, while St Johnstone will look to con­tinue their run of top-six fin­ishes as Partick This­tle aim to make it two-in-a-row.

Hamil­ton will once again have to defy the odds and Mother­well need to avoid another scrap at the bot­tom. Neil McCann may want to make a Bos­man move back to Sky Sports, Ross County have to re­place the top scorer in the Premier­ship and Kil­lie will consolidate.

AT THE top, Celtic will win the league com­fort­ably and Rodgers will eye more do­mes­tic silverware. Pe­dro Caix­inha has to do that as well, but first Rangers have to re­cover from ar­guably the worst re­sult in their his­tory to mount some sort of chal­lenge.

The crowds will be low at times, the qual­ity on the park won’t be great at oth­ers and peo­ple from out­with these shores will con­tinue to knock Scot­tish foot­ball from pil­lar to post.

But there will be enough head­lines, touch­line bust-ups, weird and won­der­ful tales and Twit­ter spats to keep us all en­ter­tained for the next few months.

It is said only a fool would pre­dict the fu­ture. It is best to ex­pect the un­ex­pected.

they have to find a way of be­ing com­pet­i­tive and bet­ter than CelticIque pe­rum en­emosa nde­niam, tec­tus, qui om­nim aut od quis dolup­tae et hici sitia vent.

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