During Rangers’ three-season exile from the Scottish Premiership, Motherwell and Aberdeen have been Celtic’s closest challengers, until the wheels fell off for the Steelmen last term that is.
While those at Fir Park will be praying some new faces bring about a revival in fortunes this season, the Dons will be greatly encouraged by their 75-point haul from 2014/15, which took them to within 17 points of the champions in the end.
Although it’s ridiculously early to make concrete predictions after two rounds of the 2015/16 edition, there could easily be a familiar theme developing in the top half of the table.
Aberdeen have started the campaign where they left off, on Ronny Delia’s coattails with maximum points, yet to concede, and behind the Bhoys only on goal difference.
As Ladbrokes’ market without Celtic suggests, Derek McInnes’ 4/9 shots are not expected to be dislodged from their early perch of second either.
Meanwhile, despite spending a season slumming it in the second tier, Hearts have clearly not forgotten the winning feeling an imperious title-winning crusade breeds – joining both Celtic and Aberdeen on six points in third.
The signing of striker Juanma looks to be inspired by Jambos boss Robbie Neilson, as the Spaniard has racked up three goals already, sinking Dundee with a brace last time out.
St Johnstone and Inverness CT (third and fourth respectively last season) will surely have some say on the European spots again, and the clubs taking a point off one another already perhaps paints a slightly false picture.
The Saints and Caley Thistle sit seventh and eighth respectively and once fully recovered from their Europa League qualifying hangovers, the pair should kick-start their domestic seasons.
However, the present trio at the top could well be a hard triumvirate to split up.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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