Five things we learned from this weekend’s Ladbrokes Premiership

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The drama didn’t take long to get going as the Ladbrokes Premiership witnessed an action-packed return.

Hamilton Academical took a shock lead at Ibrox, Celtic grabbed a dramatic winner at Tynecastle and Partick Thistle were winning games off the pitch and hearts off it. So, here’s what we learned from the opening weekend.

Crawford steals the show at Ibrox

While Rangers’ return to the Ladbrokes Premiership has been hotly anticipated, it was Hamilton’s Ally Crawford who had the fans sweating at Ibrox, as the talented Accies forward netted a stunning opener and deftly nutmegged a stunned Joey Barton as the visitors went in at the break 1-0 up.

Martyn Waghorn produced a classy equaliser, but there’s no doubt the most memorable moments of the day belong to Crawford. If he can produce another stellar finish and some more deft trickery, the 23/20 for Hamilton to beat Kilmarnock next weekend could be very good value indeed. Speaking of which…

There were mixed blessings for Killie

There was disappointment for Killie fans at Rugby Park as defensive slip-ups cost Lee Clark’s men the chance of a result against visitors Motherwell on opening day.

However, the acquisition of several talented young defenders on loan this summer – including Jonathan Burn and Jamie Cobain – means it may just be a case of time before Clark can find a defensive unit which gel together.

And at the other end, one of Killie’s new buys gave the Rugby Park faithful something to cheer about, with 20-year-old midfielder Martin Smith netting his first goal for the club with a well-taken header. While the result will disappoint Killie fans, the signs suggest their gloom could shift before long.

Dundee’s attack are sensational – when they click

‘Same again’ will surely have been Paul Hartley’s message to his side after the wins over Dumbarton, Forfar Athletic and now Ross County, following three masterful attacking displays.

While the Dark Blues tore through the Sons (6-2) and Forfar (7-0) in their League Cup ties, the issue was whether they could replicate that attacking flair in the fast-paced setting of a Ladbrokes Premiership game. The answer appears to be a resounding ‘yes’.

However, despite Rory Loy’s delightful double in Saturday’s 3-1 triumph at Ross County, the question of consistency looms over a side beaten by Peterhead and East Fife in the League Cup last month. If the 15/4 shots can beat Rangers at Dens Park next weekend, those doubts could quickly disappear.

Celtic’s new stars are match-winners

While one summer buy – Moussa Dembele – secured Champions League progression against Astana, it was fellow newboy Scott Sinclair who made the crucial contribution in a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Tynecastle.

With the two sides looking set to share the spoils of an even and entertaining contest, Sinclair’s neat flick gave the Hoops all three points and highlighted a trend in Brendan Rodgers’ new acquisitions, which is sure to bring cheer to the Celtic Park faithful.

From Kolo Toure’s crucial challenges to Dembele and Sinclair’s match-winning strikes, the Hoops are building a team of fearless, big-game competitors, and already look the team to beat.

Partick Thistle provided the perfect day

It was a dream day for Chris Erskine, who scored in his first league game since returning from Dundee United, while David Amoo netted his eighth goal since joining the Firhill outfit in 2014.

However, the real star of the day was one Thistle-mad elder statesman being presented with a ‘season ticket for life’ by boss Alan Archibald. Thoroughly lovely stuff. 

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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