Ladbrokes Champ preview: Will St Mirren turnaround end in title win?
Last season saw Hibernian lift the Ladbrokes Championship title, with Dundee United enduring play-off heartbreak, while a thrilling battle to avoid the drop saw seemingly-doomed St Mirren produce a miraculous run of results to finish in seventh spot.
With the Buddies’ fortunes revived, are they the men to back for a title tilt, or will the Tangerines lift the trophy in May? And what can we expect at the other end of the table?
Here’s the Ladbrokes News guide to what we’re expecting from all ten sides this season. And yes, we’ll be ready to eat some humble pie in about nine months’ time…
Few outside of Glebe Park thought City had a genuine chance at promotion from League 1 last term, but a fourth-placed finish was followed by two dramatic penalty-shoot-out triumphs, and a spot in the Championship.
Despite the addition of a few reliable defensive recruits, we think they’re likely to find the step up too tough to handle – especially with the departure of experienced hitman Alan Trouten. Still, this Brechin side won’t go down without a fight.
Title Odds: 150/1
Along with Brechin, Stevie Aitken’s men are the only part-time side in the league. And while the Sons deserve huge credit for remaining competitive at this level, successive eighth-placed finishes point to another year of battling for second-tier survival.
Admittedly, 13 summer additions to the squad mean they’ll be a totally new-look proposition this term, but they’re still underdogs. Aitken has bought shrewdly – on paper, at least – but his newboys will need to turn around their dismal League Cup form rapidly.
Title Odds: 40/1
The Tangerines made it four League Cup triumphs on the bounce with a penalty-shoot-out triumph in the derby at Dens Park on Saturday. Combine that with attacking additions like James Keatings, Patrick N’Koyi and Scott McDonald in this window, and it’s little surprise they’re favourites for the title.
Title Odds: 2/1
The very definition of a ‘lively long-shot’, the Pars’ late-season rally saw them frantically chasing after a wobbly Greenock Morton’s play-off spot, though they narrowly missed out on it.
Allan Johnston’s high-scorers have already caught the eye in the League Cup, defeating Hearts at Tynecastle and producing a 6-0 demolition of Elgin City. If Nicky Clark can retain his sensational form, they’re sure to give backers a good run for their money. Every chance of a play-off spot this term…if not more.
Title Odds: 10/1
Ever the bridesmaids, Peter Houston’s side have fallen just short in the promotion play-offs two years in a row. And while they’re likely to make the top four again – especially after re-signing the superb Rory Loy – the question is whether the experience will give them extra nerves or the pedigree to reach the Premiership.
Title Odds: 3/1
The question is: ‘Which Morton are turning up?’
If we see more of the side who demolished Queen of the South at Palmerston Park with a 5-0 win in October, you’ve got serious play-off challengers. If it’s the Morton team who didn’t get a single victory in their last nine league games last term, then a relegation battle awaits. In short, we’ll have a much better idea in a month’s time.
Title Odds: 16/1
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Former Caley Jags boss John Robertson is back in the hotseat, and he’s stamped his mark by adding a number of young prospects to the squad. However, we think it might take the newly-relegated side some time to adapt to this level.
A mid-table finish appears likely, though ICT sneaking into the play-off spots is a possibility in a fairly open division.
Title Odds: 5/1
They may have come up with Brechin, but we’re expecting a very different season for Livi, who know this division like the back of their hand.
Admittedly the summer departure of last season’s 27-goal man Liam Buchanan raises a few concerns for Lions fans, but last season’s swashbuckling displays mean we see David Hopkin’s men securing stability without too much trouble in 2017-18.
Title Odds: 16/1
Queen of the South
Sixth and seventh-placed finishes in the past couple of seasons have seen the Dumfries club find stability without ever threatening another play-off tilt.
With a largely unchanged squad ahead of this campaign, they have the nous and quality to comfortably avoid the drop again, though they lack the cutting edge for anything more. In other words, they’re going to finish sixth.
Title Odds: 16/1
While United will be competitive again and Dunfermline are plausible dark horses, our title tip are the men from Paisley. And Saturday’s 5-0 League Cup hammering of Airdrieonians has only added to our belief that the Buddies will do the business in the Championship.
Having ended 2016-17 with 25 points from their final 13 games – including a 6-2 rout of Ayr United – all the signs suggest Jack Ross has found a formula for success. Add signings like Harry Davis to the mix, and we’re confident in telling you to lump on!
Title Odds: 10/3
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing