Ladbrokes SPFL Opening Weekend: The 5 fixtures you can’t miss
The Ladbrokes SPFL bursts back into life this weekend, with the first fixtures of the 2018-19 league campaign.
In the Premiership, a familiar face returns to Celtic Park with his new-look Livingston side. Meanwhile, there’s a big clash at Pittodrie – and further down the pyramid, a tasty match-up in Methil.
Ahead of kick-off, we round up the weekend’s top five fixtures across the leagues…
Premiership: Celtic v Livingston (Saturday, 3pm)
This eye-catching season opener comes with some pretty juicy subplots.
The obvious one: it’s Livi’s first top-flight game since 2006. And they’ll be led out by new player-manager Kenny Miller – one of the few men to play for both halves of the Old Firm.
Celtic have won each of the last 17 meetings, which doesn’t bode well for the new boys. But with the Hoops having less than 72 hours to recover from Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Rosenborg, Livi could look the fresher.
Livingston are 11/2 in the Double Chance at Parkhead. Meanwhile, it’s 4/1 for boss Miller to get his name on the scoresheet.
Premiership – Aberdeen v Rangers (Sunday, 1pm)
One of the most historic and fierce rivalries in SPFL history returns this weekend, for the 335th time.
The Gers have tended to edge it over the past two seasons, despite finishing below the Dons in the league table. As for the last clash – May’s meeting at Pittodrie threw up an entertaining 1-1 draw.
It’s a new era for both sides. The Dons are adapting to life without key striker Adam Rooney, whereas the Gers squad are getting used to the methods of new boss Steven Gerrard.
History suggests the visitors could just edge this one. It’s 29/20 for a Gers victory, while we make it 17/4 for Rangers to Win and Both Teams to Score. And you can catch the action live on Sky Sports Football.
Championship: Dundee United v Dunfermline Athletic (Saturday, 3pm)
These two endured a gritty play-off tussle last term, with United edging it 2-1 on aggregate – thanks to a comeback triumph at Tannadice.
Whilst this might not be the most high-scoring affair, contests between these sides always tend to be engaging and close-run. In fact, only one of the last 10 meetings has seen either side win by more than the odd goal.
Throw in Fraser Aird’s move from East End Park to Tannadice this summer, and there’s an extra spark this time around.
Ahead of the season, United are 3/1 second-favourites for the title, with the Pars dark horses at 8/1.
League 1: East Fife v Dumbarton (Saturday, 3pm)
The Sons have reacted well to their play-off relegation from the Championship last term. Boss Stevie Aitken has brought in some real quality in the form of ice-cool hitman Rory Loy and tricky midfielder Bobby Barr – amongst others.
Whether or not Dumbarton’s new-look XI clicks immediately in League 1 remains to be seen. And we’re likely to see a cracker here.
Four of the Methil club’s last five league games have seen five or more goals netted.
Ahead of the season, Dumbarton are 7/4 favourites for the title. This could be the first sign of whether they’ll justify those odds or not.
League 2 – Peterhead v Queen’s Park (Saturday, 3pm)
The play-offs weren’t kind to either of these sides. The Spiders dropped out of League1. Meanwhile, Peterhead failed to win promotion from League 2 despite finishing the season just a point off top spot.
Both are amongst the frontrunners for the title this year, with the Blue Toon 7/4 favourites to lift the crown.
The Blue Toon were the entertainers in League 2 last term, netting a whopping 79 goals. So as well as being a clash of likely title contenders, this should be a goal-filled affair.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing