4 Ladbrokes SPFL sides heading into league season in fine form
The Ladbrokes SPFL’s four divisions kick off in just a fortnight’s time – but some sides are already proving their potential ahead of the opening day fixtures.
With sides across the land having played games in pre-season, the League Cup and – in some cases – European competition, we’ve had the chance to take a good look at every team.
So, without further ado, here’s Ladbrokes News’ pick of the side from each division who will have their league rivals worrying…
With Rangers and St Johnstone having fallen at the first hurdle in the Europa League, the Dons were left flying the flag for Scotland – and delivered plenty of cheer with an impressive 3-1 aggregate win against Bosnian outfit Siroki Brijeg.
After a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie, the Reds produced a counter-attacking masterclass in the Balkans, with newboys Greg Stewart and Gary Mackay-Steven netting the goals in a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory.
Add to that a 3-0 friendly rout of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, and everything suggests they’ll be Celtic’s strongest challengers again in this Premiership campaign.
Dunfermline Athletic (Championship)
Three games, three triumphs. 11 goals scored and just one conceded. That’s the story of the Pars rip-roaring League Cup success this season.
Allan Johnston’s men ran riot against Elgin City in their first group game, winning 6-0, with Nicky Clark grabbing a stunning four goals in the process. That was followed by a penalty shoot-out victory away at East Fife, before Dunfermline put another opponent – Peterhead – to the sword at East End Park.
The Fife club breezed to a 5-1 victory, though in truth they could have scored twice as many had they taken their chances. While Championship opposition will prove a stiffer test, their dominance on home turf can’t be overestimated.
Ayr United (League 1)
There haven’t been too many major upsets in the League Cup so far, but the Honest Men’s 1-0 victory over Premiership Kilmarnock caused quite a stir, and gave Gary Bollan’s men a first Ayrshire Derby win in 16 years.
The League 1 outfit then followed that up with a 3-1 victory at Championship Dumbarton on Tuesday night, with youngsters Robbie Crawford and Declan McDaid amongst the goals.
Next up for Ayr? A meeting with the next side in our list. That means something has to give, one way or the other.
Clyde (League 2)
Fans of the Bully Wee have seen several highly-rated squads fail to deliver promotion from the fourth-tier, but the early signs suggest the Cumbernauld club could buck that trend this season.
Jim Chapman’s signalled their intent with a 3-1 friendly triumph over Airdrieonians at Broadwood Stadium, but it’s in the cup where Clyde have really caught the eye.
As well as grabbing a comfortable victory over Annan Athletic and a comeback win against Dumbarton, they put up quite the fight against Kilmarnock, leading 2-1 for much of the game before eventually succumbing to a second-half defeat.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing