Walker & Crocker’s Scottish Premiership Predictor

The competitive season in Scotland is already in full swing.

At the time of writing all four Scottish teams in Europe are still in their respective competitions and there have already been some top-flight casualties from the group stages of the Betfred Cup.

1:08 Rangers captain James Tavernier sets out aims for the new season

But it’s now time to focus on what we’ve all been waiting for, the return of the Scottish Premiership.

Sky Sports Football will be bringing you new and improved content across TV, digital and social media this season, starting with our coverage of Aberdeen v Rangers this Sunday – live on Sky Sports Football.

Our top-drawer commentary team of Ian Crocker and Andy Walker are also back to preview the first card of fixtures as well as identify their key signings for each club.

1:39 Graeme Shinnie admits he dreams of winning the Scottish Premiership with Aberdeen

Celtic v Livingston – Saturday 3pm

Ian Crocker prediction

Celtic 3-0 Livingston

Celtic have paid huge money to secure Odsonne Edouard on a permanent basis and with good reason. He became a prominent player last season and seems to appreciate he’s at the right club for him right now. Celtic are still the ones to beat but Brendan looks like he wants another player or two. He’s earnt the right.

Kenny Miller will have a big say on and off the field for Livingston and I wish him well. If anyone can rise to the challenge Kenny can. But I’ve been commentating on Kenny for a hundred years so I’m glad to be seeing a bit more of Craig Sibbald, who I always enjoyed watching at Falkirk.

Andy Walker prediction

Celtic 2-0 Livingston

It`s very unlike Celtic to spend so much on one player but the £8m outlay on Odsonne Edouard, the 20-year-old Frenchman, highlights the gulf in spending power between the Scottish champions and everyone else chasing them. Brendan Rodgers has very often favoured playing with the just the one recognised striker but recently has chosen both Edouard and Moussa Dembele as a strong front two. If he stays fit, I expect Edouard to finish as the league`s top scorer.

For Livingston, it`s all about Kenny Miller and what he can achieve both on and off the park. Signed as both a player and manager, he`ll have to deal with arguably the smallest budget in the league. I think he`s still got the ability to score goals at this level. Enough to avoid relegation? They`ll compete with St Mirren and Hamilton at the foot of the table.

Celtic competitive fixtures so far-

10/07/2018 – Alashkert 0-3 Celtic – CL QR1 1st Leg
18/07/2018 – Celtic 3-0 Alashkert – CL QR1 2nd Leg
25/07/2018 – Celtic 3-1 Rosenborg – CL QR2 1st Leg
01/08/2018 – Rosenborg 0-0 Celtic – CL QR2 2nd Leg

Celtic players in-

Odsonne Edouard (PSG, £9m)
Scott Bain (Dundee, Undiscl)

Celtic players out-

Stuart Armstrong (Southampton, £8m)
Nadir Ciftci (Genclerbirligi, Free)
Erik Sviatchenko (FC Midtjylland, Undiscl)
Anthony Ralston (Dundee Utd, Loan)

Livingston competitive fixtures so far-

14/07/2018 – Airdrieonians 1-2 Livingston – Betfred Cup Group F
17/07/2018 – Hamilton Accies 0-0 Livingston (5-6 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group F
21/07/2018 – Livingston 1-0 Annan Ath – Betfred Cup Group F
28/07/2018 – Livingston 2-0 Berwick Rangers – Betfred Cup Group F

Livingston players in-

Craig Sibbald (Falkirk, Undiscl)
Steven Saunders (The New Saints, Free)
Liam Kelly (Rangers, Undiscl)
Ricki Lamie (Greenock Morton, Free)
Callum Crane (Hibernian, Undiscl)
Cameron Blues (Falkirk, Free)
Kenny Miller (Rangers, Free, Player/Manager)
Ross Stewart (St Mirren, Undiscl)
Steven Lawless (Partick Thistle, Free)
Ryan Hardie (Rangers, Loan)
Egil Kaja (AFC Wimbledon, Loan)

Livingston players out-

Neil Alexander (Retired)
Josh Mullin (Ross County, Free)
Jackson Longridge (Dunfermline Ath, Free)
Gregor Buchanan (Greenock Morton, Free)
Dylan Mackin (Falkirk, Undisl)
Josh Peters (Queen’s Park, Free)

Hamilton Accies v Hearts – Saturday 3pm

Ian Crocker prediction

Hamilton Accies 0-2 Hearts

A consistent performer in his first spell at the club Ziggy Gordon will know everything about the requirements at Accies. Another relegation battle seems more than likely but at least they’re not favourites to go down for a change!

Uche Ikpeazu looks a real handful and the fans have taken to him already but I’m glad Steven Naismith decided to return north. Knows the score, knows the league, knows the game. I like the way he can look after himself on a pitch. He’s a good all round watch!

Andy Walker prediction

Hamilton Accies 1-3 Hearts

I saw Aaron McGowan play a couple of times at right back for Morecambe last season and it`s an area that Hamilton have identified as a weakness over the last couple of years. Martin Canning works wonders every season just keeping Accies in the top flight, there`s plenty of new signings to hope things can get better for the Lanarkshire men.

Former Cambridge Utd striker Uche Ikpeazu has settled in quickly at Tynecastle and his performance last weekend against ICT was exactly what the Hearts fans are looking for in a striker. Strong, physical, good in the air and scores goals, he`ll be a key player in their quest to challenge for a European place.

Hamilton Accies competitive fixtures so far-

14/07/2018 – Annan Ath 1-0 Hamilton Accies – Betfred Cup Group F
17/07/2018 – Hamilton Accies 0-0 Livingston (5-6 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group F
24/07/2018 – Berwick Rangers 0-4 Hamilton Accies – Betfred Cup Group F
28/07/2018 – Hamilton Accies 1-1 Airdrieonians (3-0 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group F

Hamilton Accies players in-

Alex Penny (Peterborough Utd, Undiscl)
Ziggy Gordon (Jagiellonia Bialystok, Free)
Tom Taiwo (Falkirk, Free)
Aaron McGowan (Morecambe, Free)
Sam Kelly (Grimsby Town, Free)
Aaron Smith (Nottingham Forest, Free)
Lennard Sowah (Free)
Mason Enigbokan-Bloomfield (Norwich City, Loan)
Adam Phillips (Norwich City, Loan)

Hamilton Accies players out-

Kenny Van der Weg (Roeselare, Free)
Antonio Rojano (Released)
Giannis Skondras (Released)
David Templeton (Released)
Georgios Sarris (Released)
Ali Crawford (Released)
Lewis Ferguson (Released)
Xavier Tomas (Released)
Danny Redmond (Released)

Hearts competitive fixtures so far-

18/07/2018 – Cove Rangers 1-2* Hearts – Betfred Cup Group C
21/07/2018 – Raith Rovers 1-1 Hearts (2-4 penalites) – Betfred Cup Group C
24/07/2018 – Hearts 5-0 Cowdenbeath – Betfred Cup Group C
29/07/2018 – Hearts 5-0 Inverness CT – Betfred Cup Group C

Hearts players in-

Bobby Burns (Glenavon, Undiscl)
Ben Garuccio ( Adelaide United, Free)
Zdenek Zlamal (Zlin, Free)
Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle, Free)
Oliver Bozanic (Melbourne Victory, Free)
Peter Haring (SV Ried, Free)
Olly Lee (Luton Town, Free)
Jake Mulraney (Inverness CT, Free)
Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone, Free)
Uche Ikpeazu (Cambridge United, Free transfer)
Colin Doyle (Bradford City, Free)
Steven Naismith (Norwich City, Loan)

Hearts players out-

Jack Hamilton (Dundee, Undiscl)
Jon McLaughlin (Sunderland, Free)
Nikolay Todorov (Released)
Prince Buaben (Released)
Conor Sammon (Motherwell, Loan)

Kilmarnock v St Johnstone – Saturday 3pm

Ian Crocker prediction

Kilmarnock 1-0 St Johnstone

Mikael Ndjoli has a terrific scoring record in Millwall and Bournemouth’s youth system. He’s arrived on loan and will provide useful back up. He’s quick and pacey with an eye for goal. Just like Kris Boyd. Well, one out of those three in Boydy’s case!

Tony Tony Tony. Please let this be the club for you. Tommy Wright could actually be just the manager Tony Watt needs and early signs have been encouraging. Still only 24, hopefully this move will work out well. Every chance.

Andy Walker prediction

Kilmarnock 1-1 St Johnstone

Stuart Findlay – Turning his loan deal from Newcastle into a permanent move is good business by Stevie Clarke, last season`s Manager of the Year. Youssouf Mulumbu will surely prove to be a big loss but Findlay knows the Scottish scene well.

Tony Watt is now on his eighth club since leaving Celtic, at 24 he must be able to concentrate and focus on becoming a regular scorer for Tommy Wright`s men, a problem area for them. Michael O`Halloran was top scorer last season with just 5 goals.

Kilmarnock competitive fixtures so far-

13/07/2018 – Kilmarnock 0-0 St Mirren (3-2 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group H
21/07/2018 – Dumbarton 2-4 Kilmarnock – Betfred Cup Group H
24/07/2018 – Spartans 0-3 Kilmarnock – Betfred Cup Group H
28/07/2018 – Kilmarnock 2-0 Queen’s Park – Betfred Cup Group H

Kilmarnock players in-

Stuart Findlay (Unattached, Free)
Ross Millen (Queen’s Park, Free)
Mikael Ndjoli (Bournemouth, Loan)

Kilmarnock players out-

Steven Smith (Released)
Gordon Green (Released)
Adam Frizzell (Livingston, Loan)
Youssouf Mulumbu (Released)

St Johnstone competitive fixtures so far-

14/07/2018 – St Johnstone 0-0 East Fife (5-4 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group B
21/07/2018 – Montrose 0-1 St Johnstone – Betfred Cup Group B
24/07/2018 – St Johnstone 1-0 Falkirk – Betfred Cup Group B
28/07/2018 – Forfar Ath 1-3 St Johnstone – Betfred Cup Group B

St Johnstone players in-

Drey Wright (Colchester Utd, Free)
Tony Watt (Free)
Matthew Kennedy (Free)
Conor Mitchell (Burnley, Loan)

St Johnstone players out-

Daniel Jardine (Stirling Albion, Free)
Keith Watson (Ross County, Free)
Steven MacLean (Hearts, Free)
Alan Mannus (Shamrock Rovers, Free)
Cameron Thomson (Stirling Albion, Free)
Chris Millar (Released)

St Mirren v Dundee – Saturday 3pm

Ian Crocker prediction

St Mirren 1-1 Dundee

After a spell at St Johnstone, Matty Willock has returned north on loan from Manchester United, and there’s always a bit of an expectancy from anyone who’s at United. Plus he was at Arsenal before them! His footballing brothers are doing rather well too so he’ll be planning to keep up!

Jean Alassane Mendy looks like he’ll bring something a bit different to the party for Dundee as they seek to improve their attacking options. Plus if he really has got Neil McCann learning French I can’t wait to hear that!

Andy Walker prediction

St Mirren 1-2 Dundee

The only positive aspect for St Mirren when I saw them being thrashed 6-0 at home to Sunderland recently was Hayden Coulson. The 20-year-old former Middlesbrough left back was excellent both in defence and attack.

Jack Hamilton has signed a 3-year deal at Dundee and that show`s a bit of commitment from Neil McCann`s men in an area they haven`t really been happy with since Scott Bain left the club. A great chance for him to become a recognised No 1.

St Mirren competitive fixtures so far-

13/07/2018 – Kilmarnock 0-0 St Mirren (3-2 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group H
17/07/2018 – St Mirren 2-2 Spartans (5-3 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group H
24/07/2018 – Queen’s Park 0-0 St Mirren (4-5 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group H
28/07/2018 – St Mirren 6-0 Dumbarton – Betfred Cup Group H

St Mirren players in-

James Kellermann (Aldershot Town, Free)
Paul McGinn (Partick Thistle, Undiscl)
Josh Heaton (Darlington, £75,000)
Cody Cooke (Truro City, Free)
Jeff King (Bolton Wanderers, Free)
Cole Kpekawa (Colchester United, Free)
Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough, Loan)
Danny Rogers (Aberdeen, Loan)
Matty Willock (Manchester United, Loan)

St Mirren players out-

Josh Todd (Queen of the South, Free)
Darryl Duffy (Airdrieonians, Free)
Andrew McDonald (Stranraer, Free)
Gavin Reilly (Bristol Rovers, Free)
Ross Stewart (Livingston, Undiscl)
Myles Hippolyte (Dunfermline Athletic, Undiscl)
Stelios Demetriou (Released)
Harry Davis (Released)
John Sutton (Released)

Dundee competitive fixtures so far-

14/07/2018 – Stirling Albion 0-4 Dundee – Betfred Cup Group D
22/07/2018 – Dundee 0-1 Dunfermline Ath – Betfred Cup Group D
25/07/2018 – Peterhead 0-2 Dundee – Betfred Cup Group D
28/07/2018 – Dundee 2-0 Brechin City – Betfred Cup Group D

Dundee players in-

Elton Ngwatala (Kidderminster Harriers, Free)
Jack Hamilton (Hearts, Undisclosed)
Nathan Ralph (Woking, Free)
Jean Alassane Mendy (Lokeren, Free)
Adil Nabi (Unattached, Free)

Dundee players out-

Mark O’Hara (Peterborough Utd, Undiscl)
Scott Bain (Celtic, Undiscl)
James Vincent (Dunfermline Ath, Loan)
Kerr Waddell (Greenock Morton, Loan)
Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dunfermline Ath, Loan)
Marcus Haber (Falkirk, Loan)
Kevin Holt (Released)
Jon Aurtenetxe (Released)
Julen Etxabeguren (Released)
Kostadin Gadzhalov (Released)

Aberdeen v Rangers – Live on Sky Sports Sunday 1pm

Ian Crocker prediction

Aberdeen 1-2 Rangers

Stephen Gleeson is a neat and tidy and competitive midfielder with bags of experience from tough leagues in England. He’s trying something different and good on him for that. May not score as many as Kenny McLean although he has claimed a few crackers in his time. I was going for a 2-2 in this game but Walker beat me to it!

With McGregor barking away in goal and a couple of sturdy centre-halves in Goldson and Katic, Rangers have a lot more strength and aggression. Having followed Scott Arfield‘s career closely he won’t be getting pushed about either. Should bring a lot to the team and has a goal in him. It will be fascinating to see how the manager and his many signings settle in. A testing run of early away games will tell them and us more.

Andy Walker prediction

Aberdeen 2-2 Rangers

Tommie Hoban played very well as a left back against Burnley in the Europa League, he`ll have to get used to the constant demands of Scottish football given that he`s not played an awful lot of football in the last few seasons.

Conor Goldson is a truly remarkable story. After recovering from heart surgery at 24 to get the chance of signing for Rangers in what should prove to be a fascinating story under the guidance of Steven Gerrard. We know Rangers are capable of scoring goals, Goldson has the responsibility to improve the team defensively.

Aberdeen competitive fixtures so far-

26/07/2018 – Aberdeen 1-1 Burnley – EL QR2 1st Leg

Aberdeen players in-

Chris Forrester (Peterborough United, Undiscl)
Stephen Gleeson (Ipswich Town, Free)
Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Accies, Free)
Tomas Cerny (Partick Thistle, Free)
Dominic Ball, Rotherham Utd, Loan)
Tommie Hiban (Watford, Loan)

Aberdeen players out-

Kari Arnason (Vikingur Reykjavik, Free)
Anthony O’Connor (Bradford City, Free)
Daniel Harvie (Ayr United, Free)
Adam Rooney (Salford City, Undiscl)
Danny Rogers (St Mirren, Loan)
Nicky Maynard (Released)

Rangers competitive fixtures so far-

12/07/2018 – Rangers 2-0 Shkupi – EL QR1 1st Leg
17/07/2018 – Shkupi 0-0 Rangers – EL QR1 1st Leg
26/07/2018 – Osijek 0-1 Rangers – EL QR2 1st Leg

Rangers players in-

Scott Arfield (Burnley, Free)
Allan McGregor (Hull City, Free)
Jamie Murphy (Brighton & Hove Albion, £1m)
Nikola Katic (NK Slaven Belupo, £2m)
Connor Goldson (Brighton & Hove Albion, £3m)
Jon Flanagan (Unattached, Free)
Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool, Loan)
Lassana Coulibaly (Angers, Loan)
Sadiq Umar (Roma, Loan)
Ryan Kent (Liverpool, Loan)

Rangers players out-

Liam Kelly (Livingston, Undiscl)
Michael O’Halloran (Melbourne City, Undiscl)
Kenny Miller (Livingston, Free
David Bates (Hamburg, Free)
Harry Forrester (Tractor Sazi FC, Loan)
Joe Dodoo (Blackpool, Loan)
Jason Holt (Fleetwood Town, Loan)
Ryan Hardie (Livingston, Loan)
Eduardo Herrera (Santos Laguna, Loan)
Bruno Alves (Released)
Fabio Cardoso (Released)

Hibernian v Motherwell -Sunday 3pm

Ian Crocker prediction

Hibernian 2-2 Motherwell

No wonder Neil Lennon made his move to secure Florian Kamberi on a permanent basis after some impressive performances on loan last season. Dylan McGeouch will be a big miss. Maybe John McGinn too. Whatever happens life will never be remotely dull when Hibs are around. Good on them!

At times Conor Sammon can be unplayable but at times he can fire blanks for long periods. I still remember that half a season at Kilmarnock though! Been struggling for somewhere to call home in recent seasons so he and Motherwell could be a perfect fit.

Andy Walker prediction

Hibernian 1-0 Motherwell

Hibs will need Florian Kamberi’s goals this season if, as seems likely, Neil Lennon will have to do without John McGinn as well as Dylan McGeouch this season. It`ll be a tall order to match the consistency of last season.

Can Conor Sammon threaten the likes of Ryan Bowman and Curtis Main up front as the main striker for a Motherwell side who surpassed all expectations last season in getting to both Cup Finals?

Hibernian competitive fixtures so far-

12/07/2018 – Hibernian 6-1 Runavik – EL QR1 1st Leg
19/07/2018 – Hibernian 6-4 Runavik – EL QR1 2nd Leg
26/07/2018 – Hibernian 3-2 Asteras Tripolis – EL QR2 1st Leg

Hibernian players in-

Florian Kamberi (Grasshoppers, Undiscl)
Stephen Mallan (Barnsley, Undiscl)
Adam Bogdan (Liverpool, Loan)

Hibernian players out-

Cammy Bell (Partick Thistle, Free)
Dylan McGeouch (Sunderland, Free)
Simon Murray (Bidvest Wits, Undiscl)

Motherwell competitive fixtures so far-

17/07/2018 – Motherwell 5-0 Edinburgh City – Betfred Cup Group G
21/07/2018 – Stranraer 1-1 Motherwell (3-2 penalties) – Betfred Cup Group G
24/07/2018 – Motherwell 2-0 Queen of the South – Betfred Cup Group G
28/07/2018 – Clyde 1-3 Motherwell – Betfred Cup Group G

Motherwell players in-

Mark Gillespie (Walsall, Free)
Liam Donnelly (Hartlepool United, Undiscl)
Danny Johnson (Gateshead, Undiscl)
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Free, Unattached)
Neil McLaughlin (Partick Thistle, Free)
Conor Sammon (Hearts, Loan)

Motherwell players out-

Deimantas Petravicius (Released)
Ellis Plummer (Released)
Russell Griffiths (Released)
Ross MacLean (Greenock Morton, Loan)

Source.