Scotland’s big kick-off

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 12:10

Scotland's big kick-off

But for a disastrous record against the eventual champions, the Dons could have pushed Celtic even further in the Premiership last season as they secured second spot, their highest in the top flight since 1994. 
Manager: Derek McInnes – Having won the Scottish League Cup in his first season in charge at Pittodrie, McInnes has turned Aberdeen into a hungry and disciplined outfit, capable of challenging Celtic.
Last Season – 2nd
Big Signing – He won the Scottish Cup with Inverness Caledonian Thistle last season and full-back Graeme Shinnie brings experience of winning silverware to the side.
Big Loss – It was hoped that Declan McManus would build on the PFA Scotland League One Player of the Year award he won while on loan at Greenock Morton where he scored 23 goals but he opted to join Fleetwood Town instead.
Despite clinching their fourth Scottish Premiership title in a row last season, Celtic will be aiming to go one further this year as they look to win a domestic treble.
Manager: Ronny Deila – Keen to play attacking football, the signings of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven in January will be important for Deila this season.  
Last Season – 1st
Big Signing – Having lost Jason Denayer, and with the future of Virgil van Dijk under constant speculation, Dedryck Boyata will be key in the heart of the Celtic defence having joined from Manchester City for £1.2m.
Big Loss – Classy defender Jason Denayer, who was named PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year during last season’s loan spell at Celtic Park, has returned to parent club Manchester City where he is eager to break into the first team.
Paul Hartley’s side impressed in their first season back in the Scottish top flight last year, securing a top six place in the Premiership.
Manager: Paul Hartley – Achieved three promotions in his first three years as a manager, twice with Alloa and then with Dundee.
Last Season – 6th
Big Signing – After narrowly missing out on a Scottish Cup winners medal with Falkirk last season, Rory Loy has been tasked with finding the net for Dundee this time around.
Big Loss – Winger Jim McAlister turned down a new deal to stay at Dens Park after three years with the club.
Dundee United
A disappointing slump in form towards the end of last season ensured United missed out on European qualification but they did reach the final of the Scottish League Cup.  
Manager: Jackie McNamara – The former Celtic star has a reputation for bringing through young players and will turn to youngsters again this season as the side aims to challenge for silverware and a European spot.
Last Season – 5th
Big Signing – Following the advice of his big brother Wesley, Rodney Sneijder joined United earlier this week and the midfielder brings experience from the Dutch top flight having come through the youth system at Ajax.
Big Loss – Having lost Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay Steven to Celtic in January last year, United inevitably feared the worst when Ronny Deila cast his eye towards striker Nadir Ciftci who enjoyed a prolific spell at Tannadice.
Hamilton Academical
The loss of manager Alex Neil to Norwich City effectively ended Hamilton’s season last year with safety all but secured but a dismal run meant the Accies missed out on a top six finish.
Manager: Martin Canning – He won just three games after taking over in January but seemed to address an alarming set of initial results towards the end of the campaign.
Last Season – 7th
Big Signing – Former Hearts striker Christian Nade has been brought in to score the goals to keep Hamilton in the Premiership.
Big Loss – Left-back Stephen Hendrie had agreed a pre-contract deal to sign for West Ham in January.
The Tynecastle club romped to the Championship title last season relying largely on a crop of home grown young players and will be looking to make an impression on the top flight this year.
Manager: Robbie Neilson – Led Hearts back to the Premiership with a brand of ruthless and attacking football and is a highly rated young Scottish coach.
Last Season – 1st (Scottish Championship)
Big Signing – Neilson knows all about new signing Gavin Reilly, with the former Queen of the South forward impressing in the Championship last season.
Big Loss – Club captain and centre half Danny Wilson elected to re-join Rangers despite leading Hearts to the Scottish Championship last term.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Last season was the Highland outfit’s most successful ever, as they won the Scottish Cup for the first time and finished third in the League, although they have suffered an early European exit this year.
Manager: John Hughes – ‘Yogi’ has cemented his legendary status at the club thanks to last season but plays passing and stylish football and will be hoping to build again this year.
Last Season – 3rd
Big Signing – Much will be expected of striker Dani Lopez who spent last season on loan at La Roda in the Spanish third tier.
Big Loss – It was already known that Graeme Shinnie had signed a pre-contract agreement with Aberdeen but the loss of the Scottish Cup-winning captain will still hurt.
Rugby Park boss Gary Locke will be keen to avoid flirting with the play-off places as they did towards the end of last season.
Manager: Gary Locke – Has a history of working with young players at Hearts and is well-known for his man-management skills.
Last Season – 10th
Big Signing – Despite a barren spell in front of goal last season for Rangers the return of Kris Boyd should be a positive for Killie.
Big Loss – Former club captain Manuel Pascali, who spent seven years at the club, left to join Cittadella in his homeland and takes plenty of Premiership experience with him.
A surprise participant in last season’s relegation play-off given they had finished second the year before, but a resounding win over Rangers in those ties will give Well belief to aim a little higher this campaign.
Manager: Ian Baraclough –With Stuart McCall’s resignation in January, Sligo Rovers boss Baraclough arrived at Fir Park and eventually secured safety in the play-offs.
Last Season – 11th
Big Signing – Having signed on for what is essentially his third spell with the club, Scott McDonald should pitch in with a few goals.
Big Loss – He was the scourge of Rangers in last season’s play-off ties and Lee Erwin was rewarded for his fine performances with a move to Sky Bet Championship side Leeds United.
Partick Thistle
Thistle have continued to build after their return to the Premiership in 2013, finishing comfortably clear of relegation last season.
Manager: Alan Archibald – The Thistle boss, who guided his side to the Championship title before securing Premiership safety two years in a row, is another exponent of passing and attacking football.
Last Season – 8th
Big Signing –Former Carlisle United winger David Amoo will bring real speed to Thistle and could be a handful for defences this season.
Big Loss – A constant nuisance to opposition defenders, Thistle’s attack will be dampened by the departure of Kallum Higginbotham to Kilmarnock.
Ross County
While Highland rivals Inverness enjoyed their most successful campaign ever last year, County were busy securing safety under Jim McIntyre following the departure of former boss Derek Adams.
Manager: Jim McIntyre – The former Queen of the South boss performed something of a great escape with County last season after taking over the pointless club in September and slowly but surely guiding them to safety.
Last Season – 9th
Big Signing – Having impressed during a season-long loan at Victoria Park last year, County have secured the permanent signing of Australian Jackson Irvine.
Big Loss – Attacking midfielder Graham Carey opted to join former boss Derek Adams at Plymouth Argyle in the summer after two years in Dingwall.
St Johnstone
It was always going to be difficult to top the Scottish Cup-winning season of 2013/14, but finishing fourth last year represented another decent showing from the Perth side.
Manager: Tommy Wright – The Saints boss followed Steve Lomas to McDiarmid Park in November 2011 and has enjoyed a successful spell after taking over the top job two years later.
Big Signing – A proven Premiership goalscorer, John Sutton will provide a real threat for St Johnstone going forward.
Big LossDanny Swanson had provided spark and creativity in the St Johnstone midfield but returned to Coventry City after his loan spell ended.
Scottish Championship
The Scottish Championship promises to provide a hugely exciting campaign with Hibernian and Rangers set to go head-to-head again in the race for promotion.
Manager: Alan Stubbs – Has just committed his future to the club but the former Everton and Celtic defender faces a big challenge from a rejuvenated Rangers in his bid to return the side to the Premiership.
Last Season – 2nd (Championship)
Big Signing – Having already won two promotions with Hearts and Hamilton, the signing of forward James Keatings could prove to be vital.
Big Loss – the future of Scott Allan remains uncertain but the departure of midfielder Liam Craig to former club St Johnstone could be keenly felt.
Huge problems on and off the pitch rendered last season a failure for Rangers as they crumbled in their bid to secure promotion to the Premiership.
Manager: Mark Warburton – The former Brentford boss has been brought in to guide Rangers back to the Premiership, re-invigorate the side and promote young players in a bid to eventually challenge Celtic again.
Last Season – 3rd (Championship)
Big Signing – After such a dramatic squad overhaul it could be difficult to pick out one name with James Tavernier, Andy Halliday and Martyn Waghorn all impressing so far but the capture of centre half Danny Wilson is key.
Big Loss – No fewer than 11 first-team regulars left Ibrox during the summer, including skipper Lee McCulloch, with such a change necessary for a fresh approach.
St Mirren
The decision to let League Cup-winning boss Danny Lennon leave and replace him with Tommy Craig drastically backfired with the Buddies eventually being relegated last season.
Manager: Ian Murray – Impressive in keeping former side Dumbarton, a part-time outfit, in the Scottish Championship, Murray will be expected to challenge for promotion.
Last Season – 12th
Big Signing – Midfielder Stuart Carswell had been an important part of Stuart McCall’s successful Motherwell sides and moved to Paisley on a free transfer.
Big Loss – There were few stand-out performers in a dismal season for St Mirren last year but the loss of Gregg Wylde removes speed and a potential threat from the side going forward. Wylde has signed for Plymouth.
Watch Celtic v Ross County live on Sky Sports 1 from noon on Saturday, August 1 and Dundee United v Aberdeen also live on Sky Sports 1 from 3pm on Sunday, August 2.

More Related Articles