RANGERS made just the slow start Celtic wanted on Saturday and the Hoops should take advantage by taking an early lead in the title race.

The July start has concerned some teams who don't feel their ready and that looked the case for Rangers who took time to get going before battling back to draw with Hearts.

Celtic will hope to hit the ground running at Hibs on Sunday lunchtime as they try to stop their rivals making it four SPL titles in a row.

Neil Lennon has the benefit of a year's extra experience and has strengthened a defence that cost his side vital points last season.

His squad isn't yet completed but they look in good enough shape to see off a Hibs side whose main concern has been about the future of boss Colin Calderwood.

Hibs have brought back Garry O'Connor and Ivan Sproule but they are unlikely to be as big hits as in their first spells at the club. Celtic aren't big at a best 2-5 with Stan James but should bring back three points.

Caldo's men are a best 15-2 with bet365 but won't have many backers and I can see Celtic winning by two or more goals. That pays 11-10 with Betfred and Stan James.

Gary Hooper is the Golden Boot favourite and he'll be hoping to get off to a flier in Edinburgh. The Hoops marksman is 3-1 with Victor Chandler to break the deadlock and worth a look at 5-6 with boylesports to score at any time.

Kris Commons had a great run after signing from Derby last January and is 9-2 with totesport and Chandler to break the deadlock.

O'Connor is 11-1 at Paddy Power and bet365 to score on his second competitive debut for the Hibees.

The other SPL game sees Dundee United at home to Kilmarnock as they look to put their European disappointment behind them.

United crashed out of the Europa League at  the first hurdle to Poles Slask Wroclaw but the two 90-minute workouts are bound to have held them in good stead for their SPL opener.

Despite the KO, boss Peter Houston will be happy that three different strikers, David Goodwillie, Johnny Russell and Jon Daly, scored in a second-leg home victory.

Killie have lost the bulk of the side that guided them to a top-six place last season and boss Kenny Shiels is struggling to follow up the success of boss Mixu Paatelainen. United should be too strong here and I like them at 5-6 with Betfred.

If it wasn't for his off-field problems Goodwillie would be at Rangers or with an English club just now. It's lucky for United they have still got him and he's 4-1 with the likes of Paddy Power and William Hill to score first.


Celtic -1

(11-10, Betfred, Stan James)

Hooper to score

(5-6, boylesports)

Dundee United

(5-6, Betfred)


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