WIMBLEDON is still raging on and The Open has yet to get underway so it feels more than a bit strange for the new Scottish football season to be kicking off today.

But the League Cup group stage has changed the summer landscape in the past few years – and it’s good news for punters as shocks are commonplace.

These group ties have effectively replaced pre-season friendlies for most top-flight clubs and the big boys can often come unstuck with squads still taking shape and players trying to build up their fitness.

That means we could see some surprising results this weekend and a few Premiership sides look a bit undercooked on the evidence of friendly results in the last week or so.

St Mirren v Arbroath

St Mirren have overhauled their squad this summer after a poor start to Stephen Robinson’s reign and lost 3-1 to Northampton in midweek.

They start the League Cup with a home game against an Arbroath side who look the picture of stability under Dick Campbell.

The Gayfield boss has managed to keep most of the players who came within a whisker of winning promotion to the Premiership last term and they could make it hard for a Saints side still very much in transition.

So I’m surprised to see Arbroath at 13/10 with Betway in the double chance market, which also pays out on a draw.

Campbell has built his side on a solid defence and we didn’t see a single goal across two legs of their play-off semi with Inverness.

That makes under 2.5 goals another good option today at 11/8 (Betfair).

Albion Rovers v Livingston

Another friendly result that caught my eye was Livingston’s 3-0 home loss to Morton last weekend.

But the Lions recovered to smash six past East of Scotland side Linlithgow Rose in midweek and now face an Albion Rovers team who finished third bottom of League Two last term.

We should see some goals and Josh Mullin appeals at 15/8 with McBookie after scoring a hat-trick in midweek.

Rovers have netted in all their friendlies so that might make BTTS worth a punt at 11/8 (SpreadEx).

Morton v Falkirk

Morton’s thumping win at the Tony Macaroni probably told us more about what good shape they are in heading into the new campaign.

Their form in the Championship was superb after Dougie Imrie took over last term and that momentum seems to have continued.

Ton begin the League Cup with a home game against a Falkirk side who are rebuilding under new gaffer John McGlynn after another dismal League One campaign.

McGlynn is a good manager but it will probably take him time to make a proper impact so I’d be surprised if Morton didn’t win comfortably.

Ton’s best price is 3/4 at Betway but those odds increase to 9/5 with BoyleSports if you back them to be winning at half-time and full-time.

Kelty Hearts v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

The most intriguing tie today is the clash between League Two champions Kelty Hearts and Inverness in Fife.

Kelty romped to promotion last term but then suffered the blow of losing boss Kevin Thomson, with John Potter taking the reins.

Inverness only just missed out on a place in the Premiership as they lost to St Johnstone in the play-off final.

Those teams faced off once more in a closed-door friendly last week and this time it was Caley Thistle who came out on top with an impressive 6-3 victory.

That suggests they are in good nick for today’s clash with Kelty and Inverness look good value at 23/20 with McBookie for the win.

Billy Mckay netted a treble in that victory over Saints and he’s 11/8 with the same firm to score today.

Hibernian v Clyde

Hibs have been busy in the transfer market this summer with new gaffer Lee Johnson making some big-name signings.

It might take the rejigged Hibees some time to gel but they should still be far too strong for Clyde in their clash at Easter Road today.

Red tape is keeping some new boys on the sidelines but Aiden McGeady should start and McBookie make him evens to score in a Hibs win.

Peterhead v Aberdeen (Sun)

Aberdeen have also overhauled their squad this summer as Jim Goodwin looks to stamp his mark.

A trip to Peterhead tomorrow is a potentially tricky League Cup opener but the Dons boosted their confidence by scoring seven against Brechin City in a midweek friendly.

I fancy the Pittodrie men to win both halves and that pays 9/5 at McBookie.

Dumbarton v Stirling Albion

Elsewhere, I like the 6/5 on offer at Betfred for Dumbarton to chalk up a home win over Stirling Albion.

The Binos shipped three goals in each of their friendly defeats to Airdrie and Albion Rovers so a Sons side relegated from League One should beat them.

Super Singles


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