WE'VE had the Women's World Cup, Copa America, Nations League, hundreds of friendlies and European qualifiers but after 10 long weeks we see the return of league action across all four Scottish divisions.
It's been a busy summer for clubs as it always is and you have to feel for the smaller clubs who don't have long to assemble a squad in time for the Betfred Cup matches.
Mr F has done a great antepost preview and it's hard to disagree with any of it. Based on the summer transfer activity, comings and goings, I've pulled together a summary of the markets and teams worth backing.
We'll get a flavour of who to back after a few rounds of fixtures but in the meantime here's my thoughts.
Days of clubs like St Johnstone, Motherwell or Kilmarnock breaking up the big five I feel are over – the rich are getting richer and even the clubs like Aberdeen and Hibs are able to splash out six-figure fees on players, something the league's provincial clubs can only dream of.
Rangers particularly look stronger and at Ibrox I can see them dishing out plenty of hidings against the like of Hamilton, Livingston and St Mirren (something they didn't do enough of last season) – they should be a much more reliable outfit to back this season.
- Back Rangers team goals
- Back Rangers corners
The Championship again is super competitive and Dundee United again lead the antepost markets and should finally get out of the league.
Probably not a lot between clubs like Partick Thistle, Dunfermline and Inverness but what I would say it's highly unlikely part-time Alloa will perform another miracle to stay in the league. Jim Goodwin worked miracles last season but with him moving on to St Mirren it's going to be extremely tough.
- Back Dundee United
- Alloa to struggle
Scottish League One
It's always been a favourite league for goals and this season is no different. Falkirk are the big fish in this small pond and I'd fully expect them to come straight back up after last season's calamity. They have an experienced side and should be the team to back.
I look the look of Airdrie and I like what they are trying to do at the club with the hybrid part-time/ full-time model. Ian Murray has made a number of astute signings and they should be challenging for second place.
- Back Falkirk and Airdrie
Scottish League Two
For me it's all about Cove Rangers – they have the set-up, the infrastructure, the manager and the players to make it back-to-back promotions. Paul Hartley you could argue could be managing at a higher level so it's a major coup for Cove (Falkirk fans may disagree).
They've already shown in the Betfred Cup they are a match for anyone and will be the team to beat scoring plenty of goals at home.
- Back Cove Rangers