THERE'S just 42 days to the start of the season and the first Scottish ante-posts are out.

McBookie.com and Coral were first to complete the full set of leagues – followed quickly by Paddy Power and Ladbrokes  – and as far as they're concerned next season's champions will be Celtic, Hamilton, Brechin and Alloa.

With the transfer window still to open having an early punt isn't always the best policy but if you fancy a particular side you're likely to get a better price now.

As always it's a two-horse race in the SPL so you either pick Rangers or Celtic or focus on the race for third place which went to Hearts last time out.

It was a toss-up between the Old Firm last season with Rangers winning by a point and it promises to be just as close next season as Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon go head to head for the first time.

I'd reserve judgment on picking a winner until I see the squads more or less finalised but at the moment I'd side with Lennon simply it will be a tough task for Coisty in his first season in charge although he's sure to have regular contact with Walter Smith.

Most firms have priced up the SPL market and Celtic are a best 4-5 with Ladbrokes with Rangers 11-10 at bet365.

Hearts are 5-2 favourites with McBookie.com to win without the Old Firm and are 66-1 on the outrights ahead of 125-1 Dundee United and.

Jim Jefferies has already been busy in the signing market and after a poor end to the season I reckon they'll enjoy another decent campaign and once again claim third spot especially if Dundee United lose star striker David Goodwillie.

In the First Division it's no surprise Hamilton are hot favourites at 13-8 with McBookie.com but Paddy Power go 3-1 and instead have Dundee as the ones to beat at 2-1.

After losing their SPL status Accies have held on to boss Billy Reid and the bulk of their key players so they'll be the team to beat.

Dundee will push them close if they repeat the sort of form they showed after going into administration.

Falkirk, another side who have kept their boss, are third favourites at 6-1 with McBookie.com, but don't look as good as the top two in the market.

Then come Second Division champs Livingston at 13-2 ahead of Gerry Britton's Partick Thistle (8-1).

The Second Division looks a tough one to call. Brechin are McBookie's 9-4 favourites but struggled towards the end of last season and key to their chances could be the future of top scorer Rory McAllister.

Relegated Cowdenbeath are 7-2 second favourites but have lost influential boss Jimmy Nicholl while 5-1 Forfar, like Brechin, flattered to deceive towards the end of last season.

Stirling, who were also relegated are 6-1 ahead of East Fife 7-1 but the sides to focus on are improving pair Airdrie (8-1) and 12-1 Dumbarton.

Relegated Alloa, under Paul Hartley, are 11-4 Third Division favourites but it may take the former Scotland star some time to get going.

Peterhead are next at 10-3 but I'd rather focus on play-off losers Queen's Park at 4-1. They have a strong side, with some good kids coming through and just missed out last season.

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