IT seems absurd to be talking about managers being under pressure as we head into the opening Premiership weekend.
Yet there are more than a few gaffers in desperate need of a victory after early exits from the League Cup.
The group stage usually throws up a few surprises but there were far more than expected this summer with Hibs, St Mirren and St Johnstone all suffering knockout blows.
That has increased the scrutiny on new Hibees gaffer Lee Johnson while Stephen Robinson and Callum Davidson were already feeling the heat at the respective Saints after bad results at the end of last term.
Motherwell’s Graham Alexander has already been axed after fans chanted “you’re getting sacked in the morning” as the Steelmen bowed out of the Europa Conference League to Sligo Rovers.
So the other three will be desperate to get off the mark quickly in the league to get fans back onside.
First up is a clash between Hibs and St Johnstone in Perth today and it’s tough to call with McBookie making Johnson’s men slight favourites at 11/8.
Saints are 11/4 shots but plenty of punters will fancy a draw at 21/10. I can see it being close so I’m on the half-time stalemate at evens with SkyBet.
Tackles can sometimes be tasty on opening day and Ryan Porteous appeals for a card at 21/10 with Bet365.
Motherwell turned in one of the most inept displays of a Scottish side in Europe as they lost 2-0 in Sligo to complete a 3-0 aggregate loss.
So you have to fancy St Mirren against a managerless side tomorrow, with the Buddies a best 17/10 with SBK for the win.
The Paisley men look to have signed a dangerous striker in the shape of Jonah Ayunga.
He netted twice against Edinburgh City last weekend and is a tempting 47/20 for anytime scorer with Unibet.
The season kicks off with a lunchtime date for Rangers at the Tony Macaroni.
Livingston’s plastic pitch can be treacherous but the Ibrox side have won on their last three visits, conceding just once. That’s why
Gers are McBookie’s 2/5 hot favourites but the odds increase to a decent 23/20 for a win to nil.
Jack Fitzwater picked up two yellows in Livingston’s League Cup group and appeals for a card today at 16/5 with William Hill.
New boy Antonio Colak should lead the line for Rangers and Unibet price him at 49/50 for a goal on his competitive debut.
Champions Celtic begin at home to Aberdeen tomorrow and it’s an early test of the nerve with the Dons winning all their League Cup games without even conceding a goal.
The Hoops are still huge favourites at a best 3/11 with SBK but I fancy the Dons to score as Ange Postecoglou’s men were coughing up a lot of chances in pre-season.
Reo Hatate has looked back to his best in Celtic’s friendlies and the Japanese midfielder is 5/2 with Unibet for anytime scorer.
It looks like Aberdeen new boy Anthony Stewart likes a crunching tackle and he’s a tempting 2/1 at Bet365 to be carded.
Kilmarnock are back in the
Premiership and their opener against Dundee United is intriguing.
It’s another match that promises to be tight so I’m on the half-time draw again at evens with McBookie.
Jack Ross looks to have recruited well for United and sealing a permanent deal for Dylan Levitt is a great bit of business.
The Welsh midfielder impressed on loan from Old Trafford last term and looks overpriced at 11/2 with McBookie for anytime scorer.
Hearts have also made some shrewd signings and should be too strong for a new-look Ross County side at Tynecastle today.
Lawrence Shankland scored twice in a friendly win over Stoke and the Jambos new boy is 11/10 with the same firm for a goal today.
The Staggies were kings of the BTTS market last term so I’m sticking with that in the new campaign and it pays a best 19/20 with Unibet.