With no Rangers left to challenge Celtic, will the Hoops walk the league or can any other SPL teams create a serious claim as a contender for the SPL title?

Celtic skipper Scott Brown has insisted that Celtic will be challenged for the title just as normal and the only thing different will be the team that will be there on the run in with them. He thinks that St.Johnstone and Dundee United can be there come the end of the season.
The biggest issue with Dundee United is how they let their players go. Some great talent has gone through Tannadice recently , but due to financial restraints , the club have had to let them go to compete in the SPL. The likes of David Goodwillie, Craig Conway and Lukasz Zaulska have all left the club in the recent history of the club because the club can’t compete with the wage battles of teams south of the border or the Old Firm (when it existed!) . A good team that had a terrible first half of the season followed by a great second half last year will be looking to emulate some of the performances shown in the latter stages of the season, including a win over Rangers in the SPL at Tannadice and Ibrox in the cup.
St.Johnstone are a team who beat Celtic at Celtic Park last season 1-0 early in the calendar and the reason for Celtic’s loss was that they were focusing on European matters. With Celtic focusing all their efforts into qualifying for the Champions League Group phase , St.Johnstone will look to gain some more surprise wins over the Glasgow giants.
The biggest test for Celtic will be finishing off the small games. Lennon actually had one of the best Celtic managerial records in Old Firms. The losses away to Hearts, and dropping points at Pittodre and even at home to the bottom half teams are the kind of results that Lennon will do everything possible to cut out.
Hearts who won the Scottish Cup with a phenomenal win over rivals Hibernian in the final, including a win over Celtic in the Semi Final, will also look to step the club up although the club have lost Rudi Skacel , Craig Beattie , and couldn’t afford to keep Paulo Sergio employed due to financial difficulties.
Aberdeen new boy Niall McGinn who recently signed from current champions Celtic claims that his new side can take Celtic in the title race and these thoughts have been backed by Peter Pawlett , however the recent sale of Fraser Fyvie may prove to take their seriousness of a title challenge down a gear or two.
Who ever does mount a challenge for Celtic next season will need to learn two things quickly ;
How to maintain form & good morale in the camp
How to win games even when they play poorly
The title race will prove interesting as Celtic will certainly have their interests elsewhere with the need to get Champions League football back at Celtic a must. Celtic’s poor pre season form may also be something to be galvanized by if you are a fan of any of the other teams in the league.
No matter who challenges them, the title race will prove to be a good one as the league has never seen anything like this before.

 
By Simon Bienkowski
@simonbien

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