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Scottish Premiership 2022/23: Kris Boyd and Andy Walker's league predictions for the new top-flight season

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The 2022/23 Scottish Premiership season is underway and just before it all kicked-off Sky Sports pundits Kris Boyd and Andy Walker predicted where each side will finish...

Aberdeen

Andy Walker: 4th

I am hoping to see a lot more from Aberdeen after finishing in the bottom half of the table last season. That was not good enough for a club of Aberdeen's standing and this is a season of change under Jim Goodwin. The Stephen Glass appointment did not work after the success of Derek McInnes. I think Jim is being given the chance to put his own mark on the team, having signed a number of new players, and it will be interesting to see how those signings perform at Pittodrie. It will be tough to replace Lewis Ferguson and Calvin Ramsay, but Aberdeen did well to get a lot of money in for those two and hopefully for the fans, those who have come in since can fire the Dons up the league.

Jim Goodwin
Image: This is a season of change under Jim Goodwin, says Andy Walker

Kris Boyd: 4th

Aberdeen will be back in the top six this season, and I think they have the quality to push up into those European places. They have a good manager in Jim Goodwin who is known for getting the best out of individuals and structuring a team that will be hard to beat. He strikes me as someone who will not carry any passengers - hard work is key. They have recruited well and have experience in the squad which is why I believe they will push on and be back where they should be, in that top four.

Celtic

Andy Walker: 1st

I think Ange Postecoglou's side will finish top again because they are more settled than Rangers. It was good business to get Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers to commit to the club on a longer-term basis and there have been some new players arrive too, creating that extra competition for places. I think Celtic have spent really well and got their business done really early, giving the manager time to work with his players, unlike what happened 12 months ago. It will be a close title race and Rangers will no doubt be looking to strengthen further, but I think Celtic have enough to retain the title.

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Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is demanding more from his squad as they look to defend the Scottish Premiership title and compete in the Champions League

Kris Boyd: 2nd

There was not much between Rangers and Celtic last season and it will be another close-run title race this time around. Ange Postecoglou has added to his squad and secured the permanent signings of Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers, who were excellent last season. However, being champions brings added pressure and every team will be out to frustrate Celtic. Nobody expected Celtic to hit the levels we saw last year - it was a fantastic turnaround from where they found themselves - but the fans will demand they perform in Europe too. It's a balancing act Celtic have had to contend with in the past, but the Champions League group stages are a massive step up from the Europa Conference League and for that reason no one will be surprised I have them as runners-up.

Dundee United

Andy Walker: 5th

It's been another summer of change at Tannadice with Jack Ross coming in for Tam Courts and some key players like Benjamin Siegrist leaving for Celtic. However, Ross has good experience and did a good job at Hibs, plus when you look at Steven Fletcher and Dylan Levitt joining on permanent deals, United have the basis of a decent team. Defensively they are very sound and if they can keep that going, I think another top-six finish is achievable.

Can Steven Fletcher light up the Scottish Premiership after his 13-season absence?
Image: Can Steven Fletcher light up the Scottish Premiership after his 13-season absence?

Kris Boyd: 6th

I do not think Dundee United will improve on last season's fantastic fourth-place finish and if Aberdeen and Hibernian turn things around, I would expect those two clubs to also finish in the top six. The goal will be to get into those European places again and it will be tough, but the signing of Steven Fletcher, plus keeping Dylan Levitt at Tannadice, could be key. I almost went for fifth, but after a summer of change and with Jack Ross at the helm, it will still be a fantastic achievement to finish in the top six.

Hearts

Andy Walker: 3rd

Hearts may have John Souttar to Rangers, plus Ellis Simms and Ben Woodburn, but there is still the basis of a very good squad at Tynecastle and I expect them to finish ahead of everyone outside of Celtic and Rangers. They have a good manager in Robbie Neilson, who has deservedly been awarded a new deal and he has added to the team again this summer with some new faces.

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Hearts manager Robbie Neilson wants to build a squad that can compete in Europe while challenging Celtic and Rangers domestically

Kris Boyd: 3rd

Hearts are definitely going to be playing European football until November at the very least due to the fact they will drop into the Europa Conference League if they fail to progress in the Europa League, so it's going to be a different challenge playing on Thursday then Sunday. However, once again, they have done an excellent job since coming up from the Championship and I expect them to finish third behind Rangers and Celtic.

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Hibernian

Andy Walker: 6th

There is a lot expected of Lee Johnson given the players he has brought in. David Marshall has a point to prove, as will Aiden McGeady following his spell on the sidelines, meanwhile Jair Tavares has come in from Benfica and will want to make his mark. When you then look at Ewan Henderson, who has joined from Celtic, and Nohan Kenneh from Leeds United too - they have certainly added to the squad. Hibs are a great club to be at, but they need to be a lot more consistent than they were last season. It has not been the best start for them, being knocked out of the League Cup, but I do think they will improve both on and off the field to ensure they finish in the top six.

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Hibernian boss Lee Johnson hopes to sign two more players ahead of the new season but admits Ryan Porteous is yet to accept a new contract

Kris Boyd: 5th

Hibs must improve and a mid-table finish is roughly where they are at this moment in time. They are still bedding in a lot of new players under a new manager, and I believe there will be a fair few more new faces to come in. I do think Hibs will improve this season, but with St Johnstone away first up and then the Edinburgh derby looming in the second round of matches - live on Sky Sports - a positive start is needed or the natives will become restless.

Kilmarnock

Andy Walker: 9th

Kilmarnock certainly will not be as bad as Dundee, who came up from the Championship last season and went straight back down again. I think they will finish ninth, a bit away from the bottom two. When you have got a goalscorer like Kyle Lafferty and someone who can make the difference like Liam Donnelly, I think they will avoid being sucked into that relegation battle. They will want to consolidate this season and although Derek McInnes is an ambitious manager, I do not expect them to be in the top half this season.

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Derek McInnes discusses why he resigned Jordan Jones and looks ahead to the new season as Kilmarnock prepare for life back in the Scottish Premiership

Kris Boyd: 10th

I think Kilmarnock are in a good place; they qualified for the League Cup last 16 and have brought in several new players who are settling in well. Derek McInnes will no doubt have his eye on a few more too and it's his experience that will be key in ensuring the club have a good season. He knows the league inside out following his time at Aberdeen and knows the market well, which has helped Killie bring the right additions into the club. I think they have enough to stay up, which is all you can ask for in the first season back.

Livingston

Andy Walker: 7th

David Martindale's side are consistently under-rated and just missed out on the top six last season by losing a goal in injury time. They will have another solid season this time around and while I feel a top-six finish may be too much of an ask given the expected resurgence of Aberdeen, I cannot see them being anywhere near the bottom two.

This is Livingston's fifth season back in the top-flight
Image: Can David Martindale guide Livingston to a top-six finish this time around?

Kris Boyd: 7th

Livingston did not do an awful lot wrong last season, but came up just short when it came to that top-six race. They had a decent campaign and are notoriously hard to beat, especially at home. Although they have lost Alan Forrest, they have strengthened in other areas, notably in goals with Shamal George. It's another season opener against Rangers and while that will be a test, if they can put little runs of results together throughout the season, they will be in and around that top-six battle again.

Motherwell

Andy Walker: 10th

Whoever takes over at Fir Park will surely take the role on the proviso they will be given the licence to add more quality to the squad. Motherwell finished in the top-six under Graham Alexander but their form since the start of the year was not great and that worrying trend of results continued with defeat in the Europa Conference League against Sligo Rovers. However, we are talking about this with a month still to go in the transfer window so things could happen that really change the outlook. As things stand, I would put Motherwell in 10th - just away from the bottom two.

Image: Graham Alexander was sacked following Motherwell's defeat to Sligo Rovers

Kris Boyd: 8th

The pressure is already on after the sacking of Graham Alexander and the players know improvement is required if they're to avoid going on a similar run of results to those they suffered during the second half of last season. When you consider they won just three league games after the winter break, then suffered that defeat Europa Conference League loss against Sligo Rovers, only victories will stop people asking questions. Their fifth-place finish last season was down to that great start, so they have shown they can string a run of results together, but it is about doing that consistently over the course of the campaign now.

Rangers

Andy Walker: 2nd

I am expecting to see a bit of change from Rangers who have brought in Ben Davies, Ridvan Yilmaz, Rabbi Matondo, Antonio Colak, Tom Lawrence, John Souttar and Malik Tillman. These are players who Giovani van Bronckhorst will be hoping can make the difference, but I just think Celtic will be more consistent. Rangers did not lose many league games last season, just three, and two of them were against Celtic, so they are not going to lose a lot of games, but I do not think they have the strength in depth to finish top of the table.

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt makes his team stronger as they prepare for the title race this season

Kris Boyd: 1st

Not many people will be surprised that I have gone with Rangers over Celtic when it comes to the title race. Rangers had that little period last season where they dropped off and got punished for it, but they have shown they can compete and beat Celtic. I think Rangers are a stronger team now than they were last season, there is competition for places and some exciting players in the squad.

Ross County

Andy Walker: 8th

It was a terrific achievement to finish in the top six last season, but I just cannot see them doing the same again this time around. Losing the goals of Regan Charles-Cook will probably cost them a few points, however, new faces like Yan Dhanda, Jordy Hiwula and William Akio have arrived, so I think we can expect another decent season for Malky Mackay's side and they certainly will not be in any trouble.

Image: Malkay Mackay guided Ross County to a top-six finish last season

Kris Boyd: 9th

Ross County had a fantastic campaign last season finishing sixth and although they ultimately came up short in their quest for Europe, Malkay Mackay did a fantastic job getting the team performing the way they did. I think they will have more than enough to stay in the league again, I have them finishing ninth this season due to the fact those around them will be even stronger. Losing Joseph Hungbo and Regan Charles-Cook will be a blow, but it is an opportunity for one of the new players to make their mark. Malky has had a positive impact at Ross County and I don't see why they will not continue this season.

St Johnstone

Andy Walker: 11th

I am going to put St Johnstone in the relegation play-off spot again. They just struggle to score goals and unless Callum Davidson gets someone in to replace Callum Hendry, I can see them having another long, frustrating season. It was tough for the fans last year and there is likely to be more of the same this time around, unless they do some serious business before the window closes.

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St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson says his team needs to score more goals and is looking to strengthen his forward line

Kris Boyd: 12th

There is no doubt that since winning the two cups it has been a disappointing time for St Johnstone. To only score 24 league goals last season tells us where the issue is and to rub salt into the wound, top-scorer Callum Hendry has departed. St Johnstone are going to have to find different ways to win games of football, and to do that they are going to have to defend properly too. They got away with it last season, just, but I think this could be the season St Johnstone do go down. It's sad to say, but I just get the feeling this could be a step too far. I hope I'm wrong.

St Mirren

Andy Walker: 12th

Having looked through all the clubs, I have got St Mirren finishing bottom of the table. When you go through all the teams and especially those in that bottom half, I just do not think St Mirren have enough as it stands to avoid the drop. Things could change with another month of the transfer window to go, but for now, I'm going to put them in last place. The one positive is that Dylan Reid is staying at the club, he's a great prospect who I hope gets game time and can help them climb the table.

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Summer signing Ryan Strain discusses his special link to St Mirren

Kris Boyd: 11th

Last season's results were up and down. There were times they went on a good run and other times they could not win a game of football. They finished the season relatively strong with two wins and two draws, but will have to improve a lot if they are to be successful. I do not see them scoring a lot of goals, that is why I have gone for them to finish in that relegation play-off spot. They are going to have to pick up points early in the season because if they do not, it could be the same as Motherwell and the fans could turn early doors.

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