Capital gains on the cards for Edinburgh Duo

Hibs Easter Road

The 2016/17 season will go down in the annals of history as being one in which Celtic won a domestic treble without suffering a single defeat in the process.  Whatever your allegiance, that’s a remarkable achievement.

Brendan Rodgers’ men will go into the new campaign as red hot favourites to secure all the available silverware again, although it’s to be hoped that they will face a far sterner test.

Aberdeen finished as runners-up in all three domestic competitions last term, but there has already been a degree of player turnover at Pittodrie and manager Derek McInnes is said to be interesting clubs south of the border.

It’s difficult to know what to expect from Rangers, but you certainly wouldn’t back them to win anything with any great confidence as things stand.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to Celtic’s dominance could come from Edinburgh, where the best odds on Hearts and Hibernian for the Scottish Premiership title in the very early betting are 250/1 each with bet365 and William Hill respectively.

Hearts are already making early moves in the transfer market, with defender Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town) and striker Cole Stockton (Tranmere Rovers) having been added to last season’s squad.  

All indications are that head coach Ian Cathro can expect a more coherent transfer policy than was the case in January (soon after his arrival) and the squad should be further bolstered over the remainder of the transfer window.

Cathro came to Tynecastle with a big reputation, but a record of just six wins in 26 games in charge does leave him needing a good start next term.  On the plus side, he is said to be popular with the players and there is definitely the basis of a decent young squad at the club in the likes of Callum Paterson, Jamie Walker, John Souttar and Sam Nicholson.

With 10,500 season tickets already sold for the 2017/18 season, expectations are certainly high among the Tynecastle faithful.

After three years away, Hibernian return to the top-flight with a squad that already looks more than capable of securing a top-six finish.  

Neil Lennon has been quick to bolster the ranks with the additions of midfielder Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone), defender Efe Ambrose (joining on a permanent basis from Celtic after spending the latter part of last season on loan at Easter Road) and Dundee United striker Simon Murray.  

As with their city rivals, season-ticket sales at Easter Road have been particularly brisk, with over 10,300 sold before the end of May.  More recruits are sure to follow and with an experienced manager like Lennon at the helm, Hibs could even be dark horses to be Celtic’s closest league challengers next term.

These are encouraging times for the Edinburgh duo and expectations will be high going into the new campaign, with both teams looking capable of challenging for European qualification via league and cup competitions.

 

 

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