After months of watching their English neighbours in envy, SPFL fans will finally get to enjoy some football again on Saturday. For this week’s expert tips we’ve selected the stand out game of the weekend, Aberdeen vs Rangers. These two fierce rivals were separated by just two places last season and both will be desperate to get the 2020/2021 campaign off to a flying start. Predicting the first game of the season is always tricky but luckily our team of experts at betting.co.uk are here to help you secure an opening day win.
Last season Aberdeen finished in fourth place, enough to secure Europa League qualification for the seventh straight season. Despite this, there was a slight feeling of disappointment with their performance. When the season was halted with eight games left to play due to COVID-19 back in March, the Dons were 35 points adrift of champions Celtic and manager Derek McInnes has called for an improvement this time out. Thanks to the lengthy break afforded to his squad, Aberdeen go into this game with a clean bill of health. Key to their success will be industrious winger Jonny Hayes, signed recently from Celtic and top scorer Sam Cosgrove.
Rangers’ second placed finish last season does not tell the whole story. A fantastic start to the season suggested that they may finally end bitter rivals Celtic’s title winning streak, only for them to badly fall away in the second half of the season and finish nine points behind their Old Firm rivals. They will be eager to put this right this campaign and Steven Gerrard has strengthened his squad accordingly. New goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and Jermaine Defoe – signed permanently after a successful loan spell – could play key roles this season. Gerrard’s most impressive signing is young striker Iannis Hagi who like Defoe has been snapped up after a brilliant loan stint.
Considered perhaps the third tastiest rivalry in Scottish football – after the Old Firm and Edinburgh Derbies – Aberdeen and Rangers have played out some fascinating contests in recent times. Historically, the Gers have the advantage. Out of the 186 meetings between the two teams in all competitions they have won 86, while Aberdeen have been victorious only 55 times. 45 of the encounters have ended in a draw. The Dons have done little to reverse this trend recently, winning just one of the last 13 league contests. Do they stand any chance of ending this terrible run on Saturday? History seems to suggest not, unfortunately for Dons supporters. The best they can hope for is probably a draw which they managed to achieve last time the two sides met just before Christmas.
Some of the defeats during the winless period have been particularly humiliating, though none more so than the 5-0 loss Rangers inflicted back in September 2019. This is not the only drubbing that Aberdeen have endured in the modern era with several 3-0 defeats and a 4-2 loss also occurring. History could repeat itself on Saturday, making Betfair’s offer of 5.0 on over 4.5 goals particularly enticing.
No longer the exciting new kid on the block, Steven Gerrard is now entering his third season as Rangers boss and patience is starting to run out for the Liverpool legend. This is because the same old problems continue to haunt the club. Ill discipline and a lack of consistency once again plagued the Gers squad last season and the finger is increasingly being pointed at Gerrard for these shortcomings.
He was widely reported to be considering his future in management when the Gers’ went on a dire run of results in the spring but he remained at Ibrox and will be determined to lead his side to the title this season. It all starts against Aberdeen on Saturday and with Gerrard likely gearing up his players for some time they will likely come out with a point to prove. This motivation makes betting against the Old Firm giants a risky proposition.
Our betting tip for this exciting contest is Rangers to win and score over 3.5 goals. As we have already mentioned this is a season of high expectation for Rangers and the squad will be raring to go after such an extended period off. Add to this their abundance of exciting attacking talent such as Hagi, Defoe and Alfredo Moreles and it seems likely that the Gers could run away with this season opener and win by a considerable margin of goals. This double can be placed with 888sport who are currently offering generous odds of 6.00 on our tip.