SPL season preview
A team-by-team guide as Scottish football returns at the weekend
Last Updated: August 2, 2012 5:37pm
With the Scottish Premier League set to kick-off this weekend we look at the 12-team division and predict how each club will get on. The demise of Rangers means it is all change in Scotland, with Celtic now overwhelming favourites to retain the title they secured last season. For the rest of the SPL though it has become a more even playing field than ever before, with Sky Sports leading the way with our coverage of 30 live matches complementing a wealth of highlights.
Manager: Craig Brown
Position last season: Ninth
Nickname: The Dons
Players in: Jonny Hayes (Inverness, free), Niall McGinn (Celtic, free), Gary Naysmith (Huddersfield, free).
Players out: Rory McArdle (Bradford, free), Darren Mackie, Youl Mawene (Fleetwood, free), Yoann Folly, Mohamed Chalali, Danny Uchechi, Kari Arnason (Rotherham, free), Fraser Fyvie (Wigan, undisclosed), Mark Reynolds (end of loan).
Key man: Jonny Hayes
Chances: Big improvement expected after three years in the bottom six, Hayes and McGinn will add much-needed flair and width.
Manager: Neil Lennon
Position last season: Champions
Nickname: The Hoops
Ground: Celtic Park
Players in: Fraser Forster (Newcastle, £2m)
Players out: Darren O'Dea, Efrain Juarez (Club America, undisclosed), Cha Du-Ri (Fortuna Dusseldorf, free), Richie Towell, Dominic Cervi, Glenn Loovens (Real Zaragoza), Mark Wilson, Niall McGinn (Aberdeen, free), Daniel Majstorovic (AIK, free).
Key man: Gary Hooper
Chances: Inconceivable that Celtic will not win the title.
Manager: Barry Smith
Position last season: First Division runners-up
Nickname: The Dee
Ground: Dens Park
Players in: John Baird (Raith, free), Carl Finnigan (St Johnstone, free), Declan Gallagher (Clyde), Iain Davidson (Raith, free).
Players out: Graham Bayne, Ross Chisholm, Mark Fotheringham, Jake Hyde, Craig McKeown, John Gibson (Elgin, free).
Key man: Ryan Conroy
Chances: Promotion with less than three weeks to the start of the season has naturally left Dundee ill-prepared but the fact that every other team is cutting back will give them a chance of avoiding relegation.Prediction: Bottom
Manager: Peter Houston
Position last season: Fourth
Nickname: The Terrors
Players in: Radoslaw Cierzniak (KS Cracovia, free), Michael Gardyne (Ross County, free), Mark Millar (Falkirk, free), Brian McLean (Preston, free).
Players out: Garry Kenneth, Dusan Pernis, Paul Dixon (Huddersfield, free), Danny Swanson (Peterborough, free), Scott Robertson (Blackpool, free), Robbie Neilson.
Jon Daly: Impressed in recent years
Key man: Jon Daly
Chances: Another summer of change but Peter Houston has added wisely and the attacking threat of Gary Mackay-Steven, Johnny Russell and Jon Daly will prove difficult for most teams to cope with.
Manager: John McGlynn
Position last season: Fifth
Players out: David Obua, Ian Black (Rangers, free), Adrian Mrowiec (RB Leipzig, free), Stephen Elliott (Coventry, free), Gary Glen (Ross County, free), Jason Thomson (Raith, free), Suso Santana (Tenerife, free), Craig Beattie, Rudi Skacel, Kevin Kyle.
Key man: David Templeton
Chances: New manager McGlynn has to cope with a huge exodus but still has some of the best players in the SPL to complement the club's emerging young players.
Manager: Pat Fenlon
Position last season: 11th
Ground: Easter Road
Players in: Tim Clancy (Motherwell, free), James McPake (Coventry, free), Paul Cairney (Partick, free), Ben Williams (Colchester, free), Leigh Griffiths (Wolves, loan),
Players out: Ian Murray, Sean Welsh (Partick), Graham Stack, Garry O'Connor, Martin Scott (Ross County, loan), Matt Doherty (end of loan), George Francomb (end of loan), Tom Soares (end of loan), Isaiah Osbourne (Blackpool, undisclosed), Garry O'Connor (FC Tom Tomsk), Matt Thornhill, Mark Brown.
Key man: James McPake
James McPake: A key man at Easter Road
Chances: Improvement a must and very likely with the inspirational James McPake secured on a permanent deal but Fenlon has lost top goalscorer O'Connor.
Manager: Terry Butcher
Position last season: 10th
Nickname: Caley Thistle
Ground: Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
Players in: Gary Warren (Newport, free), Antonio Reguero (Gandia, free), David Raven (Tranmere, free), Jason Oswell (Crewe, free), Ross Draper (Macclesfield, free), Simon King (Gillingham, free).
Players out: Jonny Tuffey (St Johnstone, free), Gregory Tade (St Johnstone, free), Greg Tansey (Stevenage, free), David Proctor, Thomas Piermayr, Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen, free), Ross Tokely (Ross County, free), Roman Golobart (end of loan), Kenny Gillet.
Key man: Andrew Shinnie
Chances: Another season in the bottom six beckons but Butcher will be seeking improvement after an injury-blighted campaign.
Manager: Kenny Shiels
Position last season: Seventh
Ground: Rugby Park
Players in: Jeroen Tesselaar (St Mirren, free), Lee Johnson (Bristol City, free)
Players out: Danny Buijs (Sparta Rotterdam, free), David Silva (Oldhanese, free), Zdenek Kroca (Tescoma Zlin, free), Dieter van Tornhout, Ben Gordon (end of loan)
Key man: Gary Harkins
Chances: Financial constraints could bite Killie more than most and Shiels will miss son Dean after the midfielder joined Rangers, but the quality of football should ensure another mid-table challenge.
Manager: Stuart McCall
Position last season: Third
Nickname: The Steelmen
Ground: Fir Park
Players in: Simon Ramsden (Bradford, free)
Players out: Steve Jennings, Stephen Craigan (retired), Tim Clancy (Hibernian, free), Ross Forbes, Jordan Halsman (Morton, free), Steven Lawless (Partick, free), Gary Smith, Jamie Pollock, Ross McKinnon.
Key man: Shaun Hutchinson
Chances: McCall will have to rely on youth more than most but a solid spine, allied with pace and skill up front should help Motherwell look up rather than down.
Manager: Derek Adams
Position last season: Irn-Bru First Division champions
Nickname: The Staggies
Ground: Victoria Park
Players in: Ross Tokely (Inverness, free), Gary Glen (Hearts, free), Martin Scott (Hibernian, loan).
Players out: Michael Gardyne (Dundee United, free), Gary Miller (St Johnstone, free), Johnny Flynn (Falkirk, free).
Key man: Richard Brittain
Chances: Momentum from a 34-match unbeaten league run could carry County to safety and they are not lacking in SPL experience.
Manager: Steve Lomas
Rowan Vine: Should score goals in SPL
Position last season: Sixth
Ground: McDiarmid Park
Players in: Tam Scobbie (Falkirk, free), Gary Miller (Ross County, free), Gregory Tade (Inverness, free), Nigel Hasselbaink (St Mirren, free), Jonny Tuffey (Inverness, free), Patrick Cregg (Bury, free), Rowan Vine (QPR, free).
Players out: Francisco Sandaza, Carl Finnigan (Dundee, free), Marcus Haber (Stevenage, free), Jody Morris (Bristol City, free), Derek Riordan, Sam Parkin (St Mirren), Cillian Sheridan (end of loan), Alan Maybury, Lee Croft (end of loan), Michael Hart (Airdrie), Peter Enckleman.
Key man: Nigel Hasselbaink
Chances: Have signed more players than anyone else but have lost captain Morris and their main strikers Sheridan and Sandaza.
Manager: Danny Lennon
Position last season: Eighth
Nickname: The Buddies
Ground: St Mirren Park
Players in: Jon Robertson (Cowdenbeath, free), Lewis Guy (MK Dons, free), Sam Parkin (St Johnstone, free), Grant Adam (Rangers, free)
Players out: Hugh Murray (Partick, free), Jon McShane (Hamilton, free), Steven Thomson (Dover, free), Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone, free), Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock, free), Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney Warriors, free), Graeme Smith, John McShane (Hamilton, free), Paul Mathers, Adam McHugh, Dominic Kennedy.
Key man: Lewis Guy
Chances: Lennon has seen his squad cut but his team have not necessarily been weakened and he will expect a top-six challenge.