Scottish Premiership 2016-17: Pundits' predictions

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland
Scottish Premiership players and the league's trophy

The new Scottish Premiership season begins this weekend. Four of BBC Scotland's football pundits share their predictions on the likely winners and strugglers.

Pat Bonner, former Celtic goalkeeper

Pat Bonner
Republic of Ireland keeper Bonner spent his entire 20-year club career at Celtic

Champions: Celtic

"They've got the biggest squad and Brendan Rodgers coming in will bring a feel-good factor. They're odds-on."

Runners-up: Hearts

"Rangers have got to do what Hearts did last year and find their feet in the league. Aberdeen might struggle with the extra competition. Hearts could build on last year's experience."

Bottom: Partick Thistle or Hamilton Academical

"Unfortunately, it's going to be the same teams fighting relegation. It might just be Thistle and Hamilton propping them up at the end of it."

Tony Watt
Former Celtic striker Tony Watt, 22, has joined Hearts on a year's loan from Charlton Athletic

One to watch: Tony Watt, Hearts striker

"It will be interesting to see, can he fulfil his potential coming back to Scotland?"

Willie Miller, former Aberdeen captain

Champions: Celtic

"You've still got to go with Celtic with a new manager in place. Their strength in depth would make them favourites."

Runners-up: Aberdeen

"I feel Aberdeen are still strong enough to do that even though Rangers are in the league. I look at their strengthening over the summer. They've held on to their important players."

Willie Miller
Miller won 10 domestic trophies with the Dons, including three league titles

Bottom: Kilmarnock

"Killie still seem to be in a bit of disarray. I think it's going to be a struggle for them. They would be the team I would be nervous about."

One to watch: Niall McGinn, Aberdeen forward

"He's on fire just now, off the back of the European Championships [with Northern Ireland] and the confidence he's gained from that. The first half of the season in particular, I'd expect him to be on top form."

Michael Stewart, former Hearts captain

Michael Stewart
Stewart expects a tight battle for second place

Champions: Celtic

"There's obviously not been a great deal done in the transfer market, yet. I think Brendan Rodgers will improve the side, regardless. I think they will win the title."

Runners-up: Rangers

"I do like the look of Rangers. It's a tough one between Rangers and Aberdeen. I think, perhaps, Rangers would nick it. If Aberdeen get into the Europa League group stage, then they could have a lot of extra games."

Bottom: Kilmarnock

"For the last few seasons, Kilmarnock have been on a downward spiral. If they don't get off to a great start, it could be a difficult one to turn around."

Kilmarnock players
Kilmarnock avoided relegation via the play-offs last season

One to watch: Patrick Roberts, Celtic winger

"Patrick Roberts is absolutely on fire at Celtic. He was clearly a top player last year. This season, he's going to be a huge player for Celtic, one of their main attacking outlets."

Steven Thompson, former Rangers striker

Champions: Celtic

"They've got the biggest budget so should be able to field the best team. They've got the most resources."

Runners-up: Rangers

"Their summer signing policy has been very good. When they make a change to the team, it doesn't necessarily weaken the team. They've got a strong squad."

Steven Thompson and Lee Wallace
Thompson (left) played against Rangers for St Mirren in last season's Championship

Bottom: Kilmarnock

"They were very disappointing last season and they seem to have signed mostly untried players from England, who possibly don't know how to play in the Scottish Premiership."

One to watch: Barrie McKay, Rangers winger

"He was outstanding last year and he has started this season well. On his day, there is nobody better in his position in Scotland."