Mowbray faces tough opener
New Celtic manager Tony Mowbray faces a daunting test in his first game in charge after being handed a trip to Aberdeen.
The Glasgow giants travel to Pittodrie on the opening weekend, while rivals Rangers host Falkirk at Ibrox as they unfurl the championship flag. Hearts visit Dundee United, Hibernian welcome St Mirren, Hamilton travel to Kilmarnock and newly-promoted St Johnstone play host to Motherwell.
However, the clash between Aberdeen and Celtic is the fixture which will really capture the imagination. New Dons boss Mark McGhee was also in the running for the Parkhead vacancy before Celtic chiefs opted for Mowbray and he is thrilled with the mouth-watering curtain-raiser.
McGhee - a former player with both Aberdeen and Celtic - told the Aberdeen Evening Express: "Given everything that has gone on this summer, when I spoke to Celtic about their job and didn`t get it, the game is great news for me. When I took this job and we were talking about these issues, it is definitely the one we preferred for the opening game."
Meanwhile, Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo is not worried about a tough opening to next season for the Jambos. The Edinburgh side travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United, before playing host to champions Rangers the following weekend.
Hearts finished third in the SPL behind the Old Firm last term, and know fifth-placed United are likely to be one of their main challengers for the coveted spot again this term, setting up an interesting opener. But Laszlo told Hearts News: "If I am being honest, I don`t look for the opponent, we must play everybody each season. That is the game of football.
"It is in my nature to want to win every game though, and that is what we will be trying to do. A good start to the new season is important. First of all, though, we have to make sure we have a good pre-season and prepare well with the training camp and the games we have arranged. After that we can talk about the football." The Edinburgh clubs also have a new year derby - on January 2 - to look forward to for the first time since 2004/05.