With the dawn of a new Scottish Premiership season upon us, Sky Sports pundits Kris Boyd and Andy Walker select their players to watch from all 12 clubs…
Kris Boyd: Ross McCrorie
Aberdeen have obviously brought in players who are unknown quantities. It would be unfair to pick out some of the new boys at this stage as we have not seen enough of them yet, but one player we all know exactly what we are going to get from is Ross McCrorie. His experience in the middle of the pitch and versatility in numerous positions is key.
Image: Can Ross McCrorie be the driving force in the middle of the park for Aberdeen once more?
He’s scored in three of Aberdeen’s four League Cup games so is coming into the season on good form. He’s at a good age as well, so it could be a big season for him in Aberdeen colours.
Andy Walker: Luis Lopes
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The one I’m going to be looking out for in what promises to be a season of change for Aberdeen is Luis Lopes. He’s a forward from Benfica and it is not often Aberdeen pay out transfer fees for players.
Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin looks ahead to the new Scottish Premiership season, talks about transfers both in and out, and discusses targets for the campaign ahead
They need someone to score goals. Lewis Ferguson as a midfielder was their top scorer last season. Lopes is meant to be quick, powerful, and strong, according to Jim Goodwin. I think with that recommendation, you would be looking for him to find the back of the net regularly.
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Kris Boyd: Jota
You just have to look at the fact Jota came in on loan last season and did really well. Celtic scored 92 goals en route to winning the title and his contribution, the way he plays the game, was crucial.
Jota has got that little bit of x-factor in terms of what he can bring in the final third. Celtic have spent a lot of money on him but, after 13 goals and 14 assists across all competitions last season, it suggests he has got another big season ahead.
Winger Jota discusses why he made his move to Celtic a permanent one
Andy Walker: David Turnbull
The player to watch out for at Celtic Park is David Turnbull. He was injured for most of last season but I like the look of this goalscoring midfielder. I expect him – injury permitting – to be an important player for Celtic and I also expect him to make more appearances for Scotland.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is demanding more from his squad as they look to defend the Scottish Premiership title and compete in the Champions League
I think he’s the type of player that can thrive under the management of Ange Postecoglou because he’s very much a team player and he gets goals from the middle of the park and has great potential for both club and country.
Kris Boyd: Steven Fletcher
The big one for me is Steven Fletcher coming back to Scottish football. He’s not getting any younger but even at the age of 35 – with that experience from having played down in England – I expect him to score goals back on home soil.
You just get the feeling that Dundee United, just as they did last season with Charlie Mulgrew, will be able to get the best out of Fletcher in the latter stages of his career. He knows how to score goals, he knows how to lead the line, and he could be pivotal to where Dundee United finish this season. It could prove to be a shrewd bit of business.
New Dundee United striker Steven Fletcher had been impressed by the young talent at Tannadice
Andy Walker: Tony Watt
Tony Watt was top scorer at Motherwell before he left in the January transfer window and although he did not score as heavily as I thought he would have done at Dundee United – I think signing Fletcher will be a big help to him. He’s got great experience, great ability and a marvellous career to date.
Dundee United boss Jack Ross is pleased with his squad ahead of the new season
Dylan Levitt joining from Manchester United permanently is another good bit of business, he too will help Tony score goals. I think Tony can get a lot better this season and will shine in the new look Dundee United under Jack Ross.
Kris Boyd: Lawrence Shankland
I cannot look beyond the signing of Lawrence Shankland. He was in Belgium last year, it did not quite work out, but if his team-mates can create opportunities he will put them away. With the creativity Hearts have and the direct approach under Robbie Neilson the ball should be in and around the area where Shankland should be effective.
Hearts striker Lawrence Shankland says he will get a mohawk if his new club manage to win a trophy this season
Andy Walker: Alan Forrest
Alan Forrest was a very consistent player for Livingston over the course of a couple of seasons. The demand of him being as effective at a bigger club that will have hopes of making an impact in Europe too is a fresh challenge for him.
He played more than 200 games for Ayr United before getting a move to Livingston and just two seasons later he now has the opportunity to affect games with better players around him at Tynecastle.
Kris Boyd: David Marshall
The disappointment of last season, how bad it was and how it cost Shaun Maloney and Jack Ross their jobs, has been followed by a massive turnover of players. Lee Johnson is in charge now and I think he’s made a wise decision in signing David Marshall.
There were times last season in that area of the field where Hibs lacked experience and organisation, Marshall can help solve that. Yes, he’s 37 but I don’t think it will have much of a bearing on his performances, you only need to look at the likes of Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon to know we should expect some big performances from Marshall.
Image: Can David Marshall continue the trend of veteran goalkeepers excelling in the Scottish Premiership?
Andy Walker: Elias Melkerson
Hibs have got a new manager in Lee Johnson and signed a lot of new players including David Marshall and Aiden McGeady. However, Elias Melkerson is the one I’m going to be looking out for. They signed him from Bodo Glimt, I know he’s only 19 but I think by his own admission he was not good enough or consistent enough last season.
I’m expecting a more consistent season from him this season, and I think he can score more regularly. It’s a great stage for him, I saw him score against Norwich at Easter Road and have no doubts he will have the ambition of finishing top scorer.
Kris Boyd: Jordan Jones
Jordan Jones has got a point to prove on his return to the club. Since he left Kilmarnock his career has pretty much stalled and he’s not really settled anywhere. However, he knows the club, the expectations and has the backing from Derek McInnes which should give him the confidence to perform at his best.
Jordan’s ability to get the team up the pitch with his pace, plus his creativity to make opportunities for his team-mates will be crucial for Kilmarnock this season.
Jordan Jones reveals why he wanted to rejoin Kilmarnock on loan from Wigan and the lure of working under manager Derek McInnes
Andy Walker: Liam Donnelly
Under Derek McInnes there has been a big turnaround of players, and I think he will want to do a bit more business before the window closes. Kilmarnock have got a goalscorer there in Kyle Lafferty but the one I am looking out for is Liam Donnelly.
I liked him when he was at Motherwell; he was a good footballer, kept the ball well, and I think he can give good service to the likes of Lafferty. He can be a very influential player in the Scottish Premiership, it’s a league he knows really well, and he can flourish again down in Ayrshire under McInnes at Kilmarnock.
Kris Boyd: Esmael Goncalves
There are options up front for Livingston this season but I’m going for Esmael Goncalves, who has been at Hearts and St Mirren before and has experience in the Scottish Premiership.
For Livingston to be successful they need to improve in scoring goals and cannot rely as heavily on Bruce Anderson. Losing Alan Forrest is a blow but keeping the core of all the other starters from last season and adding to it with a few new faces like Goncalves can see David Martindale work his magic again.
Image: Kris Boyd is tipping Livingston's Esmael Goncalves to shine
Andy Walker: Joel Nouble
I like the look of Joel Nouble up front, he’s got good imagination and he’s got goals in him. Livingston need something fresh upfront. They have had a bit of a turnaround; Alan Forrest, who was a big player for them last season, has gone to Hearts, Craig Sibbald has joined Dundee United, but they have brought in Phillip Cancar in defence and paid money to sign goalkeeper Shamal George from Colchester.
Livingston manager David Martindale believes he has enough quality in the squad to aim for a top-six spot
I think it is up front where they have to be more creative, they maybe did not score as many last season as they would have liked and I think Nouble can give them something a bit different.
Kris Boyd: Kevin van Veen
The Dutchman has shown he can be a handful with 11 goals across all competitions last season. He actually got more yellow cards than goals and that is something he will want to improve but he puts himself about and that is crucial for the way Motherwell play.
Motherwell want to get the ball forward and ask questions of the opposition and if they get the right service to Van Veen he could better last season’s goal return and make the difference for Graham Alexander.
New signing Blair Spittal and forward Kevin van Veen take each other on at a free-kick challenge
Andy Walker: Blair Spittal
The midfielder has been around a few clubs, having played for Queen’s Park, Dundee United, Partick Thistle and Ross County and is known for his impressive ability from dead-ball situations. Having been part of a team that finished in the top six with Ross County he will bring that experience to Motherwell.
Kris Boyd: Tom Lawrence
Rangers have been criticised for not scoring enough goals from midfield, however, the signing of Tom Lawrence could solve that. He will benefit from the movement of another summer signing, Antonio Colak, and as we saw at Derby County, when he times those runs into the box and finds that space, he can finish.
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Andy Walker: Antonio Colak
The one I’m going to be looking out for is the guy who scored against Spurs in pre-season, Antonio Colak. There will be a bit of pressure on him to be as consistent a goalscorer as Alfredo Morelos, but Colak has the experience, he’s 28, and he will get a bit of service from Rabbi Matondo and Tom Lawrence. He’s shown he can score goals at his previous clubs and I think he will do the same in Scotland.
Kris Boyd: Jordy Hiwula
I think Jordy Hiwula, who Ross County have just brought in from Doncaster, could be key for Malky Mackay’s side. He has found the net three times already in the League Cup campaign. Ross County are going to need goals from somewhere after some notable summer outgoings including Regan Charles-Cook, Joseph Hungbo and Blair Spittal.
Yan Dhanda hopes he can reignite his career in the Scottish Premiership and wants to take Ross County into Europe
Andy Walker: Yan Dhanda
I will be keeping an eye on the midfielder they have brought in from Swansea, Yan Dhanda. He played 50 games in the Championship in his four seasons in Wales, he’s 23, so a lot is expected of him in the Highlands. Dhanda has a decent pedigree and is someone who can make a difference for Ross County.
Kris Boyd: Andy Considine
The former Aberdeen stalwart will take on the responsibility as an experienced player to try and help guide St Johnstone away from the dreaded drop zone. That experience will no doubt be required after key players like Zander Clark, Shaun Rooney, Jamie McCart and Callum Hendry all moved on – making the job for Callum Davidson a lot tougher.
Although Considine will have his work cut out at the back, he has shown he can be a threat from set plays too and I am sure Davidson will be hoping the 35-year-old can stay injury free and be as consistent as he was at Aberdeen for a number of years.
Image: Can the experienced Andy Considine shore up St Johnstone's defence this season?
Andy Walker: Murray Davidson
After losing key players like Zander Clark, Shaun Rooney and Callum Hendry, St Johnstone need experience and Murray Davidson is still there.
He is a goalscoring threat from midfield and he will know this is a club under pressure after surviving through the play-offs last season. A vast improvement is needed and Murray Davidson at his best can help provide that.
Kris Boyd: Declan Gallagher
After the highs of reaching the Euros with Scotland, his club career has not kicked on as we expected. A move from Aberdeen to Paisley could be the catalyst for Declan Gallagher finding his best form again as he links up with former manager Stephen Robinson.
St Mirren do not look as if they are going to score a lot of goals and will depend on being defensively sound if they are to prove me wrong and finish further up the table.
Image: Can Declan Gallagher boost St Mirren's quest for Scottish Premiership safety?
Andy Walker: Dylan Reid
At 17 Dylan Reid has attracted a lot of interest from several clubs including Celtic but has chosen to stay in Paisley and get regular first-team football.
I applaud him for making such a brave decision so early in his career. He has not chased the money and knows he will get better by playing more games and I think he will have another very impressive season for St Mirren.
Key dates for the 2022/23 season
Image: Watch Livingston vs Rangers on July 30 at 12pm live on Sky Sports Football
The Scottish Premiership season will begin on the weekend of July 30/31.
The campaign will take a break in the middle of the season to accommodate the first winter World Cup, pausing on the weekend of November 12/13, before resuming on the weekend of December 17/18.
The season will end on the weekend of May 27/28.
The Premier Sports Cup final will be held on Sunday February 26 while the date for the Scottish Cup final is yet to be confirmed.
The Europa League final will be played on May 31 in Budapest, the Europa Conference League final will be on June 7 in Prague and the Champions League final is scheduled for June 10 in Istanbul.
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