Top-flight football returns to Scotland this weekend as the Premiership kicks off on Saturday. Ross County and Motherwell must wait until Monday night to start their campaigns as the last fixture to take place. Motherwell finished the 2019-20 campaign in third place and qualified for the Europa League first qualifying round.
The Scottish Premiership was ended in March rather than being restarted in June like the top leagues in England, Spain, and Germany. Celtic were handed the title and the final league standings were based on points per game. Ross County ended the season in 10th on 0.97 points per match. The only team to be relegated last term were Hearts. The Edinburgh-based club ended the season on 0.77 points per game.
Ross County and Motherwell met three times in 2019-20 with the latter posting a 2W-0D-1L record. Ross County claimed a win at Fir Park in their first match but Motherwell bagged victories in their second and third meetings. All three games saw both teams score and over 2.5 goals tallied.
Ross County are third favourites to finish bottom of the Premiership and be relegated to the Scottish Championship. Motherwell are favourites to finish in the top six and fight for another Europa League qualifying place.
Manager Stephen Robinson takes charge of his third season in charge at Fir Park. He has posted a 45.2%-win rate since arriving part way through the 2016-17 campaign and has done a very good job since taking over the club. Last season was Motherwell’s highest finish in the Scottish Premiership since the 2013-14 season under manager Stuart McCall. This season under Robinson will be the Steelmen’s first Europea League qualifying campaign since the 2014-15 term.
Manager Stuart Kettlewell has a big job on his hands at Victoria Park. Ross County finished 10 a season ago. It was the club’s first season back in the top flight after winning the Scottish Championship in 2018-19. Kettlewell took over during the Scottish Championship title winning season and led the side to safety in their first year back in the Scottish top flight. The manager will simply aim to solidify the club’s status in the Premiership.
Ross County are coming off of a friendly match loss to Celtic last weekend, 2-0. The loss doesn’t give us much indication on what the season will look like for the club. Ross County are always likely to loss to Celtic.
Motherwell are unbeaten in eight of their last 12 games in all competitions against Ross County. Can the Steelmen start the season with a bang on Monday night?
Robinson has brought in five players for the 2020-21 season at Fir Park. Four of the five have arrived on free transfers as defender Jamie Lamie joined from Livingston, forward Jordan White signed from Inverness, defender Nathan McGinley came from Forest Green Rovers, and goalkeeper Scott Fox signed from Patrick Thistle.
Motherwell paid just one transfer fee for a player during the offseason signing midfielder Mark O’Hara from Peterborough United. The 24-year-old impressed at Motherwell on loan last term playing 17 times. Midfielder Jake Hastie also arrived on loan from Rangers. Hastie came through Motherwell’s youth academy before being sold to Rangers in 2019.
Ross County got most of their scoring from strikers Ross Stewart and Billy McKay in 2019-20. The strikers tallied 14 goals combined with each of them getting seven scores. If Ross County cane get the duo scoring goals once more, then they could beat the drop for a second straight term. Stewart, 24, has played for Ross County since 2018 helping the achieve promotion to the Premiership. Journeyman McKay also helped the Staggies achieve promotion and will eye another year of fighting for safety.
Both teams to score: Yes - BET NOW
All three of last year’s matches between Ross County and Motherwell ended with both teams scoring goals. These sides were able to find the back of the net with no difficulty when they met. Motherwell averaged 1.4 goals per game last term while Ross County scored 0.97 goals a match. The Steelmen claimed a 2-1 win at Victoria Park in their only match at Ross County in 2019-20.
Over 2.5 goals scored - BET NOW
All three fixtures in 2019-20 between Ross County and Motherwell finished with over 2.5 goals scored. These sides took advantage of one another during the season to score goals. Seven of the last 12 games between Ross County and Motherwell in all competitions finished with over 2.5 goals tallied. These sides won’t be afraid to go for goal and get off to a strong start on Monday night.
Chris Long to score anytime - BET NOW
Former Blackpool striker Chris Long joined Motherwell in 2019 and proceeded to lead the team in goals with seven in 25 league games. It was long’s best single-season tally since turning professional in 2013 at Everton. A graduate of Everton’s youth academy, Long bounced around in the lower leagues of England before findhing a home at Motherwell.
Long has one season left on his contract at Fir Park and will want to make a splash. He tallied 11 goal and four assists in all competitions last season. One of his assists came against Ross County in the teams’ third meeting. Long only played in one of the three games against Ross County as injury kept him out of the other two.
Although Motherwell are favourites to win on opening night, they are not runaway favourites according to leading sportsbooks. Robinson’s side should claim a first win, however, against the plucky underdogs Ross County. The Staggies may have claimed a win against Motherwell in their first of three matces last term, but Robinson does have a better squad going into the game. The Steelmen should win for a second straight season at Victoria Park and start the campaign on the right foot.
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This match kicks-off at 19:45 on 3rd August 2020.