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5 of the best Premiership openers

By June 15, 2018No Comments

The Ladbrokes Premiership fixtures were announced on Friday morning, giving fans plenty to look forward to ahead of the big kick-off on August 4.

Here Press Association Sport’s Andy Newport takes a look back at five classic top-flight encounters which took place on the opening day:

August 4, 1997 – Rangers 3 Hearts 1

5 of the best Premiership openers PLZ Soccer
Marco Negri made an immediate impact on his league debut for Rangers (Neal Simpson/PA)

New Ibrox hitman Marco Negri announced himself with a league debut double against the Jambos, scrambling home his first before chipping Gilles Rousset for a stunning second. He would go on to hit 33 goals before the turn of the year but an eye injury suffered while playing squash with team-mate Sergio Porrini halted his form – and Gers’ bid for 10-in-a-row.

August 1, 1999 – Aberdeen 0 Celtic 5

5 of the best Premiership openers PLZ Soccer
John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish were dubbed the ‘Dream Team’ when they took over at Celtic (Ben Curtis/PA)

Celtic’s new managerial partnership of boss John Barnes and director of football Kenny Dalglish were dubbed the Dream Team by the excited Hoops faithful and they got off to the perfect start as Henrik Larsson and Mark Viduka both struck twice apiece in a Pittodrie mauling. But Barnes’ Parkhead reign turned into a nightmare and he was sacked following a humiliating Scottish Cup defeat to Inverness.

July 30, 2005, Motherwell 4 Celtic 4

5 of the best Premiership openers PLZ Soccer
Craig Beattie wraps up a thrilling 4-4 draw with Motherwell in 2005 (Steve Welsh/PA)

Just two months after having the SPL title ripped out of their hands by Motherwell on Helicopter Sunday, the Hoops were back at Fir Park with new boss Gordon Strachan in charge. This time it was the Glasgow giants who were celebrating at the end as Craig Beattie’s injury-time equaliser ensured a first-half John Hartson hat-trick did not go without reward as they claimed a dramatic point.

August 2, 2015 Hearts 4 St Johnstone 3

Hearts made their Premiership return in style as Robbie Neilson’s side came out on top in this seven-goal thriller. After unveiling the Championship flag they threatened to blow Saints away early but every time they got their noses in front, back came Tommy Wright’s Perth outfit. In the end it took a close-range Sam Nicholson strike to secure the points.

August 7, 2016 – Hearts 1 Celtic 2

Brendan Rodgers did not get off to the best of starts at Parkhead as his side suffered a shock defeat to minnows Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar in their opening Champions League qualifier. However, his team were untouchable on the domestic front, with Scott Sinclair’s late Tynecastle winner kicking off a run that would see them complete a domestic clean sweep without suffering a single loss.