Celtic captain Scott Brown has admitted the Clydesdale Bank Premier League will feel different without Old Firm rivals Rangers, but has refuted claims his side will stroll to the title.
Newco Rangers had their application to the top flight rejected last week and are still awaiting a decision as to which division they will enter. Brown, 27, believes there will still be stern challenges ahead as Neil Lennon's side look to defend their SPL title, highlighting the likes of Dundee United and Hearts as potential rivals.
"It will be a little bit different, but at the end of the day we still have to go out there and play every game," he told Celtic's official website.
"It's always hard playing at home and even harder going away to teams like Aberdeen and Hearts. We have to make sure we keep our form week in, week out.
"I think Dundee United could emerge as the main contenders. Hearts have released a lot of their players and Dundee United will take a lot of confidence from that. St Johnstone have pretty much the same squad just now as they did last season so I think they will be another strong force."
Last season's title success means the Hoops will now enter the Champions League third qualifying round and Brown is hoping he can lead Celtic into the group stages.
He said: "It would be great for the fans. Hearing the music and then all the fans cheering - you don't get much bigger than that, they're the best nights you can have at Celtic Park.
"It's bigger than the derbies and it's bigger than any games I think most of the players in the squad will have ever played in.
"I don't think many of them have played in the Champions League so they will be looking forward to seeing a full Celtic Park on those nights.
"And the fans will be massive for us in those games. We have struggled in qualifiers in recent years, but the players know each other a lot better now and with the fans as well I think we can do well this year."