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Race for the golden boot

Kris Boyd proved age is just a number with another prolific campaign in the Ladbrokes Premiership last season.

The 34-year-old former Scotland international emerged top of the pile in the goalscoring charts in the 2017-18 league campaign with 18 goals, but faces a battle to hold onto the title.

As the new season approaches, Belfast Telegraph Sport takes a look at those likely to be in the race for the Golden Boot at the end of the season.

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock)

The ever-reliable Boyd survived a sticky start to finish last season with 18 league goals. So often in the right place at the right time, Boyd thrived under the management of Steve Clarke and fired a warning by coming off the bench to net a match-winning hat-trick at Dumbarton in the Betfred Cup.

Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

Morelos made a flying start to his first season in Scotland before the goals dried up as a string of high-profile misses against Celtic appeared to rock his confidence. One goal in his last 12 appearances points to a striker bereft of belief, but he has been the man Steven Gerrard has turned to in the early stages of the new season.

Moussa Dembele (Celtic)

Failed to replicate the stunning form of his debut campaign in Scotland, hitting 16 goals last season in all competitions during an injury-affected year. But the signs from pre-season are that Dembele is fit and hungry for goals. When firing, he is first choice for Brendan Rodgers and the standout striker in the division and will know that a big season could secure him a move to a major European club.

Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)

Celtic's record signing has shown signs of developing a more than useful partnership with Dembele in attack after hitting nine league goals from 22 appearances (10 from the bench) on loan from Paris St Germain last season. If given regular game time together, the 20-year-old could prosper and - with three goals in two Old Firm games last season - he has already shown that he can handle the pressure of the big games.

Florian Kamberi (Hibernian)

Another who has made a loan deal into a permanent one, the 23-year-old former Grasshopper Zurich striker has started the season in red-hot form. Three goals against NSI Runavik at Easter Road in the Europa League got him up and running for the campaign.

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic)

It looks as though Griffiths will start as third choice at Celtic after injury prevented him from playing in the opening Champions League qualifiers, but Scotland's talisman is a proven marksman at this level and will feel he has a point to prove.

Kyle Lafferty (Hearts)

Puts in a shift for a Hearts team that has been goal-shy at times, but still ended up with 12 Premiership goals last season. The Jambos might not rely on him as heavily as they did last term, but the Northern Ireland international is a threat to any defence - he scored three in four against Celtic.

Stevie May (Aberdeen)

It was a disappointing return to the Scottish game for May after making the move to Pittodrie from the English Championship, managing just five goals following a succession of niggling injuries. The departure of Adam Rooney means the Dons will be desperate for the former St Johnstone player to step up.

David McMillan (St Johnstone)

Signed by Tommy Wright last December after impressing at Dundalk with 58 goals over four years, McMillan suffered a nasty hamstring injury that kept him out for three months. Once back fit, he showed glimpses of why the club brought him to Perth with two goals in three matches.

Curtis Main (Motherwell)

A long shot to finish top scorer but if Motherwell can replicate the early-season form of last year, Main could be in with a shout. The striker came in from Portsmouth to replace Louis Moult in January and responded with eight in all competitions while proving a handful for the opposition. The 26-year-old will be reliant on the service from the likes of Chris Cadden if he is to compete with more illustrious names.

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