CALLUM MORRIS reckons the Ladbrokes Championship is still box office without Hibs, Hearts and Rangers.

And while many pundits are tipping Dundee United for glory, the Pars captain believes it's the most open divisionin years - and that Athletic can top the bill.

After a shaky start to Championship life last season, Dunfermline found their groove and just missed out on the play-offs.

Now Morris says they are ready to make a real challenge because they are wiser and stronger after good recruitment in the summer.

He commented: “When I first moved to Scotland to sign for Dunfermline, you wouldn’t have known the league was about. Everything was focused on the top flight.

“But in my time here as years have gone by and what happened with Rangers, Hearts and Hibs, the profile has tripled at least.

“It’s attracting top-flight players and the revenue has been helped as well.

“It’s given teams a bit of belief as well. A lot of sides have real intent to stake a claim to get promoted or win a league.

“In years gone past, it might have been more about surviving, but now the glass is half-full and clubs are pushing towards play-offs and promotion.

“There are many teams in the mix and it would be the wrong way to start a season if you didn’t think you had a chance.

“Everyone has to start on a positive note and it’s such an even playing field that everyone has a chance.

“I’d say there are six or seven teams who can win it and it’s starting to become like the Championship in England where you simply do not know who is going to win any given game.

“Predicting results on any weekend will be virtually impossible.

“It makes for a great league and there is going to be emphasis on it. People will watch it.

“Not only will it be open and competitive, there are quality players in there.

“The attraction is there now and there are massive games. We are lucky at Dunfermline with our support and there should be big attendances. It’s going to be very exciting.”

Allan Johnston’s side open the campaign at the Tony Macaroni Arena this afternoon where Livingston will unfurl the League One flag.

And they’re going into the game in good shape after a terrific Betfred Cup campaign that has produced a last 16 at Rangers on Wednesday night.

Morris added: “We have used the group stage of the Betfred Cup to our benefit with four good performances and a lot of minutes under our belts.

“The new boys have settled in well and after topping the group and getting the trip to Ibrox is great, but Livingston is the focus.

“We were close to playing Rangers last season in the Scottish Cup and it’s great for the club.

“To get a big money-spinner for the board and the chairman is brilliant and we can savour it as players facing a Rangers team which will be good at a packed Ibrox.”