Donald C. Stewart previews the Second Division action this weekend. Livingston have already won the title, but the real battle is now for those all important play-off places.
Airdrie United versus Livingston
Just what will happen with the league leaders – the only Full Time club in the second division as the clock ticks down to the end of the season? With details of their debt becoming the subject of some debate and their elevation to the home they were evicted from two years ago now assured what can be expected of their final three games? Having played a double-header against Ayr United over the week that they drew and won respectively they now find themselves up against an Airdrie United side chasing the play offs. Jimmy Black has been magnificent this year in finding a group of players that can do a job for him – similar to Barry Smith at Dundee – and the opportunity to be involved in the play offs is a final cherry on the top of their season. The likelihood is that Livingston will play out the game with Airdrie United will fight. Back Livingston if the division means nothing to you and Airdrie United if you want to see the play offs become a competitive battle.
Alloa Athletic versus Stenhousemuir
One time play off challengers Alloa play host to Stenhousemuir who are looking for some form of respite from the wrong play offs… This should be a fascinating game as Alloa are only 4 points above Stenhousemuir. Last week Alloa registered yet another loss whilst Stenhousemuir managed to halt East Fife’s recent run. Alloa’s manager Allan Maitland is hoping to bring the curtain down on a season described as disappointing whilst Davie Irons shall want to creep further to safety. Davie Irons has already had his slide rule out to work out how to avoid the play offs and the news regarding injuries looks much better for him than it does for Alloa. If you want the play offs to end in a damp squib it has to be Alloa – looking for a fight to the finish Stenny has to be backed.
Brechin City versus Forfar Athletic
Jim Weir’s side is in freefall. Having been, just a few games ago, chasing Livingston they now find themselves scrabbling for a handhold whilst trying not to fall through the trap door that Forfar are guarding the Campbell brothers will hope that Brechin City’s bad run for April shall continue. Brechin have not won in April whilst Forfar have won their last two. Airdrie United will be keen observers of this game and they will hope for a Forfar win so they can close on Brechin. A Brechin win would buck the April trend but make the play offs more secure for all three clubs in the play off spots whilst a Forfar win would make the battle for fourth place a tad more interesting…
Dumbarton versus Ayr United
Now that Dumbarton have a manager without the title interim in place their need for just a point for safety may see them play cautiously. Ayr United need those points to cement their play off place and it should be an interesting encounter. Ayr have been all over the place in recent games and the need to find a settled pattern for the play offs should be occupying their minds rather than finding a few points to make sure they can be in the play offs. A Dumbarton win would secure second division status for them whilst an Ayr win means they have a play off place. A draw might, however suit both!
Peterhead versus East Fife
As John Robertson has already started planning for next year and Peterhead entertain the most slender hopes of staying up this could be curtains for Peterhead or a meaningless game for the Fifers. Peterhead managed a creditable draw against Brechin City last time out after a very poor run of results. It means no momentum for Peterhead but hope spring eternal and should Alloa manage to overcome Stenhousemuir, a Peterhead win brings them closer to the play off spot. East Fife need other teams to do them favours if they are able to get into the play offs but realistically Robertson is right to start working towards next year.