Donald Stewart takes a look at all weekend games in the Scottish Football League in his SFL Weekend Preview.
SFL DIVISION ONE
Dundee v Ayr
Dundee will go into this one as slight favourites as they have not lost at home for 23 games. Ayr will want to replicate the form that has seen them put out two SFL Division One sides in the Ramsdens Cup. Dundee managed to sneak a win against Partick last week thanks to a last-minute penalty so it is a tight one to call. Former Dundee defender Eddie Malone will sit this one for Ayr whilst the home side have Ross Chisholm back whilst they wait for Steven Milne and Graham Bayne to prove their fitness before making a decision on their availability.
Falkirk v Partick Thistle
Jackie McNamara will want to forget last week’s last minute loss in the league by a contentious penalty to Dundee. Partick will also want to forget the contentious penalty loss to Hamilton midweek in the Ramsdens Cup. If they can avoid penalties they will fancy this game against Falkirk. Falkirk also lost to a single goal against Raith last week so two sides with great pedigrees should mean a great game. I think the home side may shade it though it should be tight.
Hamilton v Ross County
Hamilton managed their first win against Ayr United last week in their first game though it showed Billy Reid that the First Division is as tight as he expected it would be. Derek Adams managed to hold Allan Moore’s free scoring Morton to a goalless draw last week so will be expecting to hold onto the clean sheet habit. The home side must be favourites though and I think County will struggle this week to hold onto their unbeaten record.
Morton v Livingston
Two teams that came out the traps in the first round of both cups, scoring 22 goals between them in 4 games. This augurs well for a high scoring game but Morton’s goalless draw last week and Livingston’s 2 all draw with Queen of the South brought a stutter to their campaigns. Both, however, midweek managed to score 5 apiece in their respective Ramsdens Cup Quarter Finals so will want their cup form to translate into their league form. It may come down to which defence crumbles first and I expect a home win by an odd goal.
Queen of South v Raith Rovers
The Doonhamers managed a draw last weekend when many thought they might struggle against Livingston whilst Raith managed to tuck a single goal victory against ear neighbours, Falkirk, under their belts. Another tight one to call and Gus McPherson has made a decent enough start to his time at Queens whilst there is no denying that John McGlynn know what early season form means to his Kirkcaldy side. I expect an away win but would not be surprised at Queens picking up a point or three…
SFL DIVISION TWO
Albion Rovers v Forfar Athletic
Forfar were gubbed 5-0 midweek whilst Albion Rovers have the scars of a 6-2 away defeat to Arbroath last weekend when they had 2 goalkeepers sent off. Both have had their goalkeeping issues this week with season long loanee Grant Adam, brother of Charlie having been recalled by Rangers from Forfar. Forfar will be favourites for this one and should come away with a hard-fought victory.
Cowdenbeath v Brechin City
Brechin managed a 2-0 victory against Stenhousemuir last week to prove there is life after Rory McAllister though they did have to wait until late on for both goals. Cowdenbeath could only manage a 2-2 draw away to Forfar. Both are tipped to be there or thereabouts for the end of the season so this should be a tight game but I expect that Jim Weir’s side will continue their onward momentum. For Cowdenbeath they have Thomas O’Brien, Danny McKay and Dene Droudge out due to injury whilst Greg Stewart has recovered from a knock.
Dumbarton v Stirling Albion
Stirling suffered yet another thrashing midweek as they went down 5-0 to Livingston. On top of that news filtered out of the Double Trees Dunblane Stadium that another two Directors had gone. Jocky Scott will hope that matters on the field will have a more positive influence than what seems to be the struggles off it. Alan Adamson saw a threadbare squad punished by Airdrie United last week and will hope that home advantage gives him that edge. Dumbarton report that still out will be Ryan Borris whilst James Creaney looks closer to match fitness and David Winters’ international clearance is through. Martin McBride remains suspended.
East Fife v Airdrie Utd
Jimmy Boyle saw his side take all 3 points at home last weekend whilst John Robertson was witness to a rare event – a Stirling Albion win. East Fife bounced back midweek beating Elgin City 2-0 in the Ramsdens Cup and the Second Division’s only representative in the Semi Finals may well have the edge here this weekend.
Stenhousemuir v Arbroath
Stenhousemuir come into the game after losing 2-0 to Brechin City whilst Arbroath had a fantastic 6-2 victory against fellow promoted team Albion Rovers last weekend. An intriguing tie between two teams, neither of whom are quoted as possibly being at the top end of the table at the end of the year I expect an away win to add to David Irons’ woes.
SFL DIVISION THREE
Alloa Athletic v Clyde
Paul Hartley praised new striker Kevin Cawley after he managed to steal all three points at Stranraer last week and will hope that his team don’t need to depend on such good fortune. Clyde managed a win last week with a 2-0 victory against Peterhead. Pat Scullion for Clyde is a doubt whilst Ryan Kane, Paul McMullan and Declan Gallagher should feature.
Berwick Rangers v East Stirling
East Stirling were another side who scraped a 1-0 victory last week whilst Berwick found themselves being well beaten 4-1 by Elgin City. This should throw both of those results out the window and i could see an away victory here. I would also not be surprised if it was a home result either! Tight game.
Montrose v Elgin
Elgin won 4-1 at the weekend then got dumped out the Ramsdens Cup 2-0 by East Fife midweek. Elgin have clearly got some momentum going and Montrose will need to improve on their 1-0 loss last weekend or they are in for another long and hard season. I expect it to be a long hard season for Montrose…
Peterhead v Annan Athletic
Peterhead will be looking for Rory McAllister to help them put away the team that has progressed through to the Ramsdens Cup Semi final. Peterhead are well aware of Annan’s qualities – it was them that Annan beat in the Quarter Finals! Annan also won their opening league fixture comfortably putting 5 past Queens Park whilst Peterhead lost 2-0 to Clyde. Hard one to call but I think an away win again unless McAllister finds his true form.
Queen’s Park v Stranraer
Both lost last weekend and whilst the margin of the result for Queens – 5-2 – was harsher than the odd goal loss Stranraer suffered at home to Alloa this could be another tight one to call. I expect an away win by a single goal rather than the goal feast both served up last week.