We are now getting to see where the early runners are in each league and we can start to talk about who is sitting top and who are potential relegation fodder with some interest. Just exactly how accurate our views will be at the end of the season well, time will tell.
Ayr United v Falkirk
Ayr will be without Eddie Malone and Alan Trouten for this one having lost each in the previous two competitive fixtures. They will take heart from their draw last week at Dens but this has been a harsh entry into Division One for the Somerset Park men. Falkirk on the other hand, welcome back two defender Stephen Kingsley from injury and midfielder Mark Millar from suspension. They are well aware of the difficulties in taking 3 points away from Ayr. This could be another draw.
Livingston v Dundee
Livingston will want to draw from their second half performance against Morton last week but add the edge they had up until then in front of goal. Gary Bollan has a full squad from which to choose so this should be a fascinating tie. Dundee may give new striker Graham Bayne his debut as they try to get a better result than their draw last week at home to Ayr. I expect this to be an away win.
Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical
It’s top versus bottom and Jackie McNamara will be hoping to get a bit of momentum going form home just as Billy Reid arrives with a perfect record so far in the division. With striker Martin Grehan having left the club and Willie Kinniburgh injured reports suggest that Tam McManus will join veteran Neil McCann in the Thistle dressing room. Alex Neil will still be out for Hamilton but after their 5-1 demolition of Ross County last week they may not entirely miss him. This should be another away win.
Raith Rovers v Greenock Morton
Allan Moore took heart from last week’s result but will be determined that they keep up their momentum. Moore will be heartened that Marc Smyth looks like he has won his fitness battle as he is without Stuart McCaffrey, Andy Graham and Sean Fitzharris. Both Faoud Bachirou and Darren McGeough are struggling with injury so the right back on trial last week – Kevin McCann – returns. Only Iain Davidson will be out for Raith so John McGlynn will be hoping for his third league victory in a row. If Morton don’t respond well to the missing team members this could be a home win.
Ross County v Queen of the South
Derek Adams will want to get back into winning ways after a 5-1 drubbing last week. He is also left with only 16 fit players. Gus McPherson has his owns election problems but with only one or two out he should be feeling that the visit to Dingwall is worth it.
Airdrie United v Cowdenbeath
It’s 2nd v 4th as Airdrie have one face back in the squad – Sean Lynch – but Graham Goodall and Ally Woodburn remain out through injury. Cowdenbeath will have to do without Mark Ramsay, Dene Droudge, Thomas O’Brien and Danny McKay. Having won last weekend Colin Cameron will be keen to win at Airdrie. Jimmy Boyle may well have the resources though to make this one a home win.
Arbroath v East Fife
Arbroath go into this game with last week’s defeat fresh in their minds to avenge whilst John Robertson got their first win against Airdrie United. Paul Sheerin knows the value of good home form and wants Gayfield to be a fortress. With only Kieran McAnespie a doubt this will demonstrate whether Sheerin will have his way or not. John Robertson saw Mark Ridgers join Andrew Crook, Robert Ogleby, Scott Dalziel and David White injured and out for the weekend. The Fifers have only 13 fit players so if Sheerin wanted a tome to beat them, this is it.
Brechin City v Dumbarton
Brechin City will still be reeling form their defeat at Cowdenbeath whilst Dumbarton were on the wrong end of a 5-1 thrashing from Stirling Albion. Up front for Brechin, Jim Lister and Graham Weir are out giving Jim Weir a headache whilst Alan Adamson welcomes back Martin McBride. Ryan Borris is reported this weekend as out long-term. Despite being at the foot of the table Adamson insists now is not the time to panic. He is hoping for a better game this weekend but losing can be a hard habit to break. This may be a home win by a slim margin.
Forfar Athletic v Stenhousemuir
Forfar fell victim to a last-minute penalty last week so they will want to halt the Stenhousemuir train which got 3 points last week at home to Arbroath. Forfar have signed Adam McHugh ion lean from St Mirren after Rangers recalled Grant Adam. Stenhousemuir will welcome their own goalkeeper, Ally Brown back alongside Ross McMillan. They have also added to their squad with Shaun Fraser coming on loan from Partick Thistle. Only Grant Plenderleith will be missing. A hard one to call this could end up honours even.
Stirling Albion v Albion Rovers
Stirling Albion will be revelling in their 5-1 drubbing of Dumbarton. Jocky Scott will know that the form they displayed in the second half of that game will be needed more and more this season and he has hopes he will see Daly McSorley, Shaun Fagan and a third win of the season on Saturday. Paul Martin will see their goalkeeper, Chris Fahey back from suspension though Mick O’Byrne may be missing. John Gemmel will not be called into action until next week too. I would go with a home win.
Annan Athletic v Alloa Athletic
Annan are where most people though Alloa would be – top of the table – early in the season. Annan look like they will be without frontman Ian Harty which is a serious blow for them. With Sean O’Connor struggling and Bryan Gilfillan suspended they may well fall to their first defeat. Paul Hartley hasn’t found it easy and they will also be missing Ryan Caddis, Darren Young and Scott Bain. I am sure that Hartley will get the Alloa train back on track and that should start tomorrow.
Clyde v Montrose
Clyde have made an excellent start to the season whilst Montrose got a decent 3-0 win last week against Elgin. The news from Broadwood is good with only Pat Scullion a doubt. Montrose may be without Sean Pierce whilst both Jonathan Smart and Stephen McNally come back into the squad. A close one to call this but a home win is expected.
East Stirling v Peterhead
8th v 9th and both squads are looking to pick up quickly before any more rot sets in. With Nico Gibson a doubt and Steven Jackson definitely out this could be tough for John Coughlin’s side. John Sheran has had four straight competitive defeats and has a full strength squad from which to choose. This has draw written all over it…
Elgin City v Queens Park
This is another intriguing tie with Elgin losing last week and Queens Park picking up their first points. Queens Park will be without Michael O’Hara, David Anderson, David Murray, Tony Quinn and Steven Baillie. Allan Urquhart is a doubt. Elgin miss Brian Cameron whilst doubts surround Jamie Duff, Barry Wilson and Ross O’Donoghue. I can see Elgin getting the win here.
Stranraer v Berwick Rangers
Having been there or thereabouts over the last few years in the play off mix at the end of the season, Stranraer will be very disappointed to be at the bottom of the Third Division. Keith Knox has been keen to bring in new faces but there will be none for the weekend. He will be without Michael Moore and Stuart Devine. Steven Noble is rated 50/50. Berwick will still be without Ian McAldon but that is all they will be missing. This looks like an away win.