With clear leaders in the 1st and 3rd Divisions there is still a lot to play for in each league as we see the format for the season becoming increasingly clear.
As for the Cup, I wonder what the odds on an all SFL final are…
SFL DIVISION ONE
We start with the top of the table club, Ross County who are off to face Partick Thistle. The top four in Division 1 face each other in two clashes that should get the hacks out in force.
What a difference a year makes as Derek Adams is back and County are back on track. Having spent some time at Hibs as number 2 his heading back up to Dingwall may have raised eyebrows but his boys are raising the stakes in the race to the SPL. Adams may have taken the right road to being an SPL manager after all…. 3 points clear with Falkirk at home to Livingston their hope is that they will do the business and the other two will do them a favour managing to draw or Livi to win so they can open up a bigger gap. Jackie McNamara will have plenty to say about it though.
Gary Bollan will want to ensure that Falkirk’s ride on the roller coaster hits a downward slide as Livingston travel over to Falkirk. Both won last week and both drew the week before. Below Partick Thistle but on the same points total, Hamilton Academical will try to recover from being beaten 3-2 at home by Ayr United in the dying seconds to try again against Queen of the South. Gus McPherson needs to find some stability in the results and being away from home won’t be an advantage.
Also on the same points total as Hamilton and Partick is the meltdown that is Morton. Allan Moore’s side has failed to win since they were top of the league and have only one draw out of their last 4 games. They travel to Ayr United and will be assured that a victory lets them stay in the right half of the table. Brian Reid’s men last week showed that the victory against St Mirren was no fluke and they brought their gung-ho spirit into the league. This should be a cracker between two managers whose names were mentioned as outsiders in the race for the St Johnstone job.
Bottom of the league does not suit them after last year as Barry Smith’s Dundee entertains Raith Rovers who are one point above them at Dens. After the last two years John McGlynn did warn this year would be difficult but did Rovers fans think that this meant they would be down towards the bottom of the league? An intriguing tie as both need the points or they will start to feel top spot was a distant dream!
SFL DIVISION TWO
With Cowdenbeath at the top of the table on goal difference alone Colin Cameron will hope their visit to a resurgent East Fife will rediscover their run of good form. Their loss to Brechin last week will have to be avenged as John Robertson has finally seen the cup form that got the Fifers to the Quarter Final of the Scottish Communities Cup being replicated in the league.
Meanwhile Arbroath, recently knocked off top spot have a tough home game against Dumbarton. Arbroath have stuttered in recent weeks whilst Dumbarton sit just outside the play off spots and should provide a tough test for the second placed club. Stenhousemuir, in third are preparing for the visit of Jocky Scott’s Stirling Albion. Scott has never beat Stenny before as a manager and this looks as good a time as any as both have had terrible runs over the last two weeks. Both need to pick up points or drop further down the table.
6th take on 9th as Brechin City take on Forfar Athletic though there re only two points between them and the runs they have both been on recently suggest a home win. Would whisper that in any Campbell’s ear though… Finally Albion Rovers entertain near neighbours Airdrie United and Paul Martin will hope that his club’s early form will return to help get his team off the bottom. Meanwhile Jimmy Black will have fond memories of his last win as Airdrie boss in the league when they managed 5 past Stenhousemuir but that was on the 1st October!
SFL DIVISION THREE
Top of the table Annan Athletic visit the national stadium 3 points ahead of the rest of the pack to play Queens Park. The leaders of Division 3 managed a win in the Scottish Cup against fellow 3rd Division side Alloa Athletic last week after having drawn in the league against Elgin City the week before. Queens Park meanwhile managed a dent in Stranraer’s promotion hopes late on in the only league game played last weekend to win 3-2. Whilst 1st plays 3rd. 2nd will play 4th as Stranraer play host to Alloa Athletic. Stranraer and Alloa will want to recover their defeats last week against their promotion rivals and 3 points is always the best recovery medicine.
In another top versus bottom clash Elgin City travel from the north to the south to face Berwick Rangers. Berwick had a week off last week as Elgin put 5 past Fraserburgh in the cup. Berwick remain without a full-time manager and there is still time to get you CV in if you are interested in the vacancy…
A misfiring Peterhead side play host to a Clyde side, who put 7 past East Stirling the last time out in the league. Bizarrely last time out in the league Peterhead also managed 7, though this was against Stranraer – 7 bookings! Finally Montrose and East Stirling meet up north with Montrose hoping to climb the table and East Stirling in a familiar spot their fans really dislike – at the bottom of the SFL.