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SFL Preview – Saturday 11th August 2012

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SFL DIVISION ONE

I have tipped Falkirk for the title this year and they start away from home in Partick Thistle v Falkirk. Steven Pressley’s side have managed to get through both cup competitions with alarmingly similar results – two games against Rangers! For many this is the tie of the day as Jackie McNamara’s side is also being touted as promotion contenders. I would expect a hard-fought game that may end up with a draw but any indication as to how the season will go shall be way off the mark. Over in fife there is an intriguing match with Cowdenbeath v Dunfermline Athletic. The two new First Division sides take the field with Jim Jeffries’ side having a free weekend last weekend whilst Colin Cameron’s team lost out to Third Division Montrose. Again it will be folly to suggest this result will determine the season ahead but if Cameron’s newcomers think that there is a good to time to get three points off a former SPL team this is it. Both sides have fitness worries but for me this should be an away win…

More intrigue follows at Airdrie United v Dumbarton. The two sides that contested the play off final meeting on the first day of the new season couldn’t be better drama and this time round Jimmy Boyle will be fired up to take all three points. The Sons have brought in quite a few new faces and this may be to Boyle’s advantage. Home win for me. Greenock Morton v Livingston sees Allan Moore wanting to get out the blocks and settled quickly. He is another who has brought a lot of new faces in and for John Hughes this could be a danger. Hughes will not be fooled by their demolition of Stranraer last weekend. He knows more than most that one week you are a hero, the next you are a fool. My heart wants to see Morton take all three points but the football philosophy of the two Johns looks likely to make it more of a draw than a home win.

Finally it is Raith Rovers v Hamilton Academical. Once again there is plenty to keep you fascinated as new manager Grant Murray starts his campaign against old head, Billy Reid. Both will be desperate for a win. Raith are at full strength and Hamilton almost so. This could be a real good advert for the First Division and despite being last mentioned could prove the best of the bunch. I am going to go for an away win and Billy Reid starting the season with confidence.

SFL DIVISION TWO

Game of the day for me would have to be Alloa Athletic v East Fife. Second Division new boys take on their near neighbours. Paul Hartley’s men will want to put on a good show as they unfurl the Third Division flag. They have few problems in their line up whilst Gordon Durie has some injury concerns following their mid-week game against Rangers. I see a home win here but it won’t be easy. Ayr United v Stenhousemuir should be another home win as Mark Robert’s career as an SFL manager gets fully underway. It’s new boss v new boss as Stenny have Martyn Corrigan in his first season as gaffer. Goals are expected though John Gemmell will miss out for the Warriors. I have to go for a home win… don’t I?

Brechin City v Albion Rovers has Todd Lumsden’s side trying to pick themselves up and get into league business with a positive attitude.  He has vowed to attack this game and he may be spot on as Jim Weir is struggling to put a full strength side together. For me a sneaky away win. Favourites for the title, the Doonhamers, are at home with Queen of the South v Forfar Athletic. New boss, aren’t there so many of them, Allan Johnson will want to keep up the momentum and is likely to so do. Dick Campbell has some injury worries as does Johnson but the depth of the Queen’s squad should be enough to see them through.

Finally Stranraer v Arbroath has Derek Knox looking for something, anything to bounce back after their 8-0 hammering last weekend. The new boys to the Second Division are entertaining a buoyant Arbroath and there will be no easy games in any SFL ground this season but they could have done without taking on Paul Sheerin’s side. Games between these sides can be all drama and his time round I think a draw would satisfy all sides…

SFL THIRD DIVISION

This could get very boring if each week the game of the day was the one involving Rangers so let’s make it something else. Let’s make it Stirling Albion v Annan Athletic. The away side have brought in some fresh new faces and Harry Cairney needs to get some early points on the board. The Binos on the other hand have a momentum that should carry them through this fixture and hopefully set up a decent season for them. They are on a wee roll at the moment and I think that they will start a decent assault on the play off spots today.

Predictability will be Peterhead v Rangers. An away win will for some just be a shoo in but the Blue Toon have strengthened their squad pre season. I expect Jim McInally’s side to be one of the awkward squad and Rangers will not have four wins out of four from them. Unfortunately though I do think that the away side will triumph. That will be with or without their new Brazilian signing… At last though Ally McCoist is saying the RIGHT things about Scottish football and should be encouraged to be like that wee boy the night before Christmas as he described himself when he got the Assistant Manager’s job at Rangers all those years ago…

Berwick Rangers v Elgin City sees Berwick struggling whilst Elgin have been playing well. The target for the Borderers this year is the play offs – what else can it be for the rest of the Third Division – and I think that this could be a difficult game to predict. A draw would seem the most likely. East Stirling v Queens Park has the home side having won one and lost one cup game against higher league opposition. They are now turning their attention to the league. Queens Park have been playing well and getting the goals so it could be a down to who has the better chances. East Stirling need every point available to them this season but I cannot help but feel this will be beyond them today and will go for another away win. Finally Montrose v Clyde will see the home side looking for some comfort after a difficult start to the season whilst Clyde, merrily thumped last weekend at Somerset Park will just be looking for some points. It means that this should be a genuine contest that is very hard to call. Both sides have injury issues and it could be down to who puts the ball away on the day so for me another draw…

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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