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SFL Weekend Preview – 1st and 2nd September 2012

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SFL DIVISION ONE

Game of the Day

Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical

The two teams meet for the second time this week after an Ali Crawford extra time strike put the Accies through and the Jags out at New Douglas Park in the Scottish Communities League Cup. Thistle beat Dumbarton 3-0 at Firhill last weekend with Kris Doolan, Chris Erskine and Stuart Bannigan getting the goals in a display that has them being whispered as promotion contenders. Billy Reid meanwhile had to deal with a 1-0 defeat away to Cowdenbeath. There were signs that Hamilton were improving and the cup win would help with that analysis.

Partick Thistle

Reported In

Steven Craig (Loan from Ross County), Hugh Murray

Reported Doubtful

Aaron Muirhead, Steven Lawless

Hamilton Academical

Reported In

Stevie May (Loan – St Johnstone),

Reported Out

Martin Canning

Prediction

Thistle have two highly significant doubts over very important players and this could be an issue for them. Having said that they have been playing some excellent stuff and should be good enough for another win on home soil.

Dunfermline Athletic v Raith Rovers

The Pars had to wait until the last 10 minutes to halt Airdrie United’s winning run last weekend; Andy Dowie and Stephen Husband got the goals. Midweek they managed to progress in the Scottish Communities League Cup with 3 goals against Montrose. 2 came from Andy Barrowman whilst 1 was slotted away by Ryan Wallace. Raith on the other hand had a dour 0-0 draw with Livingston last weekend followed by dumping Ross County out the Scottish Communities League Cup 4-1. County had made 9 changes to their side from the weekend but it will matter not a jot to the goal scorers, Greig Spence, Brian Graham with 2 and Douglas Hill.

Dunfermline Athletic

Reported In

Ryan Thomson, Callum Morris

Reported Doubtful

Alex Whittle

Raith Rovers

Reported In

Possibly an SPL striker on loan…

Reported Doubtful

Laurie Ellis

Prediction

Another difficult one in Fife but I think the midweek boost for the Rovers may see them carry this one off though the Pars have enough experience to make it difficult and start to grind out results. Any result is likely so I reckon a narrow away win.

Greenock Morton v Dumbarton

It was another defeat for Morton last week as Falkirk came calling and left with the 3 points. Archie Campbell got the consolation. Dumbarton were well beaten 3-0 against Partick last weekend but managed to push Livingston to extra time in the Scottish Communities League Cup midweek. They may have lost 3-2 but can take great heart from their performance. Goals from James Lister in regulation time and Mark Gilhaney in extra time pushed things for the Sons.

Greenock Morton

Reported In

Michael Tidser, Mark McLaughlin

Dumbarton

Reported Out

Kevin Nicol, Pat Walker

Reported In

Chris Turner, Ross Forbes (Trialist)

Prediction

Last season Allan Moore had a torrid time of it thanks to injuries to key players and this season he and Mark McNally are again suffering thanks to the treatment table. Alan Adamson has seen his side take time to adjust to the First Division and it has been tough. He has brought in plenty of new faces but is still to see them gel. Moore having a full strength squad from which to pick should, for me be the difference and I think Moore will be celebrating his first win today. The worry for the Sons is getting detached from the rest of the First Division. This may be the point at which they have to dig deeper than ever before. They will wish they had opponents who had less to lose…

Airdrie United v Cowdenbeath

John Boyle got a first half goal last weekend against Dunfermline Athletic but saw it overturned as Airdrie lost their first league fixture 2-1. Cowdenbeath meanwhile dispatched Hamilton 1-0 with a first half Lyle Miller goal. Both were already out the Scottish Communities League Cup so had an easy week of it!

Airdrie United

Reported Out

Grant Evans, Ryan Donnelly, Willie McLaren, Scott Sally

Reported Doubtful

John Boyle

Cowdenbeath

Reported Out

Pablo Navas, David Cowan, Mark Ramsay, Liam Cusack

Prediction

Both have long injury lists so a draw would seem fair however both of these sides were favourites to be in the bottom half of the table and it has to be said that this may still happen so a decent contest should be seen if you go along! I am going to go with a home win on this occasion.

Falkirk v Livingston

Due to Falkirk being on Scottish Communities League Cup action on Thursday night this will be played on Sunday. Falkirk went out 3-0 at Ibrox and the manner of their defeat was in contrast to the way they made Rangers battle the week before in the Ramsden’s Cup. Last season Falkirk suffered from inconsistency – is this coming back again? They got their first win last weekend in the league away to Morton thanks to a Jay Fulton corner in the 9th flukily ending in the net and a 30 yard rocket from Lyle Taylor making the points secure as they won 2-1. Livingston had a bore all draw with Raith last weekend followed by the excitement of beating Dumbarton 3-2 after extra time in the Scottish Communities League Cup. An Iain Russell penalty followed by Bobby Barr and Dylan Easton in extra time to put them 2-1 then 3-1 ahead before Dumbarton pulled one back and Livvi having to hold on.

Falkirk

Reported In

Sean Higgins

Livingston

Reported In

Callum Booth (Loan – Hibernian)

Prediction

Falkirk need to lift themselves and Livingston are still awaiting the fruits of the revolution with John Collins and John Hughes. This should be a great spectacle with two footballing sides battling for the points. For me a draw or a narrow win for either side is possible but necks get stuck out on a first home win for Steven Pressley.

SFL DIVISION TWO

Game of the Day

Queen of the South v Arbroath

First v second in the league with the Doonhamers on a high. A Derek Lyle goal last weekend saw them beat Albion Rovers in the league whilst Nicky Clark and Gavin Reilly got one apiece to beat Hibernian in the Scottish Communities League Cup. Arbroath came from 2-0 behind last weekend to beat Alloa Athletic with goals from Derek Holmes, Paul Currie and Michael Travis making it 3-2. The Gayfield men did not have the same luck against SPL opposition in the Scottish Communities League Cup as they were put out 2-0 by Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Queen of the South

Reported Out

Kevin Smith

Reported In

Ryan McGuffie, Willie Gibson (Both likely to make bench at best)

Reported Doubtful

Derek Lyle

Arbroath

Reported Out

Darren Hill, Danny Rennie

Reported Doubtful

Mark Baxter, Michael Travis, Derek Holmes

Prediction

A home win for me and Queens to try and make the race for the title fairly one sided…

Brechin City v Alloa Athletic

Brechin had an Andrew Jackson double to help beat East Fife 2-1 last weekend whilst Alloa went from being 2-0 up against Arbroath at home– thanks to a Kevin Cawley double – to losing 3-2. Both were already out of the Scottish Communities League Cup so no midweek games to spoil them for this weekend!

Brechin City

Reported In

Alan Trouten, an SPL experienced trialist (Defender…)

Reported Doubtful

Gerry McLaughlin

Alloa Athletic

Reported In

David Cox

Prediction

This looks like an away win as Paul Hartley has adapted well to the 2nd division and Jim Weir’s team are lacking a little in guile. Winning last weekend may soften Brechin and rather than go on a run could sit back and hope they can pick up odd points to make the play offs in a very tight league.

East Fife v Albion Rovers

Gareth Wardlaw bagged a consolation for East Fife last weekend as they lost 2-1 to Brechin whilst Rovers were beaten 1-0 at Dumfries. Rovers have yet to score a competitive goal this season…

East Fife

Reported Out

Craig Johnstone, (Gordon Durie also unwell – Gordon Chisholm again in the dugout)

Reported In

Scott Smith, Jordan Foster (Loan – Hamilton Academical)

Reported Doubtful

Darren McCormack, David Muir, Paul McManus

Albion Rovers

Reported Out

Chris McCluskey

Reported In

Tony Stevenson, Ryan McWilliams (His loan recalled from East Stirling), Darrian McKinnon (Loan – Hamilton Academical)

Reported Doubtful

Mick O’Byrne, Kevin Green, Alan Reid

Prediction

This has all the hallmarks of a game that will either drag on or be an exciting prospect. The Fifers are struggling due to illness whilst the Rovers need a goal… from anywhere! Whilst set up perfectly I have a sneaking suspicion 1 goal may seal it and that would have to for the Methil side. I think Rovers will really struggle this year.

Stenhousemuir v Forfar Athletic

What a week for Stenny! Stranraer pinch a draw against them last weekend after Ross McMillan had put them ahead then they toddle back down to the west coast again and come away midweek with a 2-1 win in the Scottish Communities League Cup against Kilmarnock! A Brown Ferguson penalty and then John Gemmell made it 2 before Kilmarnock got a consolation! Forfar managed to beat Ayr United down the west coast too with a late winner to make it 3-2 in a keenly fought contest. Iain Campbell, Gavin Swankie and Martyn Fotheringham getting the win.

Stenhousemuir

Reported Out

Eric Paton

Forfar Athletic

Prediction

Forfar have a fully fit squad from which to choose and this should be a really decent tie. Stenny have to take their midweek form into the league and that may seal the win; if they don’t Forfar have proven adept at winning in the final minute! Home win for me.

Stranraer v Ayr United

Ryan Borris rescued the Blues last weekend against Stenhousemuir whilst a double from David Sinclair was little consolation for the Honest Men as they went down 3-2 at home to Forfar. If that was a bad result the 5-1 hammering at St Mirren Park midweek in the Scottish Communities League Cup beat it by some distance; Michael Moffat managing a consolation for Ayr.

Stranraer

Reported Out

Michael Moore, David McGregor

Ayr United

Reported Out

John Robertson, Martyn Campbell, Ryan McStay

Reported Doubtful

Michael McGowan

Prediction

Ayr have to win this otherwise the target of a top four place will start to look as real as the tooth fairy. Stranraer have little to lose as they will probably be most people’s favourite for relegation, though Albion Rovers are vying for that spot! An away win with my heart, a draw with my head, but if Ayr do win this, expect they will start to pick up some points.

SFL DIVISION THREE

Game of the Day

Elgin City v Rangers

Top of the table Elgin City entertain Rangers on Sunday in a game they will be expected to lose and hand Rangers their first away league win of the season. City hammered East Stirlingshire last weekend 4-1 with Brian Cameron, Craig Gunn, Ross O’Donoghue and Dennis Wyness doing the honours to send them top. Much transfer activity and speculation for the Gers followed the draw against Berwick Rangers – Andy Little getting their goal and then a 3-0 win against Falkirk in the Scottish Communities League Cup with Andy Little getting 1 and Lee McCulloch getting the other 2.

Prediction

This should be an away win and the luck that wee teams have had against Rangers at home has to come to a halt soon. Have to say would love that to be some time in the distance but think it will be this week!

Berwick Rangers v East Stirlingshire

Berwick had a famous draw last weekend – Fraser McLaren being the back page poster boy for the little teams, whilst East Stirling were being hammered 4-1 by Elgin City; Kevin Turner getting their consolation.

Berwick Rangers

Reported Out

Stuart Noble

Reported In

Fraser McLaren

East Stirlingshire

Reported Out

Ryan McWilliams (Loan recalled from Albion Rovers), Steven Jackson, Paul Quinn, Jamie Benton

Reported In

Grant Hay, Scott Maxwell, Michael Herd

Prediction

This ought to be a home win but East Stirling will have to start picking up points at some point. Don’t think it will be today though…

Clyde v Annan Athletic

Clyde got a win last weekend 1-0 away to Stirling Albion, Kevin Watt getting the goal in the 1st half. Annan had a 0-0 draw with Montrose. This is the 1st game on the artificiall turf at Broadwood and that may be the most exciting thing about the game…

Clyde

Reported In

Sean Fitzharris, Stevie Masterson. Bryan Gilfillan

Annan Athletic

Reported Doubtful

Craig Summersgill, Graeme Bell, David Murray and Michael Daly

Prediction

Harry Cairney has injury issues whilst Clyde seem to have a full strength squad. Mind you a full strengths squad that needs to start delivering is what Clyde have. Annan have promised lots each year and this is the one they will need to deliver in. I took Clyde to win last weekend and they did. For me they should do so again this weekend.

Peterhead v Montrose

A Rory McAlister penalty in the 82nd minute sealed the win against Queens Park for Peterhead last weekend whilst Montrose only managed a 0-0 draw with Annan Athletic. It was Montrose’s third draw in the league. Midweek they were then beaten easily 3-0 by Dunfermline Athletic in the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Peterhead

Reported Out

Paul Jarvie, David Ross

Reported In

Marc McCallum (Loan – Dundee United)

Montrose

Reported Out

Jamie Winter, Paul Watson

Reported In

Phil McGuire, Ricky McIntosh (Loan – St Mirren), David Crawford, Leighton McIntosh

Reported Doubtful

Jonathon Crawford

Prediction

Peterhead win.  I do think Peterhead between the tail end of last year and the beginning of this year have enough to gain second and considering Montrose’s current form this should be a slam dunk…

Stirling Albion v Queens Park

The Spiders recorded THE shock win of the Scottish Communities League Cup as they beat SPL new boys Dundee 2-1 with Jamie Longworth and Sean Burns getting the goals. They lost last weekend against Peterhead with an 82nd minute penalty losing them all 3 points. Stirling Albion have had a decent start but lost 1-0 to Clyde last weekend which is a worry for them. They have looked dangerous, particularly in set pieces off the foot of Scott Davidson.

Stirling Albion

Reported Out

Bradley Coyne, Shaun Fagan

Reported Doubtful

Brian Allison, Danny Ashe, Jamie McClunnie

 

Queens Park

Reported Doubtful

Michael Keenan, Tony Quinn

Prediction

Beating SPL sides can be a huge boost or help you lose your next league game. I am going for a home win here as I think Stirling will prove the hungrier…

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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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