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SFL Weekend Preview – Saturday 8th December 2012

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With so many postponements already in the wind it looks like it will be poor pickings from the games that are left in the SFL. Bizarrely it looks like the card most likely to survive is in the 3rd division! Following the cup exploits of some SFL clubs last weekend we still have 10 SFL clubs with an interest in the cup. Replays may put paid to some of those clubs but mention must be made to Arbroath FC. Paul Sheerin may have won their first ever national silverware but he has added another peachy memory with one of their biggest and most memorable games when they recorded the 1-1 draw at Parkhead. An almighty achievement and even if they don’t manage to beat the mighty European qualifiers at Gayfield the sair heads will still be an adequate souvenir to those who made the trip to the East End of Glasgow.

In division two Queen of the South have become the Ross County of the SFL this year with Alloa maintaining the pressure and the play off spots up for grabs. East Fife have certainly benefited from Billy Brown’s experience but the bottom two – Stranraer and Albion Rovers – are looking increasingly forlorn.

In division one the Thistle juggernaut may get overtaken this weekend as Thistle’s game is off. Dunfermline and Morton are, on the Friday night, due to play – that may not last into Saturday afternoon!

SFL DIVISION ONE

Livingston v Dunfermline Athletic

For Livingston last weekend was a drop out the cup after Dundee came visiting as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat. The week before in the league it was the same scoreline away at Firhill. For the Pars their trip to Firhill last weekend was more fruitful as they came away 1-0 winners thanks to an Andy Barrowman header. The week before they had maintained the pressure at the top by thumping Dumbarton 4-0 at home with goals from Josh Falkingham, Ryan Wallace, Joe Cardle and an Andy Graham own goal.

Livingston

Reported Out

Paul Watson, Jason Talbot

Reported Doubtful

Iain Russell

Dunfermline Athletic

Reported In

Andy Barrowman, Josh Falkingham

Thoughts…

Dunfermline will take great heart from last week beating Thistle. For Livvi it was no disgrace being beaten by an SPL side, however they have taken a wee tumble recently. It makes the Pars the favourites but how many times have sides had the opportunity of taking advantage of their nearest rivals being idle and slipped up?

Raith Rovers v Greenock Morton

Raith got past the tricky Deveronvale with a 2-1 victory thanks to 2 goals from the machine that is Brian Graham. The previous week they had come off a 0-0 draw away at Airdrie United where they couldn’t take advantage of the hosts being down to 10 men for the majority of the 2nd half. Morton had Peter Weatherson to thank for keeping them in the cup as they got a draw with Turriff United to bring them back to Cappielow. The previous week Lewis Hawke had saved their blushes with the only goal of the game against Cowdenbeath at home

Raith Rovers

Reported Out

Simon Mensing

Reported In

Dougie Hill, Allan Walker

Greenock Morton

Reported Out

Craig Reid, Stephen Stirling, Peter MacDonald

Reported Doubtful

Archie Campbell

Thoughts…

I think Morton, despite their trials against Turriff should come away with a victory. Raith have blown a wee bit hot and cold in the last few weeks and if they don’t playa s well as they can Morton are in the mood to take all 3 points.

SFL DIVISION TWO

Alloa Athletic v Queen of the South

This has to beat the weather! There is a pitch inspection at 12pm.  Alloa won 2-0 away to Stenhousemuir last time out with goals from Kevin Cawley and a wee spectacular one from Stephen Simmons. Having won 2-0 in the league the week before thanks to Ryan McGuffie and Nicky Clark, the Doonhamers went to Killie and came away with the plaudits but no win. The 2-1 loss saw them out the cup with Stephen McKenna off in the early part of the first half and a Nicky Clark consolation part of a story that included how well the Queens team played.

Alloa Athletic

Reported Out

Mitch Megginson (Recalled by Aberdeen)

Reported Doubtful

Martin Grehan

Reported In

Darryl Meggat, Ryan McCord

Queen of the South

Reported Doubtful

Kevin Smith

Reported In

Stephen McKenna

Thoughts…

This ought to be an absolute cracker with two teams committed to playing attacking football and the ability to deliver. It could be a game where the juggernaut from Dumfries is derailed or just another Saturday in the 2nd division where Queens mop up another 3 points. I would hope for the sake of interest in the automatic promotion spot that the home side get it but the way Queens are playing will be drawing crowds into Palmerston and so it should. Further success will bring more people through the turnstiles. It’s a difficult one to call.

Arbroath v Stenhousemuir

The boys from Gayfield had lost 2-1 away to East Fife with a Paul Currie equaliser having given them hope of points at Methil. They then arrived at Parkhead. It must have felt like an impossible dream but a late equaliser from Stephen Doris has given them a replay. The Warriors meantime lost 2-0 in the league at home to Alloa Athletic before losing 1-0 at home to Falkirk in the Cup.

Arbroath

Fully fit squad

Stenhousemuir

Reported Out

John Gemmell

Reported Doubtful

Craig Anderson, Andy Rodgers

Thoughts…

Arbroath come into this on a real high – but is it enough to take advantage of Martyn Corrigan’s side’s slump? It is perhaps hard to call but Arbroath were struggling before Parkhead and a return to league action could be a rude awakening. I think the home side, in the conditions likely to be faced up north may make that pay to their advantage.

SFL DIVISION THREE

Midweek Elgin City missed the chance to go top, drawing 1-1 with Peterhead whilst last weekend Montrose snuck into the play offs by thumping Berwick Rangers 4-1. There are some intriguing ties though…

Game of the Day

Berwick Rangers v Peterhead

The Borderers lost 4-1 at home to a resurgent and rampant Montrose though Ross Gray had put them ahead! Midweek the Blue Toon had new signing David Cox to thank for a share of the spoils at home to Elgin City. Cox has come from Alloa Athletic in what have been claimed are controversial circumstances. It seems it has, so far been the right move!

Berwick Rangers

Reported Doubtful

Lee Currie

Reported In

Fraser McLaren, Ross Gray, Steve Notman

Peterhead

Reported Out

Callum MacDonald, Graeme Sharp, David Ross

Reported In

Ryan McCann, Stephen Maguire

Thoughts…

I have long believed that Peterhead, under Jim McInally, should be naturally in the play offs. Their draw midweek may have dampened their own belief but I think the addition of Ryan McCann could be significant. The Borderers have been as inconsistent as … well …. Peterhead but I would expect the Blue Toon to have enough…

Annan Athletic v Queen’s Park

Both last played in the league a fortnight ago so this tie should be all about blawing cobwebs aff. There is no pitch inspection planned and the team at Annan are confident the game will be played.

Annan Athletic

Reported Out

Steven Swinglehurst, Graeme Bell

Reported Doubtful

Lewis Sloan

Queen’s Park

Reported In

David Anderson, Aidan Connolly

Thoughts…

There is no doubt that Harry Cairney will hope that he can pick up another 3 points here. Gardner Speirs will be equally anxious. What is apparent is that both teams need the points to keep up momentum and into the play off spots. It’s a tight one on paper – let’s hope that the fans are warming their hands regularly in praise of the play…

East Stirlingshire v Montrose

Only the visitors were in action last weekend as Montrose were rampant 4-1 winners away to Berwick Rangers. Leighton McIntosh, Jamie Winter, Scott Johnston and Lloyd Young got the 4 goals.

East Stirlingshire

Reported Out

Phillip Zufle, Rhys Devlin, Jamie Glasgow, Jamie Benton, Craig Donaldson

Montrose

Reported Out

Paul Lunan

Thoughts…

Montrose are on a roll and to be honest I cannot see past them in this fixture. I watched Leighton McIntosh when he appeared in a Dundee shirt and then he looked a player. He clearly was never going to be SPL material this early in his career from having been in junior football but it seems that he has joined a club at the right time and is chipping in himself to their resurgence.

Elgin City v Clyde

It’s been a busy week for Elgin – losing 3-0 at Ibrox in the cup then drawing 1-1 at home to Peterhead. Stuart Leslie drew them level. Clyde’s last league game was a fortnight ago so any hope of momentum is doubly scuppered – they lost then to Annan.

Elgin City

Reported Doubtful

Lewis Halford

Clyde

Reported Out

David Marsh

Reported In

Gavin Brown, Michael Oliver

Thoughts…

It would be an interesting 7 days if Elgin could get a win and manage a loss, draw and win within that time frame. They could do with it as they are in a fantastic place, 2nd behind Rangers just now, but that will only be maintained if they can despatch the likes of Clyde at home on frosty December weekends…

Rangers v Stirling Albion

With their 3-0 cup win at Ibrox against Elgin City last weekend confidence is high in Govan. Dean Shiels, Kevin Kyle and Kai Naismith got the goals whilst the only team to beat them in the league this season – The Binos – have not been in action since the end of November.

Rangers

Reported Out

Emilson Cribari, Ross Perry, Sebastian Faure

Reported Doubtful

Kane Hemmings

Reported In

David Templeton, Francisco Sandaza

Stirling Albion

Reported Out

Jamie McCunnie, Jamie Clark, Danny Ashe, Gavin McPherson

Reported In

Gary Thom, David McClune, Kieran McAnespie

Thoughts…

I have consulted my Glasgow expert who says that I have permission to go for a home win and “they should take 5 or 6 off Stirling surely…” If he’s wrong – don’t blame me – I was only following orders!!!

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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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