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SFL DIVISION ONE PREVIEW – SATURDAY 20TH APRIL 2013

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Last weekend they came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at the Shyberry Excelsior but on Tuesday night they just couldn’t manage to make it past a stubborn Raith Rovers defence. It means that this Saturday one point from their game at Falkirk will win the title and a return to the SPL for Partick Thistle. Airdrie’s defeat did mean they are now relegated and the irony of them going one up and then losing that lead late on will not be lost on Jimmy Boyle and the Airdrie faithful – it’s been a failing all year long. For Allan Moore’s Morton it means looking towards another year where they need to be contenders and their performance in the league this season should install them as firm favourites. Their league title challenge whimpered out last weekend as they lost 1-0 at home to Dunfermline. It seems to just have come down to who wanted the 3 points more and Jim Jeffries’ side need the points to climb out of relegation. Third placed Falkirk were on Hampden duty, losing narrowly to a Hibernian side that came back from the dead; Falkirk’s hangover hit on Tuesday night when they lost 3-1 at home in the league to Dumbarton. Just behind Falkirk, Livingston meanwhile lost ground as they lost as hosts to Hamilton on the Saturday and then drew with them at home again on the Tuesday. It allowed the Accies to climb further away from trouble.

Between them and Airdrie United the battle is looming as Dumbarton are increasingly looking like successful Houdinis; the Pars are doing a Dundee in gathering points in adversity whilst Colin Cameron’s Cowdenbeath beat Raith last weekend to lift themselves out of 9th only to be dumped back into that spot without kicking a ball midweek.

Whilst the Game of the day for most of the media will be at Falkirk as Thistle attempt to clinch the title, for me the fascinating tie is Dunfermline Athletic v Cowdenbeath. It is the Pars trying to stay up against the Blue Brazil who, sitting 3 points above them are the key to managing that. Both teams from now to the end of the season shall be the main event now that relegation is sorted and the championship is almost there too. Last weekend Dunfermline went to Cappielow and sunk Morton with a single goal from Ryan Thomson. Cowdenbeath also managed a win as James Stevenson got their goal at Kirkcaldy. It is also a time to go and chick yer money in a bucket for the Pars to survive and if there was ever an opportunity for a fan base to show how much they want to keep their team this is it…

Dumbarton v Airdrie United is mainly about the Sons staying up. Dumbarton won 3-1 midweek with goals from Mark Gilhaney and 2 from Mark Fleming. For Jimmy Boyle, Liam Watt opened the scoring and then they lost 2 goals in the final 3 minutes. This is end of the year stuff and not end of the pier stuff; if Dumbarton don’t win questions will be seriously asked as it could all but secure their first division status for next year! Hamilton Academical v Raith Rovers has an Accies team that had a Stevie May hat trick for the victory against Livingston last weekend followed by a dour 0-0 draw at the same place midweek! The Kirkcaldy side went down 1-0 at home to Cowdenbeath last Saturday and then held Thistle to a 0-0 draw away on the Tuesday. Is this about two fairly stuffy teams or two that are secure in the division and playing for pride? I guess this afternoon we may find out.

I will finish this preview by looking at the top of the table last for a change! Falkirk v Partick Thistle should be a big party whilst Livingston v Greenock Morton ought not to be a wake. Falkirk’s confidence as a team took a knock last weekend as they went 3-0 up in the Scottish Cup Semi Final and lost 4-3 to Hibs. They then entertained Dumbarton on the Tuesday and lost 3-1 – only goal coming from Lyle Taylor. Thistle came from behind for a 2-1 win at the Shyberry Excelsior thanks to Conrad Balatoni and Chris Erskine. They then faltered at home to Raith failing to win the title at home. They ought to get at least a point today but Gary Holt will do his best to stop it. The last seven days have been frustrating for Livingston as they played Hamilton twice and failed to score once. A 3-0 defeat was followed by a 0-0 draw – both were at home. Morton lost 1-0 last weekend and their hopes of winning the title ended. Had they avoided defeat and Thistle had not managed to win at Airdrie this weekend would have looked better for them. Now it looks like it needs to be next year. Allan Moore has pulled off the seemingly impossible before but this season that Houdini like title has already been taken by Dumbarton!

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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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