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SFL DIVISION ONE PREVIEW – SATURDAY 27TH APRIL 2013

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irnbru-sflIt’s congratulations time for Partick Thistle as they won the league and promotion back up to the SPL with a 2-0 win at Falkirk. The season past has been one full of opportunity for Thistle and next year shall be another one for the Firhill faithful but as Allan Moore conceded a few weeks ago if they get more points than anyone else they deserve the title. At times this season Thistle have been fantastic and they certainly have won the title playing good football. Let’s hope the SPL sees that next year! Greenock Morton visited Livingston and matched Thistle’s feat by winning 2-0 away from home. The battle for the 3rd spot saw Hamilton emerge as outsiders as they beat Raith Rovers 2-0 too! The defeats for Falkirk and Livingston along with that Hamilton win means they are separated from Hamilton by one point alone with 2 games to play. The battle at the basement saw Dumbarton achieve almost certain safety with a 4-1 win at home to a relegated Airdrie whilst the Pars beat the Blue Brazil to sit above them on the same points but by goal difference going into the last 2 rounds of this huge battle.

The game of the day has to focus on the bottom rather than the top with Cowdenbeath v Dumbarton the prime candidate. The Blue Brazil had Dunfermline last weekend and crashed to a Stephen Husband penalty whilst Dumbarton were rampant against Airdrie United. Their 4 goals came from Andrew Graham, Paul McGinn, Scott Agnew and Steven McDougall. The Sons need a win to be safe; the Blue Brazil need a win for them and a loss for the Pars at Firhill to get to 8th. I reckon as they both need something this should be a cracker but I think Colin Cameron will be searching for something again next week at Hamilton.

Partick Thistle v Dunfermline Athletic could at one time have been a highly important top of the table clash; now its significance is in deciding the play off spot at the bottom. Thistle went to Falkirk last weekend and thanks to former Pars player Andy Dowie and Kris Doolan came away with the win and the title. The Pars got their win against Cowdenbeath thanks to a Stephen Husband penalty and are looking like they could defeat the 15 point penalty and stay in the first for next year. All they have to do is keep winning – and keep doing that against the champions. Thistle will be at Firhill to party and that atmosphere might suit a wily old fox like Jim Jeffries and I reckon that might be enough to get them something from the game. Greenock Morton v Hamilton Academical may indeed be academic for Morton as they are safely in 2nd spot but their final home game of the season gives them a chance to thank their fans and start building for next year. Their 2-0 win at Livingston last weekend came thanks to Archie Campbell and Kyle Wilkie and they will be hoping for a repeat this weekend. Hamilton had Stevie May and Andy Ryan to thank for their 2-0 win at home to Raith and a team that was at one point looking at the wrong end of the table are now in contention for 3rd to show how darn competitive this year has been. Whilst Morton may be playing for pride, Alex Neil may be playing for a job as player/manager next year so the away side could prove the hungrier.

Raith Rovers v Falkirk is a derby between two sides that lost 2-0 last weekend and dampened their season considerably. For Raith their 2-0 loss at Hamilton means they are in the bottom 5 and although relegation was never a serious issue it was not what the Kirkcaldy faithful expected for the season past. For Falkirk their 2-0 loss gave Thistle the title and a year in which they lost a manager and a semi final 4-3 in extra time can be counted as mixed blessings. This is a derby which has all the hallmarks of a meaningless end of year game and the hope that the derby tag will lift it may be forlorn. The Bairns are in the hunt for 3rd and anything less would be seen as failure. Raith will be playing for pride and contracts for next year. Finally Airdrie United v Livingston sees the home side bow out of the first division at the Shyberry Excelsior with one of the youngest sides that Jimmy Boyle has ever put out – and that IS saying something. Their 4-1 hammering at the Bet Butler stadium last weekend was hardly surprising with a consolation from Gregor Buchannan. If they win today they will have won twice at home – in the first game of the season and the last! Livingston may be in 3rd but they are looking for their first win in 5 games so this could be the win they seek.

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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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