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SFL DIVISION THREE PREVIEW – SATURDAY 6TH APRIL 2013

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irnbru-sflWell, it is all over… All that is left is for the rebuilding programme and with a scout, a physio and a multi talented player already shown the door it looks like it is already started! Rangers are Third Division Champions thanks to the irony of a team that was fined for over selling Rangers scoring against an inept 2nd placed side. You couldn’t have written it! Queen’s Park’s slip against Elgin City has made the whole thing more interesting for the play offs as further slumps could cost them dearly as their once unassailable position could be put under real pressure. Midweek that vulnerability came back to haunt them as they drew 2-2 with the Binos. In 3rd spot Montrose’s point off Rangers looks incredibly valuable as they sit 1 point ahead of 4th placed Peterhead. The Blue Toon took advantage of Berwick Ranger’s slip last weekend to slip into the final play off spot but they are only 1 point ahead of Berwick. Berwick’s own loss to the Binos may cost them dearly as just behind them are Elgin City. Elgin’s win at Hampden was followed by a convincing thrashing of Clyde at home midweek. There are now 4 points between 3rd and 6th.

Down the bottom East Stirlingshire are back where they tend to lurk. Annan Athletic, Clyde and Stirling Albion are above them with Stirling sitting at the top. They have had a couple of good weeks again and perhaps they could argue they would make the play offs if others really started to drop points. There are only 7 points between them and 4th but a world of difference between their chances and those above them!

Game of the day for me is Montrose v Stirling Albion. This is a tie which pits the might Montrose who held out for a 0-0 draw against Rangers last weekend up against the Binos who are in fine form again. They won 1-0 last weekend at home to Berwick Rangers thanks to Mary Ferry in the 87th minute whilst midweek drew 2-2 away at Queen’s Park. Gary Thom and Scott Davidson had them 2-0 up in that game so it could have been better for the Binos. As it stands they need to keep that winning habit and Montrose are likely to be vulnerable if they are not careful. It would still be a big win for the Binos up at Montrose but I reckon they may have the momentum to cause further mayhem in this division.

Queen’s Park v Rangers is of more academic interest because the Champions will be watched to see what team they put out and how many supporters are now going to follow them. Queen’s Park really need the win and could be dangerous opponents for Rangers as their 0-0 draw at home to Montrose was woeful. Queen’s Park were beaten last Saturday by a 57th minute penalty whilst they fought back from being 2-0 down midweek at home to Stirling to get the draw thanks to goals from David Anderson and Aiden Connolly. My Ibrox mole is quiet – clearly scared in case he ends up on the scrap heap – so I reckon a home win would be neat and tidy. Peterhead v East Stirlingshire looks for all the world like a home win. The Blue Toon had Rory McAlister double to thank for all 3 points last weekend as Annan were visited, raided and Peterhead assailed 4th spot. East Stirlingshire are toiling is hardly a huge headline but they were well beaten 2-0 last weekend against Clyde. I cannot see why Peterhead would slip up again.

Clyde v Berwick Rangers is a curious one as Clyde won 2-0 last weekend thanks to Pat Scullion and John Sweeney before losing 4-2 up at Elgin midweek. Kieran McGachie got both goals for the Bully Wee then. Berwick lost 1-0 away at Stirling with an 87th minute winner that may have scuppered their play off hopes unless they can navigate past Clyde and their ilk. I would like to see Berwick make it tighter at the play offs but I have sneaky suspicion that Clyde may pinch this one. Finally Annan Athletic v Elgin City has a home side that is desperate to win a game. Last weekend though it was a 2-0 loss away at Balmoor they were very well beaten. Elgin City won 1-0 away at Queen’s Park with a Stuart Leslie penalty to hand Rangers the title but they followed up midweek with a 4-2 win at home against Clyde. The goals came from Paul Millar with 2, Craig Gun and an Iain Gray own goal. Elgin will be favourites and to be fair I cannot see past them this time round at all.

las”� kwHѻ x�� ister having put them ahead.  Livingston meanwhile had a 2-2 draw with Dunfermline Athletic last Saturday with Anthony Andreiu getting an equaliser to make it 1-1 before Marc McNulty put them ahead. They then got mugged by a penalty in the 92nd. Midweek they lost 2-1 at Falkirk after Ian Russell put them ahead, then he got booked and finally he got sent off. By that time they were already 2-1 down! This could be an excellent game of football between two sides that like to play decent stuff. My money is on the Sons revival continuing but Livingston are always there or thereabouts to cause trouble.

 

Dunfermline Athletic v Hamilton Academical has another club now used this season to battling in the Pars who drew last weekend with Livingston. Ryan Thomson and Stephen Husband got their goals and Husband’s goal was a penalty on the 92nd minute which goes to show just how much their battling qualities are worth! Hamilton lost 3-2 at home to Dumbarton last weekend with Gary Fisher being sent off with them being 2-0 down, Andy Ryan and then Stevie May attempted to get them back in it but it was too little too late. They then brought Dumbarton back midweek and after going 1-0 down, a Stevie May double got them all 3 points late on. Jim Jeffries will want a decent showing on and off the park as Gavin Masterton has decided to hand over his shares to the administrators. Now it should be OK for the faithful to turn up and put THEIR money into the future of THEIR team. With Billy Reid away at Hamilton I have a funny feeling they may begin to struggle and the Pars have got them at just the right time!

Finally in the league, Falkirk v Cowdenbeath has a home side with a new manager in Gary Holt who has a winning team on his hands. Last Saturday they triumphed 1-0 away at Airdrie United thanks to Lyle Taylor whilst on Tuesday Sean Higgins and Jason Talbot got the 2 goals in their 2-1 win away at Livingston. Cowdenbeath lost 2-1 at home to Partick Thistle last weekend and Craig Moore again equalised for The Blue Brazil but time is running out for Colin Cameron’s men. I have a funny feeling only a depleted points total for Dunfermline is likely to help them out of 9th. As it stands I cannot see them beating the form team that is Falkirk right now.

RAMSDENS CUP PREVIEW

Now there are only 4 games this weekend due to the Ramsdens Cup Final on Sunday at Livingston that features Queen of the South v Partick Thistle. This has the 2nd Division Champions up against the 1st division leaders. As charged atmospheres go, you can’t get much better than that. Queen’s have been magnificent this year and for my money are likely to prove very tough opponents for Thistle. Thistle will want the silverware but the bigger prize of the SPL may make them cautious about this game. It means that Queen’s are likely to be really playing on an even playing field and for my money I would not be surprised if Queen’s took the trophy!

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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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