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SFL DIVISION ONE PREVIEW – SATURDAY 4TH MAY 2013

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irnbru-sflIt’s the last day of the season for some of the teams playing today marking a time to look forward to the future and new challenges after a long hard season. For Partick Thistle that’s the SPL, for Airdrie United Division Two but for Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline Athletic it’s about whether their season ends today or in a fortnight’s time. They are battling to avoid ninth place and their games last weekend are little clues to how they may fare today. Whilst the machinations of 10 clubs looking for SPL2 are being played out in the media spotlight we have a real competition on the pitches at New Douglas Park and East End Park.

Looking back though it’s been a hectic season for all 10 clubs, Thistle have got back to the top flight after 9 years; Greenock Morton have had their best season for ages; Falkirk started with their guiding light and lost him to Coventry – but no for a bad reason – but still made one half of a dramatic a Cup Semi Final; Livingston started with 2 Johns and then lost both of them; Dunfermline on the other hand nearly lost everything; Jimmy Boyle at Airdrie United struggled not to lose the plot; Dumbarton found a saviour in Ian Murray; Hamilton lost long term servant Billy Reid but found the league’s top scorer in Stevie May; Colin Cameron found life difficult in the league; and Grant Murray had a season that didn’t match Raith’s ambitions. It’s been a good season with plenty to talk about, but what of the last few games?

Games of the day will be Hamilton Academical v Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline Athletic v Airdrie United.  Hamilton are on a run and unlikely to lose that momentum. Last weekend it was a 2-0 win at home against Morton. Cowdenbeath meanwhile lost 3-2 at home to Dumbarton. On paper it makes them favourites to lose but both Stevie May and Craig Moore have been banging goals in recently so it could be a dramatic last day encounter for the Blue Brazil. In the east, the Pars almost made it to safety last weekend but lost 2 late goals at Firhill that has put them 1 point ahead in 8th. At any other time in the season a 3-3 draw with Thistle would have been acceptable but not at this point. Airdrie United, already relegated lost 2-0 at home to Livingston. It means they have only won once at home all season.  Airdrie have major selection problems and have included a 14 year old in their squad. If Dunfermline win they stay up. Their under 20s lost the Youth Cup midweek and there was a suggestion that the lion’s share of that squad would make up the numbers today but Jim Jeffries has had good news on that front as a number of first team regulars are back for first team action. It’s hardly helicopter Saturday but the likelihood is that the Pars fans will still be in Division One and it is the play offs for Cowdenbeath.

Dumbarton v Partick Thistle has two of the brightest stories of the season up against each other. The Sons won away at Cowdenbeath last weekend 3-2 whilst Thistle came back from behind to draw with Dunfermline. Thistle have a points target whilst Dumbarton want to end as high up as possible; Thistle will be saying goodbye to the SFL whilst the Sons will be celebrating staying in its top flight; sounds like party time at the Bet Butler no matter what happens. Falkirk v Greenock Morton has the Bairns coming off a 0-0 draw at Kirkcaldy against a shell shocked Morton that lost 2-0 away at Hamilton.  Both have players moving on or having moved on so for football purists this looks like a fascinating game but for the rest could be a real damp squib. Finally Livingston v Raith Rovers has a Lions team that won last Saturday away at Airdrie United whilst Raith were in that dour 0-0 draw at home to near rivals Falkirk. Livingston have a number of selection worries whilst Raith have a full squad from which to choose. To be fair I don’t think it will make much difference to the result as contracts and not promotions are to be played for.

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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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