The gloves are off and the new season is now upon us as the phoney cup war is a distant memory and we get the bread out the bin and the butter out the fridge for the new season ahead. So what can we expect this weekend?
Game of the day – Queen of the South v Dundee
This may not jump out at first but two new comers in the frame for the first game is a great start if we wish to see what the effects of John Brown’s long term strategy is for the Dundee club and whether the Doonhamers can actually manage to deflect the damage of losing Allan Johnston after one year in charge to Kilmarnock. The home side will unfurl the SFL division two flag with a squad that has Derek Young out and Danny Carmichael in. Their 3-0 defeat of Annan last weekend is a confidence boost for this weekend and they should be well up for this challenge. John Brown is not taking this task lightly and whilst Dundee were not involved competitively last weekend they will know how important it is to get some points on the board early on. For me therefore this is likely to be an away win.
The rest of the fixtures neatly divide into east and west. Let’s go east first with Alloa Athletic v Livingston. Alloa swatted Peterhead away 2-0 last weekend in what could have been a tricky tie. Following that game Paul Hartley is now missing 5 regulars for this first league game in the championship. Livingston managed an away win at Elgin City by 3 goals to 1. With both teams having enjoyed visits to the Highlands last weekend it should be an entertaining game between them here though Livingston, like Alloa are missing some key players. Tough to call this one, really tough but an away win is most likely. Raith Rovers v Hamilton Academical is a mirror image of last season’s first game and in that one Raith were 2-0 winners. The Kirkcaldy side go into this game unchanged from the last 2 weeks and were rampant 6-0 winners against Queen’s Park last weekend. Hamilton went to Stirling and won 3-0 so are equally confident though are missing key personnel. I expect this to be very competitive and could swing either way.
Over in the west we have Dumbarton v Falkirk where the Sons wish to have an entirely different season to their last one. Last time round they won only once before Christmas and a repeat would not be welcomed. They have former Accies midfielder Jordan Kilpatrick in as a trialist. Falkirk are once again doing what they have been doing for the last 3 or 4 seasons and bringing new young players into the side. They took Clyde out the cup last weekend so will be looking to start well this year in the league too. For me this should be a home win if Dumbarton are serious about being in a different place from a year ago. Greenock Morton v Cowdenbeath has Allan Moore with a smaller squad than last year aware of what level of expectation is on his shoulders. The key to that is a much better home record than last year so he will set out his stall accordingly. There should be no weary legs from their 6-2 win against East Fife last weekend after extra time though David O’Brian is out and Tomas Peciar is a doubt. Colin Cameron wants a much better record at Cappielow this year than last and a Kane Hemmings inspired win against Berwick Rangers last weekend should help boost them before today’s game. It therefore is very hard to call but I reckon Fortress Cappielow starts today…