Another week and another SPFL review from Donald Stewart focusing on the action in the Championship down to League Two.
It was my match of the day as it had 2 teams flying at the summit of the league but ultimately Hamilton who were chasing an 8 point gap over Dundee could not quite get there and it ended 0-0. Falkirk meanwhile had their promotion hopes dented as they saw Greg Stewart win it in the final minute for Cowdenbeath. It was a similar scoreline at Palmerston as Greig Spence gave Raith Rovers the win; Mark Durnan was sent off for Queen of the South. Dumbarton managed to get back to winning ways at Alloa as Stephen Simmons cancelled out Andy Graham’s opener for the Sons before Scott Agnew from the spot sealed their win. The biggest goal tally of the day was at Livingston where John McGlynn, in his first game in charge saw his side go 2-0 up through Simon Mensing and Marc McNulty but Morton clawed their way back to 2-2 through Reece Hands and Kabba Cham – and this was all in the first half!
Midweek Queen of the South were relieved of the pressure of the defence of the Ramsdens Cup as Rangers came a calling and left with a 3-0 victory. Like Saturday the Doonhamers had someone sent off – this time it was Chris Higgins!
The league has Hamilton still sitting pretty at the top and there are a chasing pack of no fewer than 7 clubs all within 3 points of each other. Any one of them could be sitting in 2nd come the next few weekends so there is plenty to play for as the campaign continues. With John McGlynn in the hot seat Livingston did double their points total and being only 3 behind 9th placed Queen of the South means they are not far behind but will need to make some serious progress if they are to avoid being left ouit of the serious business of promotion.
I thought we might see some fireworks at Ochilview but instead we saw some old guy called Mark Roberts put Ayr ahead only for Darren Smith to equalise for Stenhousemuir. The large numbers arrived at Ibrox where Rangers came from behind to win 5-1. Alan Cook had put Arbroath ahead before Bilei Mohsni, Andy Little and a Lee McCulloch hat trick sealed the win for the league leaders. Dunfermline remained in 2nd spot with a 1-1 draw as Andy Jackson, for Brechin equalised the Par’s Robert Thomson’s opener. Down at the foot of the table there were first wins for both Forfar Athletic and Airdrieonians. James Dale, Dale Hilton and Gavin Swankie were on target for the Loons whilst Scott Durie replied for East Fife. Airdrie had to come from behind to claim victory at home to Stranraer as Chris Aitken from the spot and a Martin Grehan opener had Stranraer cancelling out David Sinclair’s goal for the Diamonds. Lewis Coult and Gregor Buchanan made it 3-2 late on.
Midweek Rangers progressed in the Ramsdens Cup after Lee McCulloch, Bilei Mohsni and Jon Daly saw off Queen of the South at Palmerston. Their semi final fate, along with Stenhousemuir, Annan Athletic and Raith Rovers will be known on Thursday.
In the league it means that Rangers are sitting right at the top with a 100% league record whilst Dunfermline and Stenhousemuir are 5 points behind. They may be sitting comfortably but the scourge of drawing has to disappear for Ayr if they are to resist a chasing pack including Brechin City and Arbroath for 4th spot. Down at the foot Stranraer are beginning to look forlorn and have been joined by an East Fife side that have been leapfrogged by both Forfar and Airdrieonians.
My match of the day saw only 2 goals as Kenny O’Brian and Scott Dalziel won the game at Coatbridge for Berwick Rangers. East Stirlingshire managed to get back to their winning ways after the blip against Peterhead as Max Wright got 2 to reply to Clyde’s John Sweeney’s 1. Annan Athletic saw David Hopkirk and Ally Love despatch Stirling Albion at Galabank whilst Peterhead managed to claw themselves back through Rory McAlister and Fraser McLaren in their 2-1 win against Queen’s Park. Finally the big game, goal wise, was at Borough Briggs where it ended Elgin City 3 Montrose 3. It see sawed throughout and Elgin had David Niven, Ross McKinnon and Sean Creighton to thank after Lloyd Young and 2 from Bryan Deasley had Montrose 3-2 ahead.
It means that East Stirlingshire are sitting 2 points clear at the top with Berwick, Stirling Albion, Peterhead and Annan not far behind them. Just outside the play offs every other team in the division bar one is sitting waiting and capable of claiming at least 4th spot. Down at the foot Queen’s Park are still to pick up a single point!