Well what went on whilst I was away? Apart from a Croatian taxi driver who told me they won 2-0 when I hot Zagreb last Tuesday night and then over charged me it was a relatively peaceful week – wasn’t it? The top of the table clash between Hamilton and Raith ended 1-1 as Callum Elliot equalised Jim Keating’s opener. Livingston got back to their winning ways as Andy Barrowman got a late one to sink Alloa Athletic 3-2. Kevin Cawley and Ben Gordon had kept Alloa in it as Stefan Scougall and Coll Donaldson had put Livi ahead twice. Allan Moore described it as the lowest point of his career and having drawn with league leaders Hamilton the week before it is no wonder. A Kane Hemmings hat trick, Jordan Morton and Greg Stewart got 5 for Cowdenbeath whilst only Dougie Imrie could get any kind of reply for Morton in their 5-1 thrashing. Dundee got themselves closer to the league leaders as Craig Beattie also got a late winner as they beat Queen of the South 2-1. Peter MacDonald and Derek Lyle in the 2nd half had produced the stalemate at 1-1. Finally Mitch Megginson and Garry Fleming got the goals that made it 2-1 for Dumbarton at Falkirk. Phil Roberts scored for the home team and then got sent off.
It means that as we go in to today Hamilton are sitting top but now by only 1 point. They need to get back to winning ways as Dundee who are just below them are on form. The 2 other play off spots are being hotly contested now as Raith sit on 16, Falkirk on 15, Alloa on 14 and Dumbarton on 13. It still looks to me like Falkirk and Raith are the most likely to be still in these spots come May. Down the bottom it is a huge weekend for Allan Moore. Failure to win today could be disastrous. They are 3 points adrift with Queen of the South just below the 8th and 7th placed Cowdenbeath and Livingston. Both Moore and the Doonhamers’ Jim McIntyre are under severe pressure and today’s games will be critical for them.
MATCH OF THE Day
Hamilton Academical v Falkirk
This is a fixture that should tell us a lot about how the run to Christmas is going to look like. Hamilton need to start winning or they will be dragged back into the play off spots rather than sit in the automatic promotion position. Falkirk need to sort out consistency and losing last weekend was a bit of a blow. The Accies will have Lee Kilday available but no Ryan Finnie and doubts linger over James Keatings and Stephen Hendrie. The Bairns have no Phil Roberts, Ollie Durojaiye and doubts over Jonny Flynn that will open the door for David McCracken. Tough one to call and there might be very few goals in it.
Livingston v Dundee has a resurgent Livvi still finding their form under new manager John McGlynn. This is a brilliant tie and had 2 of the top 4 not been playing each other this would have been my match of the day. It ought to provide plenty of entertainment though I reckon Dundee will shade it. They will have to achieve that without Kyle Benedictus, Leighton McIntosh, Kevin McBride, Jamie Reid and Stephen O’Donnell. John McGlynn will not have Ross Docherty or Mike Mumpaya whilst Martin Scott is a doubt. Raith Rovers v Greenock Morton is a very tough tie for Allan Moore and many of the vultures will be heading there to see if Moore can survive. Raith will not have Dougie Hill whilst Joe Cardle is back and they hope to parade Kevin McCann as a new signing. Morton have no Thomas O’Ware, Reece Hands or Thomas O’Brian. There are doubts over Scott Taggart, Kabba-Modou Cham, Mark McLaughlin and Tony Wallace. With all due respects to Grant Murray this is all about the visitors and I expect a battling performance and if ever they needed big players to play huge games this is it. Moore is a battler and if he goes down it ought to be with a fight and a few choice words from the dugout…
Alloa Athletic v Queen of the South sees another manager under fan pressure with a tough away fixture. Jim McIntyre travels to the wasps with Zander Clark in nets after Calum Artel was again ruled out. Paul Burns and Stephen McKenna are similarly missing whilst Paul Hartley will have a fully fit squad if Jason Marr is declared fit. It is testimony to the work of Paul Hartley that a visit to Alloa is now described as a difficult one in the Championship. I have a funny feeling that both teams who lost last weekend will be up for this and home advantage may play a part. Finally Dumbarton v Cowdenbeath has 2 teams that have had their troubles at the wrong end of the table now looking to be a part of mid table security. The Sons have Steven McDougall and Nicky Phinn back but are without Scott Agnew, Scott Smith and Hugh Murray. Cowdenbeath only have one doubt in David Cowan. This is a fascinating one as Dumbarton need a wee run and lift and the Blue Brazil last weekend with their 5-1 win got that but need to kick on. I reckon the Bet Butler hoodoo may vanish for the home side today.