It may have been a great weekend for some but for Jimmy Boyle it was the end of the latest chapter in his career. A highly likeable interviewee Boyle’s time in charge of Airdrie came to an end following their 2-0 loss to Forfar Athletic. The goals came from a trialist Jamie McCluskey and a late penalty from the boot of Ross Campbell. The board of Airdrie wasted no time and appointed Gary Bollan as their new manager. This has to be a curious one as Boyle was tasked in using youth and Bollan apparently lost his job at Livvi because he wouldn’t use youth! Rangers meanwhile march onwards though they had to survive a scare at Ibrox as Brechin were 3-1 up at half time. Graham Hay, Jonathon Brown and Alan Trouten had got the Hedgemen there with Jon Daly getting one back. In the second half Bilel Mohsni and then Nicky Clark with 2 saved the Ibrox men; Alan Trouten was sent off for Brechin City. Just underneath Rangers Ayr United took advantage of 2 surprise results as Ross Brown and Liam Buchanan struck to give East Fife a 2-1 win over Dunfermline Athletic. Jordan Moore had put the Pars ahead in the week that fans took over their club. Chris Aitken for Stranraer put away another spot kick to put away the Warriors as Stranraer got a vital 3 points against Stenhousemuir. It meant that the 2 goals from Kevin Kyle and Adam Hunter that beat Arbroath got Ayr into 3rd spot.
It all means that Rangers are winning the league; they are ahead by 10 points. It is going to be very easy to forget that they have to play 11 men each and every week but Rangers are running away with this. The play offs will be where the mini headlines are with Stenhousemuir still in 2nd by 1 point but both Ayr United and Dunfermline both sitting on 16 points. Stranraer’s win got them into 5th but they might not be long term candidates for the play offs whilst Arbroath sunk lower into the middle of the table after their defeat. It is down the bottom that it is crowded as Airdrie are last with 8 but only 2 points off 7th placed Forfar. In between East Fife and Brechin City will be looking to get a few other points on the board to drag themselves away from the relegation dog fight.
Match of the Day
Stranraer v Dunfermline Athletic
Dependant upon who wins will make one of the play off spots change or stay the same so this is a tie that will have massive implications for the top 4. Both sides go into the game with bumpy form but the Pars should be the favourites. With Chris Kane out, doubts over Alex Whittle but an available Jordan Moore there is not much in the treatment room to worry Jim Jeffries. Stephen Aitken meanwhile has no Scott Rumsby or Sean Winter with Steven Bell set to play as trialist and Lloyd Kinnaird facing a fitness test. I reckon this could be the one that marks out the difference between the play offs and the rest with an away win.
East Fife v Rangers is also likely to be an away win. East Fife have erected temporary stands to increase capacity and their wee financial boost will be welcome. They will have Robbie Neilson available, no Paul Willis and a doubt over Stephen Hughes. Rangers know there is experience at Methil and will be without Dean Shiels, Chris Heggarty and Ross Perry with doubts over Arnold Perarta and Lee Wallace. That experience may cause them trouble but as they showed against Brechin last weekend they can handle that. Stenhousemuir v Forfar Athletic sees a Warrior side that lost last weekend up against a Forfar side that won and saw Jimmy Boyle sacked as consequence. The Warriors have Ross McMillan and David Rowson back whilst the Loons will have Jamie McCluskey as a trialist again, no Derek Souter, Mark McCulloch, Stuart Malcolm or Keith Gibson. I think this may well be a home win but the form that Forfar have produced will make it tricky. The worry for Stenhousemuir is that Forfar’s performances have been consistently good and their win last weekend suggests their luck is turning…
Airdrieonians v Ayr United should be a cracking tie as Airdrie will want to impress new manager Gary Bollan and Ayr will want to build on their last 2 wins. Airdrie will have Chris O’Neill available but no Grant Drummond or John Boyle whilst Nathan Blockley is doubtful. Ayr will be without Martyn Campbell or Alan Forest whilst gaffer Mark Roberts is doubtful. I fully expect a cracking game and can’t work out how it will go. Obviously an Ayr win is in my heart but Airdrie have the squad to be awkward. Finally Brechin City v Arbroath has a home side that nearly pulled off a shock at Ibrox up against a team whose form has been rollercoaster all season. Brechin won’t have Allan Walker, Alan Trouten, Derek Carcary and Stephen Robb whilst Arbroath have a horrendous injury list. Out are Connor Birse and Ricky Little whilst rated doubtful are Lee Sibanda, Ross Chisholm, Allan Cook and Steven Milne. They will have Lee Erwin for another month from Motherwell and Graham Bayne is back. I fully expect Brechin’s recent form to translate into points today.