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SPFL Weekend Review – Saturday 18th January 2014

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Having suggested the weather would play absolutely no part in proceeding does it not go and throw a curve ball and lead to the postponement of 2 fixtures! The postponements were not the biggest surprise of the weekend though… That happened in the Championship… and then later in the week in League One…

SPFL CHAMPIONSHIP

With Dens Park being one of the pitches waterlogged my match of the day didn’t happen. Falkirk then took advantage and thanks to Mark Miller and Rory Loy got the Bairns 3 points at Cowdenbeath. The real shock of the day came after a Chris Kane double, Mark McLaughlin, Chris Turner and Jordan Kirkpatrick got Dumbarton their 5 whilst Kevin Cawley got 1 for Alloa. It became the platform chosen by Paul Hartley to announce his resignation. Queen of the South, thanks to Ian McShane got the win at home to Raith Rovers whilst Barrie McKay gave Kenny Shiels his first goal and win as Morton boss at Livingston.

The 2 horse race suddenly got to be a 3 horse race as Falkirk (36) gained ground on Hamilton Academical (38) just above them and Dundee (39) at the top. It has not been a race that has been typified by anyone getting their nose ahead and keeping it there so the Bairns have as good a chance as the other two of coming through and winning it.

The final play off spot is now a 5 horse race as Dumbarton (30) slid into 4th but Raith Rovers (30), Queen of the South (28), Livingston (28) and Alloa Athletic (28) cannot be discounted. I had thought Alloa would fade but the nature of that slip accompanied by their boss resigning has uncovered several conspiracy theorists. Hartley has said he has nothing on the cards but will take some time out but I would be surprised if the teams below this lot weren’t suddenly thinking Alloa could be the ones to catch. It certainly seems an odd time to do this as any new coach will inherit his squad and try to do something with it. The squad may not be in the best frame of mind as they will have come there to work with Hartley – particularly Liam Caddis – and now have to get used to new training methods, possibly new formations and a whole different set of mood swings.

Although they lost on Saturday Cowdenbeath (18) will fancy their 10 point chances in chasing Alloa whilst Greenock Morton (13) with that boost of winning will see Cowdenbeath as catchable as they play them twice before the end of the season. It was looking predictable before… It is looking highly interesting now…!

SPFL LEAGUE ONE

My match of the day had an unlikely result as Airdrie beat Dunfermline thanks to on loan Caolan McAteer’s goal. On Monday night it took a late two goals up at Station Park but Rangers got another 3 points on their way to the title. As the Stranraer and East Fife game was off Ayr United had an opportunity to go 2nd but Gerry McLaughlin, a Kyle McAusland own goal and a Graham Hay penalty cancelled out Gordon Pope’s  goal for the Honest Men. Finally Paul Sheerin’s Arbroath came from behind at Stenhousemuir as Chris Scott and Dayle Robertson cancelled Darren Smith’s opener. Unfortunately for Martyn Corrigan that result was also to spell the end of his time in charge at Stenhousemuir.

With Rangers (61) winning on Monday night they remain champions in waiting. I have a feeling that the title party will be here before the end of February. Dunfermline Athletic (41) can afford single slips and with Stranraer (33) with 2 games in hand over Ayr United (32) it looks like Ayr are the only ones who should worry about Forfar Athletic (25), Brechin City (25) and Stenhousemuir (25). Forfar sit with 1 game in hand over their rivals so Ayr do have a little breathing space, though it is being squeezed.

The bottom of the table has East Fife (20), Arbroath (17) and Airdrieonians (15) fighting for 8th. With the bottom 2 winning it is also another interesting tale at the foot of the table.

SPFL LEAGUE TWO

My match of the day saw Clyde back to winning ways as a Stefan McCluskey goal got the points against Annan Athletic. Peterhead went 5 points clear at the top after a 5 goal encounter at Montrose. Gerry Wood and Terry Masson got the Montrose goals as a Rory McAlister double and an own goal from Stephen McNally sealed the win for the Blue Toon. Colin Cameron got his time in charge at Berwick Rangers off to a perfect start as Darren Lavery, Dean Hoskins, a Lee Currie penalty and Paul Currie all got the goals to impress the new boss and beat Stirling Albion 4-0. Callum Gallagher and Scott Chaplain got the goals in the 1-1 draw between East Stirlingshire and Albion Rovers whilst Paul Gallagher and Joao Vittorio scored to give Queen’s Park victory over Elgin City. It was just the right welcome for new boss Gus McPherson who takes up the reins this weekend.

It all means that Peterhead (39) are now out in front and are finally beginning to show the type of form that should bring them the Championship. It would however be daft to discount either Annan Athletic (34) or Clyde (34) who are 2nd and 3rd. Annan also have a game in hand so could close that gap.

The play off spot is currently being battled out between Stirling Albion (31) with Albion Rovers (30) and East Stirlingshire (30). All 3 would possibly have taken this result at the beginning of the year but their recent progress has meant that they are slightly frustrated – especially for East Stirlingshire – after a very decent start to the season. Off the pace are Berwick Rangers (26), Montrose (24) and Elgin City (23). Berwick will be hoping that new manager Colin Cameron will bring some form of bounce to their play off hopes whilst just the same bounce is hoped for at Queen’s Park (13) as new manager Gus McPherson arrives with a massive reconstruction job to be done.

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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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