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SPFL Weekend Review – Saturday 25th January 2014

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Having warned people about possible pitch inspections and postponements – guess who forgot to check and went all the way to Dumbarton for the game with Livingston… Aye that’ll be me…

Perhaps though, our game must be put to one side to remember the family of the gentleman who went to Cappielow to watch his team and did not return. We all believe that should never happen and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the unfortunate Morton fan.

SPFL CHAMPIONSHIP

My match of the day ended as I predicted it would with Connor McGrandles and Rory Loy getting the goals to send Falkirk to the top having beaten Dundee 2-0. They were, of course, only able to take top spot because Hamilton let them. The Accies went 4 behind at home to Cowdenbeath after Greg Stewart and Kane Hemmings scored 2 apiece. Tony Andreu got 2 for Hamilton and with a James Keatings penalty it ended far more respectable at 4-3 for the visitors. With the games at Dumbarton and Kirkcaldy called off as well as the game at Cappielow abandoned for compassionate reasons that was all the action in the Championship last weekend.

It means that the top of the table is tight and tasty with Falkirk (39) top on goal difference from Dundee(39). Hamilton Academical (38) sit just below and as time progresses it looks like the automatic promotion spot to the Premiership belongs to one of these three.

Just underneath the chase for the final play off spot seems to be between any one of five possible candidates. Dumbarton (30) are still in the spot with Raith Rovers (30) just underneath them. Queen of the South (28), Livingston (28) and Alloa Athletic (28) are separated by goal difference though Queen of the South have a game in hand. I would be surprised if Raith Rovers were not the team in the final play off spot at the end of the season but I reckon there will be many twists and turns before April.

Finally at the bottom of the table, Cowdenbeath (21) got a great win to see them closer to Alloa though Morton’s abandoned game means we need to wait a week and see if they have a genuine resurgence or a one hit wonder.

SPFL LEAGUE ONE

My match of the day was witness to the continued good form of Ray McKinnon’s Brechin City as they beat Dunfermline Athletic 3-2 at home. Lawrence Shankland and Ryan Wallace put the Pars ahead but Derek Carcary, Andy Jackson and Darren Petrie got the goals that got the Hedgemen their win. It was frighteningly similar for the Champions elect at Ibrox where Arbroath were 2-0 up thanks to David Banjo and Bobby Linn before normal service was restored through Jon Daly, David Templeton and a Lee McCulloch penalty. Ayr United had gone ahead through Craig Malcolm at Stenhousemuir only for Ross Brash to equalise whilst Stranraer had the same scoreline at Airdrie but Frank McKeown had put them ahead only for Jim Lister to level. Finally in a day of come backs East Fife got in on the act as Marc McKenzie and Stephen O’Neill got the goals that sank Forfar Athletic and Gavin Swankie’s opener.

It means Rangers (64) are sitting up top. Beneath we have Dunfermline Athletic (41) with a run of 2 losses but neither Stranraer (34) nor Ayr United (33) seem capable of taking advantage. There is a 5 point gap between 4th and 5th and as Brechin City (28) are 5th and have now beaten both Ayr and Dunfermline over the last 2 weeks this could get very interesting.

Stenhousemuir (26) as well as Forfar Athletic (25) and East Fife (23) are off the pace but both Forfar and East Fife have a game in hand and could climb. Arbroath (17) and Airdrieonians (16) are both rallying so both the Loons and the Fifers need the points to escape the trouble.

SPFL LEAGUE TWO

My match of the day nearly succumbed to the weather but Jordan White got a late equaliser for Stirling Albion after Scott Davidson had put Annan ahead; Peter Watson got sent off for Annan late on. Scott Ross meanwhile got the Blue Toon’s goal to dispatch Queen’s Park and keep Peterhead up top. Clyde slid into 2nd with Kieron McDonald’s goal enough to beat East Stirlingshire. A Lee Currie double with one from namesake Paul Currie gave Berwick Rangers a 3-0 win at Albion Rovers. Montrose beat Elgin City 3-2 as Graham Webster, Scott Johnston and Paul Watson got Montrose’s goals and Jamie Masson and Shane Sutherland the goals for Elgin City; Mark Nicholson was sent off for Elgin.

It means that Peterhead (42) are now 5 points clear with the first two play off spots occupied by Clyde (37) and Annan Athletic (35) also 5 points clear of the final play off spot. These 3 should now be contesting the title and we can look forward to a very twisty and turny run in.

The final play off spot looks to be between Stirling Albion (32), Albion Rovers (30), East Stirlingshire (30), Berwick Rangers (29) and Montrose (27). With the league having been all about the squashed nature of the top 9 at one time it is interesting to now see 6 of them crammed into the dash for the final play off spot. Elgin City (23) fell further off the pace after losing manager Ross Jack whilst Queen’s Park (13), having won the Reserve League on Monday night at Somerset Park, have got a lot of future planning to do under new boss Gus McPherson.

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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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