The weekend gave us a real struggle back at the top of the Championship table along with the relegation playoff spot heating up again, as indeed has the relegation spot at the foot of League One though the promotion playoff spots are also becoming more intriguing but down at League Two it is almost all done and the playoffs are nearly sorted…
|CHAMPION CONTENDERS||Hamilton Academical, Dundee, Falkirk|
|PLAYOFF CONTENDERS – PROMOTION||Hamilton Academical, Dundee, Falkirk, Queen of the South, Dumbarton|
|GUARANTEED THIS LEAGUE NEXT YEAR||Livingston, Rangers|
|PLAYOFF CONTENDERS – RELEGATION||Raith Rovers, Alloa Athletic, Cowdenbeath|
My match of the day was an excellent affair – if you were from Dumfries! Iain Russell, Derek Lyle and Kevin Holt scored to take the 3 points back there and they look to have halted Dumbarton’s march towards the playoffs. Hamilton Academical got back on top as Jason Scotland and Andy Ryan got the goals to see off Alloa Athletic whose Ross Caldwell got them a consolation. Dundee moved to the side to allow the Accies to the top as Dougie Imrie got the only goal of the game to give Greenock Morton yet another victory which continues to have them centre stage in the league run in. Falkirk maintained their pressure on the top as Rory Loy and Connor McGrandles got on the score sheet before a Will Vaulks own goal gave Raith Rovers a lifeline they couldn’t capitalise upon. Finally Cowdenbeath – thanks to doubles from John Armstrong and Kane Hemmings – saw Livingston off 4-0.
It all means that the Championship will be decided between Hamilton Academical (64), Dundee (63) and Falkirk (62). I still think that Dundee could do it but Alex Neil has put the Accies in the driving seat once again. Morton will entertain Hamilton and Falkirk over the next fortnight and with Dundee having lost to them last Saturday it is clear how dangerous playing teams with nothing to lose actually is…
The playoff spot between Queen of the South (51) and Dumbarton (48) swung the Dumfries side’s way and that may be the end of it next weekend. Confirmed as Championship sides for next year is Livingston (43).
Down at the foot there is more intrigue as Raith Rovers (42) are mathematically not out of it but realistically they should secure their status this Saturday. Alloa Athletic (40) are in real trouble as Cowdenbeath (36) have Raith and Queen of the South next whilst Raith will face Dundee and Falkirk; it could go to the final day. Greenock Morton (25) continue to make things look better as the relegated side and will be a critical part of the promotion story.
SPFL LEAGUE ONE
|PLAYOFF CONFIRMED||Dunfermline Athletic|
|PLAYOFF CONTENDERS – PROMOTION||Stranraer, Ayr United, Stenhousemuir, Raith Rovers, Alloa Athletic, Cowdenbeath|
|GUARANTEED THIS LEAGUE NEXT YEAR||Forfar Athletic, Brechin City, Airdrieonians, Peterhead, Greenock Morton|
|PLAYOFF CONTENDERS – RELEGATION||East Fife, Arbroath|
My match of the day saw Brechin City win as an Alan Trouten penalty and another goal from Robert Thomson cancelled out Andy Stirling’s strike for Stranraer. Steven Smith, Dean Shiels, Lee McCulloch and Nicky Law got the goals as Rangers thumped Stenhousemuir 4-0 before Bilel Mohsni got both goals to see off Ayr United on Tuesday night though Alan Forrest did equalise for the Honest Men in the second half. Ayr had already drawn 1-1 with Dunfermline Athletic last Saturday as Ryan Thompson got the Pars’ goal and … Alan Forrest got on the score sheet then too for Ayr. Airdrieonians ensured League One status as they beat East Fife 2-1; Caoleen MacAteer and Jim Lister scored for the Diamonds whilst the Fifers had Steven Caldwell on the score sheet. Finally old timers Paul Sheerin and Kenny Deuchar made it all the more interesting at the bottom as their goals for Arbroath beat Forfar Athletic.
Rangers (98) are able to break the 100 point barrier on Saturday whilst Dunfermline Athletic (59) are sitting pretty. The playoffs are between Stranraer (48), Ayr United (46) and Stenhousemuir (45). Stranraer are struggling whilst Ayr have put in the performances but only got 1 point out of 6 available. Stenhousemuir though have, the Rangers game aside, put together a highly impressive run. I reckon it may still be Ayr and Stranraer in the end taking the other 2 spots but this is likely to go right to the end of the season.
Forfar Athletic (40), Brechin City (39) and Airdrieonians (39) are confirmed as League One teams for next year. They can now start to build towards next year.
East Fife (32) and Arbroath (31) will fight out for the playoff spot and I reckon the Fifers will run out of time as I am sure that the Red Lichties shall be in playoff spot at the end of the season…
SPFL LEAGUE TWO
|PLAYOFF CONFIRMED||Annan Athletic|
|PLAYOFF CONTENDERS – PROMOTION||Clyde, Stirling Albion, Berwick Rangers, East Fife, Arbroath|
|GUARANTEED THIS LEAGUE NEXT YEAR||East Stirlingshire, Albion Rovers, Montrose, Elgin City, Queen’s Park|
My match of the day saw Andy Russell score the only goal of the game as Berwick Rangers beat East Stirlingshire. Rory McAlister scored twice as Peterhead beat Albion Rovers, Annan Athletic drew 1-1 with Queen’s Park thanks to Andy Mitchell and Eamon Brophy whilst Michael Daly and Stefan McCluskey gave Clyde a 2-0 win against Montrose. Finally Stirling Albion drew 2-2 with Elgin City. With 3 penalties in the other 4 ties on the division the Binos got greedy with 2; the problem was everyone else scored theirs and Stirling Albion couldn’t! Fortunately Jordan White and Craig Comrie scored for Stirling as Shane Sutherland and Craig Gunn scored for Elgin City.
Peterhead (73) keep putting distance between them and the rest whilst the playoff spot secured by Annan Athletic (60) has Clyde (54) on the brink, Stirling Albion (52) hanging on and Berwick Rangers (49) finishing off the only competition left in the league.
East Stirlingshire (44), Albion Rovers (41), Montrose (40), Elgin City (33) and Queen’s Park (24) are assured of league Two action next year.