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SPFL Weekend/midweek review – Saturday 12th and Tuesday 15th April 2014

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SPFL CHAMPIONSHIP

My Match of the Day on Saturday saw Falkirk win at Palmerston thanks to goals from Blair Alston and Mark Beck in a 2-1 victory where Jonny Flynn got a red card. For the Doonhamers they had Gavin Reilly pull one back against Falkirk on the Saturday before losing 3-2 on Tuesday night to Raith Rovers. Raith had goals from Joe Cardle and Paul Watson whilst Mark Durnan with 2 got Queen’s level at Kirkcaldy. It was an uncanny deja vu when John Baird got the winner for Raith as Reece Donaldson was sent off for the home side. Dundee meanwhile managed to gain an advantage over the Accies at the top as Craig Wighton, a double from Martin Boyle and another for Jim McAlister meant they beat Cowdenbeath 4-0. Hamilton Academical fell off top spot due to a 1-1 score line at Livingston. Hamilton saw Stephen Hendrie sent off then Keaghan Jacobs put Livingston ahead before Jason Scotland made it all square. Dumbarton meanwhile beat Raith Rovers 3-1 at Stark’s Park thanks to goals from Mark Gilhaney, Mitch Megginson and Colin Nish; Gordon Smith got Raith’s goal before Dougie Hill was sent off. Finally thanks to goals from Kevin Cawley and Ryan McCord the impossible dream at the foot of the table at Cappielow has proven to be… impossible; Alloa Athletic found some form and finally relegated the Greenock club.

It now means that Dundee (63) are in poll position. Hamilton Academical (61) need them to slip up in the run in and on the form the produced on Saturday that is unlikely. Dundee face Morton, Alloa and Dumbarton whilst Hamilton have Alloa, Dumbarton and … er Morton… Now who could have fixed that then?

With my money still on the Blues who else apart from the Accies shall be in the playoffs? Falkirk (59) shall be, that’s who! But beneath they have Queen of the South (48), Dumbarton (48) and rank outside bets Livingston (43) and Raith Rovers (42). Realistically I think it’s a two horse race though the two losses suffered by Jim McIntyre’s side on Tuesday and Saturday shall not be taken by Ian Murray as any guide to form going into the last 3 games. Tees it quite nicely for Dumbarton v Queen of the South on Saturday then doesn’t it…? the major problem for Ian Murray is after they have taken on the Dumfries side they then face both Hamilton and Dundee in highly tense encounters that could end up being title winning parties and the end of their playoff dream OR their party celebrating getting to the playoffs…

If both Livingston and Raith Rovers are not careful they could end up squabbling over 9th place as Alloa Athletic (40) had a massive win against Morton. It is perhaps not the best part of the season to be facing Hamilton on Saturday then? Cowdenbeath (33) are favourites for 9th and could be confirmed this weekend. Greenock Morton (22) shall be in League One next year but they have a massive say in the title race in the next 3 weeks.

SPFL LEAGUE ONE

My match of the day on Saturday saw the Warriors battle to maintain pressure on 4th placed Ayr United as they beat East Fife 2-1. They had gone behind to a Stephen Hughes goal but then Sean Dickson equalised and the Stenhousemuir who never knows when to quit, had Sean Hughes to thank as he won with an injury time penalty. Midweek champions Rangers had Ian Black, Bilel Mohsni and Dean Shiels get the 3 goals that beat Forfar Athletic. On Saturday 2nd placed Dunfermline Athletic had a goalless encounter with Forfar whilst 3rd placed Stranraer stumbled once again, this time to Arbroath. Alan Cook, Paul McManus with 2 and Paul Sheerin sealed it for the Red Lichties whilst Sean Winter and Adam Forde replied for Stranraer. Finally Brechin City got further away from trouble as they drew with Airdrieonians; Jim Lister and Craig Molloy ended up on the score sheets.

Rangers (92) continue to head towards their 100 points and with 3 players in the annual PFA player of the year awards it is clear to see the impression they have made on the league this year.

The playoff spots have Dunfermline Athletic (58) confirmed whilst Stranraer (48) and Ayr United (45) are being chased by Stenhousemuir (45) and outsiders Forfar Athletic (40). My heart wants to say that it will be Ayr United plus one other but Scott Booth has Stenhousemuir on a mission and my head is beginning to say they may well have the momentum to get over the line and join Stranraer in the playoffs.

The bottom of the league is not settled and this weekend should sort it out but Brechin City (36), Airdrieonians (36), East Fife (32) and Arbroath (28) are all in the mix. None of them are safe and none are out of it quite yet though Arbroath need a lot of luck if they are to survive. I believe that both Brechin and Airdrie shall be safe and the relegation playoff could be more or less settled this weekend as there are some excellent ties up on Saturday.

SPFL LEAGUE TWO

My match of the day was a triumph for Stirling Albion as Jordan White and David Weatherston got the goals at Cliftonhill to beat Albion Rovers 2-0. Elsewhere the Blue Toon are champions. Andy Rodgers and Rory McAlister fittingly got a goal each that sunk Clyde and gave them a well deserved championship party. Annan Athletic in 2nd place lost to East Stirlingshire as Max Wright got Annan level after Blair Henderson put the Shire ahead; Kevin Turner then put the tie the Shire’s way. Berwick kept up the pressure as goals late on from Andy Russell and Josh Morris added to a Lee Currie own goal whilst Elgin City had Lee Currie score for them and had both Sean Creighton and Jamie Duff sent off. Finally Eamonn Brophy scored for Queen’s Park and Montrose’s caretaker manager George Shields saw Paul Watson gain his team a point in his first game in charge.

Peterhead (70) are the champions. Behind them Annan Athletic (59) were already in the playoffs so Stirling Albion (51), Clyde (51), Berwick Rangers (46) and rank outsiders East Stirlingshire (44) are squaring up for the final 3 games. This weekend will sort out things and I do think the Binos and the Bully Wee shall triumph.

Underneath Albion Rovers (41), Montrose (40), Elgin City (32) and Queen’s Park (23) are all working towards next year.

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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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