The race for the automatic promotion spot took on a big twist last weekend as the big three gave us plenty of headlines. Hibs finally woke up and unfortunately for Rangers it was at Ibrox. They have dented the confidence of the Rangers’ side trying for their third promotion in a row. It has certainly meant that calls have again been made for changes at the Ibrox club. There have been doubts about McCoist’s abilities before but this time they are getting louder with each passing misstep. Hearts just kept on going and their win now has them five points clear at the top. There is little doubt that by the end of the season it is expected that things shall be tighter but for now it is all looking decidedly maroon…
Match of the Day
Queen of the South v Heart of Midlothian
This gets the nod from me because the stories behind the game are so intriguing. We have a new boss in James Fowler taking up the reigns at Dumfries having impressed after Jim McIntyre went. It did not include a win last weekend as they gave Cowdenbeath a two goal start from the first half and then couldn’t catch them in the second. Their second half performance was apparently impressive so the performance will be what Fowler will hope shall carry but bring them victory. Robbie Neilson’s team had a very comfortable victory against Livingston – 5-0. They seem to have unearthed another cracker in El Hassnaoui who scored on his debut. The Jambos have a great record at Tynecastle so a wee run down to the south-west corner of Scotland should be a challenge.
For Queen of the South Greg Kiltie has joined on loan from Kilmarnock whilst doubts exist over Chris Higgins and Danny Carmichael whilst out are Mark Durnan, Chris Mitchell, Paul Burns, Stephen McKenna and Michael Paton. For Hearts Robbie Neilson has a full squad from which to choose but shall ring the changes as they will be playing on an artificial surface. For Neilson this necessitates bringing the right squad players to play on that surface – it might not therefore be all 11 that beat Livingston so handsomely last Saturday. I reckon that Hearts have sufficient momentum to keep going and today should return with all three points.
Dumbarton v Cowdenbeath has Ian Murray’s side coming off a good 3-1 win against Alloa that should set his team up for a run. The Blue Brazil also won last weekend though they did have to hang on in the second half. For me, the Sons should have it. Falkirk v Alloa Athletic has two sides separated by goal difference. The Bairns drew with Raith last weekend whilst the Wasps were being beaten at home by Dumbarton. Peter Houston has yet to find the right rhythm this year but I reckon they ought to have enough to see off Barry Smith’s Alloa today.
Hibernian v Raith Rovers could see the Leith side start on a run or make the win against Rangers look like a swimming pool in a dessert. Rovers drew with Falkirk last time out and sit four points above their hosts. I think Alan Stubbs’ team will play with more freedom now and take the Kirkcaldy side for all three points. Finally Livingston v Rangers has a home side that was thumped by Hearts against a team outplayed by Hibs. It has stopped me automatically thinking that Rangers will just turn up and turn over teams so I reckon that this shall be a Rangers win but it might be tight.