A warm welcome to my third weekend piece. League Cup semi-finals rightly take centre stage on Saturday and Sunday let us hope for the good of the Scottish game they are packed with goals and entertainment.
If the weather gods are with us we may get a full card of lower league matches for the first time in weeks, however I would not be predicting this with great confidence.
The two games covered are this weekend are Stranraer v Stirling Albion and East Stirling v Clyde.
In League One top plays bottom as Stranraer play hosts to bottom club Stirling. A look at the table shows the massive gulf in points between the teams. Tables generally don’t lie, and the task facing Stirling is gigantic. Stuart McLaren’s side have failed to hit a run of form at any time this season and are a massive 9pts behind 3rd bottom Stenhousemuir. The task looks beyond them at present, and with an away game at Cappielow next week things don’t get much easier. Ever present defender Chris Smith was red-carded last week to make things even more difficult. On the positive side, Scott Shepherd has done well since his loan move from Falkirk, Angus Beith’s deal from Hearts has been extended and Kevin Mckinlay came in for his 1st game last week. Stirling’s only 2 league wins have come on the road. Add to this Stranraer have lost their last 2 home games without scoring, then Stirling will feel they have a chance of getting something at Stair park.
The Bookies make Stranraer strong Favourites at 4/9, 2/5. Simply put, you bet £5 to win £2. Manager Steve Aitken has not been happy with recent performances, and will be looking to add to his squad in next few days. Only striker Jon Mcshane has arrived lately and his 87th minute goal looked to have won the 3pts at Airdrie last week until a late leveller shared the spoils. The Squad at Stranraer is not big, only 21 used players in league games, however, they work incredibly hard and have the tag as fittest part-time team in the country. Craig Malcolm and Jamie Longworth are goal getters, and with young midfielders Grant Gallagher, Willie Gibson and on loan Daniel Stoney supplying and pitching in with goals Stranraer have a very settled look. They have a live-last-16-cup-tie against Dundee United next week to look forward too, however talented boss Steve Aitken ” who will land a big job soon ” will demand a performance to stay ahead of Forfar and Morton who clash tomorrow. I can see a Stranraer win, and for a small interest it might pay to take The hosts -1 goal @ a price of 11/10. IE they must win the match by 2 goals or more.
The fight at the bottom of League Two may well go to the last game, I see East-fife, Clyde, Montrose, East Stirling and Elgin all involved. By the time last few nervy fixtures come it may just come down to 1 or 2 of the teams, however this a tough call.
Two of the sides East Stirling and Clyde clash tomorrow, with only one point between them, Shire having played one game less. Clyde’s recent form is marginally better and as I wrote two weeks back gaffer Barry Ferguson is trying to improve his side by continually taking new players in. Old heads, Hugh Murray, Mark McLaughlin are the latest along with Ross Fisher and Stephen McDougall. They earned a very credible point against league leaders Arbroath last week, and by reports the better team over the piece. Maybe the tinkering is beginning to pay. Shire picked up a precious 3pts at Montrose a couple of weeks back, however this was the 1st victory since a win against the same side in mid-November. Manager Craig Tully does not have a huge budget, and has to wheel n deal to get players in. Recently acquired defender David Bates will be suspended for this game, and newest recruits Jack Nicholson and Mike Wallace may lack match sharpness. The bookies see it being a close affair, Shire around 11/8 6/4 and Clyde 13/8 7/4.
I agree that it will be close, however @ 9/5 with a couple of companies I make CLYDE my selection of the day. The arrival of a couple of old heads is a short-term fix, however you cannot beat experience, and in their current position it may be the catalyst for gradual improvement for the Bully Wee.
The Clyde interest will be one of 3 or 4 selections for my service tomorrow. I will be having one eye on the weather before final decisions, and as I always say guys, continue to look for value.
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