Only four Championship games took place on Saturday December 2nd, with Falkirk’s trip to Livingston being postponed due to a frozen pitch. There were a midweek set of fixtures, with the scores which are as follows: Dumbarton 2-2 Queen of the South.Inverness 4-0 Brechin. St Mirren 3-1 Livingsto. Of the four games which went ahead, Dundee United got a hugely important win over Dunfermline, Dumbarton stunned St Mirren, Brechin got battered by Morton and goals were non-existent in Queen of the South’s match against Inverness. We will start the weeks round up at Tannadice Park, where United aimed to bounce back after a draw with Brechin the week before.
Dundee United 2-1 Dunfermline
Dundee United are building strongly under Czaba Laszlo and despite dropped points against Brechin last week, they bounced back this weekend. Scott Fraser has taken a lot of flack over his performances over the past couple of years, being perceived as a lightweight with a weak mentality who cares more about his hair than the performance of his team. After a period of time out of the team with an injury, Scott Fraser is looking sharper and sharper by the week. He opened the scoring fifteen minutes in, curling in a wonderful free kick to gift his side ahead. Under Laszlo, United are looking much more solid at the back, so to take the lead really took the pressure off the team. On the stroke of half time, Scott Fraser gathered the ball from a throw in and glided through the defence, curling his effort beyond Sean Murdoch to double the Arabs lead. With fifteen minutes to go, substitute Fraser Aird breezed past numerous defenders and into the box. Left back Jamie Robson pulled the Canadian down, ensuing a penalty. Declan McManus converted the penalty to make the score 2-1. Dunfermline spent the next fifteen minutes throwing everything at the Dundee United defence, but to no avail. United held out for a hugely important three points, and this, coupled with St Mirren dropping points, resulted in the Dundonians topping the league.
St Mirren 0-1 Dumbarton
I have given Dumbarton a lot of stick this season, they just have the air of one of those sides that are neither here nor there. Too good to finish last, but not good enough to really challenge for a playoff spot. That being said, they have managed to pick up eighteen points from fifteen games, gathering four wins and six draws, a tidy return for a “meh” team. This win was undoubtedly their best of the season as they went to one of the most exciting teams in the league and beat them by a goal to nil. Saint Mirren’s cause was not helped as Stelios Demetriou was dismissed minutes before the half time break. He challenged for a ball on the halfway line, in the process lifting his elbow too high for the referees liking. He showed the Cypriot a red card which caused him to fling himself to the ground like a rag doll, incredulous at the decision against him. This undoubtedly turned the tide of the match, with St Mirren forced to play a more cautious game. This looked like it was going to see the Paisley team gain a point at least, but with ten minutes to go, Tom Walsh struck the match winner. He slid the ball under the diving Craig Samson to gift Dumbarton a crucial win which pushes Dumbarton further away from that relegation playoff spot.
Morton 4-1 Brechin
With Brechin City it is very much a case of one step forward two steps back, or, in this instance, four steps back. Gary Oliver scored the game’s opening goal after only four minutes, exactly the sort of start that a team would want against opposition who have amassed only three points all season. Brechin grabbed an equaliser through Isaac Layne five minutes before half time to stun the home side. This shock lasted only a matter of minutes, as nineteen year old academy player Scott Tiffoney danced through the Brechin defence to put the hosts back in front just a minute before half time. Frustration got to the visitors and with twenty minutes to go, Gary Harkins scored a penalty to condemn Brechin to defeat. Morton added insult to injury by scoring a fourth in the 83rd minute. Ross Forbes fed Jai Quitongo to who put the cherry atop the Morton cake. It is becoming harder and harder to envision a Brechin survival story. I have given them many weeks to prove me wrong, but they simply do not have enough quality or conviction in their team to stay up.
Queen of the South 0-0 Inverness
This was a good point for Inverness, who took a long time making the four hour journey down to Palmerstone Park. The SFA should be ashamed of themselves for letting the game go ahead, the Inverness team left at 1pm on Friday and didn’t arrive in Dumfries for their match at 3am Saturday morning, due to a massive road accident. They will happily postpone top flight games to allow Celtic to play glamour friendlies in the summer, but refused to help out the team in these circumstances. Queen of the South were the more dominant side, creating more chances early on. Inverness grew into the match, John Baird having one of the best efforts of the match. The point hampered both teams, each sliding down a place in the table. While a point is not exactly what either side would have wanted, it is certainly better than suffering a loss. The visitors will certainly be the happier with the point.
Partick Thistle are four points adrift at the foot of the Scottish Premiership table after a 1-0 defeat to Hibernian. Just after the half time break, Lewis Stevenson whipped in a cross from over 30 yards out. The whipped ball bounced off the head of Partick defender Adam Barton and beyond Tom Cerny into the net. It was a cruel blow for Partick, who enjoyed large spells of the match, however it is looking grim for the Glasgow team. They are bottom by four points. They do have a game in hand, but even a win in that wouldn’t lift them from safety.
Moving on up
A riveting five minute period in the second half saw Ayr United grind out a win over Albion Rovers. Craig Moore opened the scoring after sixteen minutes. Albion responded ten minutes after, Sean Higgins replying. In the second half, Lawrence Shankland scored on 73 minutes. Alan Trouten replied for Albion two minutes later, then two minutes after that, Chris Higgins scored the winner for Ayr. This keeps them three points above Raith Rovers with the Kirkaldy based side having a game in hand.
The League Roundup
After match day fourteen, the league table looks like this:
|6||Queen of the South||15||6||5||4||23||19||4||23|
The week ends With Dundee United on top of the table by a point, with St Mirren sitting in second after a poor defeat to Dumbarton. Livingston will be disappointment to have had the big freeze postponing their game, as they are on form and were hosting a down-on-their-luck Falkirk side. Morton clambered above QOS after their 4-1 mauling of Brechin. Next weekend see’s St Mirren fight back against Brechin, Dundee United travelling to Morton and Caley and Falkirk duel in the highlands. Stay tuned next Tuesday for week fifteen of the Scottish Championship round up; exclusively written for By Far The Greatest Team.