Good morning/afternoon/evening, valued reader, and welcome back to another edition of the Scottish Championship. This week saw Dumbarton leave it late to break the hearts of the travelling Brechin City fans, Dunfermline hammer St Mirren and Dundee United falter to a struggling Falkirk team. With thirteen goals shared between the five games, we’d best get started. And rejoice, Dumbarton fans, you’re first on the billing this week… for the right reasons!
Dumbarton 2-1 Brechin
So close, yet ultimately so far away. Once again, Brechin didn’t play terribly, but failed to see out the game from a decent position. Darren Dods has done incredibly well to get City to this division, and has to be credited for getting them to be competitive match by match, but if he cannot get his team to see out games then problems are going to arise. Jordan Sinclair gave the visitors an early lead, sliding the ball into the back of the net after only two minutes to gift Brechin a lead to defend. Brechin played better for much of the game, but were let down by midfielder Aron Lynas in the 71st minute. He put in an ugly challenge of David Wilson and was shown a straight red for his efforts. Dumbarton equalised through Mark Stewart in the 82nd minute before Dimitris Froxylias netted with five minutes left to play. Dumbarton may not have played brilliantly, but for a team who had not won in five matches, the points were welcomed by the home crowd.
Dunfermline 3-0 St Mirren
If this game was measured on red cards then St Mirren won 2-0. That is not how football is measured, however, therefore the Pars not only thrashed the visitors, but caused such frustration that St Mirren had two men sent off late on. It was St Mirren who started the game the better, yet it was the hosts who scored first. Declan McManus put them a goal up on twenty minutes, much to the frustration of Saints manager Jack Ross, who was aggrieved to see this goal against the run of play. Star player Joe Cardle was taken off with a hamstring issue in the first half, though his replacement David Hopkirk filled the void admirably, notching the second of the game just moment before the halftime whistle. Giant Geordie Callum Morris grabbed the final goal of the game fifteen minutes after half time to put the game out of sight for the visitors, tapping in a rebound from a Dean Shiels shot. The Buddies day went from bad to worse as former Hearts player Adam Eckersley was sent off in the 87th minute. Former Dunfermline defender Gregor Buchanan was sent off a minute later for a second yellow. It was a bad loss for the visitors, who were replaced at top of the league by their opponents, Dunfermline.
Inverness 1-3 Livingston
Life is not going well in the Championship for Inverness, as they stooped to their 4th loss in six games. Josh Mullin crossed in for Nikolay Todorov to put Livingston a goal up after 24 minutes. Inverness fans had cause to celebrate just minutes later as Connor Bell thrashed the ball home to equalise. Into the second half and Scott Robinson put Livingston a goal up, despite the home teams high possession stats. Craig Halkett smashed home an absolute screamer to put the away team a goal second goal up with twenty minutes left to play. Caley manager John Robertson will be scratching his head as to why his side cannot find points this season. Unfortunately for Robertson, he may be the answer to that question.
Queen of the South 1-2 Morton
Goals were exclusively a first half affair at Palmerstone Park on Saturday. Ross Forbes notched his first goal of the season after sixteen minutes for the visitors in a game that may go some way to deciding which of these teams goes to the playoffs this season. The away team grabbed their second goal of the day just four minutes later through Jai Quitongo. The winger struck the ball from twenty yards out to bury the ball in the top corner. Queens pulled a goal back just a minute later through Derek Lyle. The goal gave the Doonhamers hope, but despite a bright second half, Morton held on to their victory. Gary Harkins nearly grabbed a third after 37 minutes, but saw his header hit off the crossbar.
Falkirk 0-0 Dundee United
What a terrible game. Nothing about this was good. Both teams are low on confidence and could so desperately have done with a win. Ultimately, any point is a good point in such a competitive division, but with both managers under severe pressure, it was the lacklustre performance that was more concerning that the result. Paul Quinn was injured, leaving the game in the first half with a head knock. Craig Sibbald, bizarrely still at Falkirk despite being one of the leagues brightest sparks for a number of years, rattled the crossbar with a header. The true victim of this game is the fans, 4000 of them, who paid the best part of £20 to sit through that total dross.
A bit of a harsh one here, as this weekend’s results see Kilmarnock sit at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership. Kilmarnock managed a very credible draw against an in-form Aberdeen side. Stevie May put the Reds ahead after only ten minutes, but a Jordan Jones goal shortly after halftime saw the visitors earn a much needed point. They may be bottom of the league, but not many points will steal points from Pittodrie this season. Kilmarnock NEED to score more goals this year, or they may see themselves caught further adrift at the bottom.
Moving on up
Raith Rovers are, quite rightly, good! They were too good to be relegated last year, and despite dropping points in week one, have won five on the bounce. Nineteen goals scored by them this term with only three conceded makes good reading for fans of the Kircaldy team. They travelled to Hampden Park to play Queens Park, who they hammered 5-0. Liam Buchanan, Lewis Vaughan, Dario Zanatta, Bobby Barr and Jason Thompson all scored to see Raith shoot six points clear atop their division.
The League Roundup
After match day three, the league table looks like this
|5||Queen of the South||6||3||1||2||13||8||5||10|
Six games in and there is a real gulf opening up between top and bottom. Dunfermline appear to be holding their own at the top of the league, while Brechin are finding out the hard way that giving their all and trying hard only gets you so far. Many would have predicted Brechin to prop up the table all season, but few would expect Falkirk and Caley to sit 9th and 8th after six weeks. Dundee United fans are in their usual sense of turmoil; playing atrocious football yet still finding themselves only two points off top spot. Morton grabbed a solid win against similarly statured Queen of the South, while Livingston pulled off a good win in the highlands. But the final mention of the week must go to a team who I have belittled and verbally battered for the past five weeks. Credit where credit is due, they were in a must-win game, and they won. Top effort!