Scottish Championship

Scottish Championship Irn Bru Challenge Cup II

The Scottish Championship may have taken a break over the international break, but the teams certainly didn’t. This weekend saw Dumbarton, Falkirk, Dunfermline, Inverness, Queen of the South, St Mirren and Dundee United fight for their place in the next round of the cup. The big guns, which they apparently are in this minnow cup, all eased through, with one or two slight exceptions. The biggest tie of the day saw Falkirk face Dunfermline in the only all Championship match up. We will start this week with the Falkirk-Dunfermline derby, where the struggling Bairns pulled off quite the upset against the high flying Pars.

Falkirk 2-0 Dunfermline

Despite Paul Hartley being given the reins of Falkirk, professional old man Alex Smith took control of the team for this Fizzy Cup fixture. Dunfermline were hit with centre back Callum Morris away on international duty. Falkirk, fresh off their first league win of the season, took the lead here in this derby match on minute 18. Myles Hippolyte sent an inswinging corner into the box and was met by the head of Conrad Balatoni to put the hosts one up. Falkirk had a penalty shout turned down late into the first half as Hippolyte rounded the goalkeeper and went down to ground. Falkirk started the second half positively and got their rewards on the hour mark. Myles Hippolyte pounced on a mistimed back header by Nat Wedderburn. He carried the ball into the box and tucked the ball into the corner of the net. This result see’s that Falkirk have won more cup games than league ones this term.

Dundee United 1-0 Linfield

Dundee United faced Northern Irish outfit Linfield, a cousin of Rangers. There was a fair amount of bitterness going into the game, with fans of Linfield and Rangers amusingly holding the Arabs responsible for the death of their own club. Such was the disregard for this piss-take cup that Ray McKinnon played a largely reserve/youth team. It was a stagnant game of low quality. Dundee United left it late, very late, in fact, to grab the win. Linfield had the best chance of the first half, forcing Dundee United’s goalkeeper into making a wonderful fingertip save to keep the hosts in the game. Seventeen year old Logan Chalmers grabbed the game’s only goal deep into stoppage time, pouncing on a rebound to hammer home the winner, much to the jubilation of the home fans. The result see’s Linfield share as many victories against United as their sister-club, Rangers, with a grand total of zero.

Dumbarton 2-1 Stranraer

Craig Bar opened the scoring for Dumbarton after 13 minutes, through a low driven shot. Stranraer were playing some solid football, but were struggling to deal with the Sons counter attack. The visitors saw a glimmer of hope when Dumbarton goalkeeper Scott Gallacher was forced off through injury midway through the first half. This hope was shattered on minute 65 when Tom Walsh crossed deep for Mark Stewart to confidently head into the back of the net. Dimitris Froxylias was a fraction away from adding a third with ten minutes to go, though his effort was cleared off the line. Stephen Okah pulled a goal back from the west coast team, but it was too little too late, with the goal coming late into injury time. It was a valiant effort from Stranraer, but Dumbarton were just too strong on the day.

St Mirren 1-3 Raith

Raith got back to winning ways after their shock defeat to Albion Rovers the week before, toppling an invigorated St Mirren side. The Paisley side took the lead in the second half courtesy of a strike by Gavin Reilly in the 62nd minute, firing home from close range to hammer home his sides dominance. Raith may be in the division below, but they went toe to toe with the Saints, equalising minutes later through a Lewis Vaughn piledriver. On minute 73 the visitors took the lead. Vaughn headed the ball down to Grieg Spence, the forward driving his shot low and hard into the net. The crowd started to get on the players back, and on minute 80, the boos increased tenfold as Bobby Barr put Raith 3-1 up. It was a superb win for the Fifers, and a warning that Barry Smith’s men will be back with a vengeance before too long.

Montrose 1-3 Queen of the South

It took extra time for the Championship side to dismantle the League Two title pushers. Current form can often trump league standings, and that was the case, for 90 minutes at least in this tie. Terry Masson put Montrose ahead, and deservedly so, after 23 minutes. It was looking like Montrose were going to see out their 1-0 victory, until the 87th minute when Stephen Dobbie broke the hearts, and the nets, with his strike. This late strike deflated Montrose, with the part-timers obviously devastated at the prospect at having to battle out another 30 minutes. Lyndon Dykes, the birthday boy, scored into the second period of ET to put Queens ahead. Stephen Dobbie scored the third with seconds to go from a bizarrely tight angle. It was more hard work than it should have been for the Doonhamers, but at the end of the day they have a win to take back home.

Inverness 3-0 Peterhead

As bad as Inverness have been this year, this was a relatively predictable result. Peterhead were sitting fourth in League Two, Inverness 9th in the Championship, two divisions above. Inverness would have hoped to assert their dominance early on, and did just that, netting after just 90 seconds. Liam Polworth saw his shot deflected into the net to gift Caley the lead. Former Inverness man Rory McAllister looked like stinging his former club with a flurry of half chances, an audacious overhead pick being the pick of the bunch, but the defence held resolute for Inverness. Polworth turned creator, setting up Riccardo Calder who tapped the ball past Greg Fleming to double Caley’s lead just five minutes after the halftime break. Daniel McKay sent his header into the back of the net to add a third to sink the 2016 finalists.

The Irn Bru Cup has seen a couple of big names (in relation to the size of the tournament) drop out. St Mirren and Dunfermline will be noticeable absentees from the next round of the cup, while Northern Irish outfit Linfield – mini Rangers – were also dumped out by a goal from a guy born in the year 2000. The performance of the day surely goes for Falkirk, for their terrific win against an in-form Dunfermline team. The draw for the quarter finals will be made on October 10th at 13:00. Below are the results of the other games in this competition.

Cove Rangers 0-3 Crusaders

The New Saints 4-0 Elgin City

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