Scottish Championship Match Day 2: The Game from the Crane

Scottish Championship

What a week of action in the world’s greatest league. Dunfermline butchered Terry Butchers old team, Dundee United won after playing over 45 minutes without their new messiah, Paul McMullin, and Brechin City showed their grit, grinding out a well earned point at home to Livingston. With five action packed games on display, I think it is only fair to get stuck in. Let’s start in Fife…

Dunfermline 5-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

You just know that when you concede after a minute or two that it is probably not going to be your day. This was the case for Inverness when Dunfermline’s 17 year old Callum Smith slotted the ball into an empty net. After a 6-0 drubbing by The Rangers in midweek, Dunfermline were desperate to show that they wouldn’t cave under the pressure. Lee Ashcroft put the doubters to bed on minute fifteen as his header doubled the Pars lead. There was a glimmer of hope for the highlanders shortly after, as Iain Viguars drilled his free kick low and hard into the net to half the deficit. Joe Cardle certainly won himself some haters for his diving antics last weekend; today, however, was all about his football talent. He notched one just before halftime, then again into stoppage time, this being the games fifth goal of the game. The game was out of sight for Inverness, truth be told, on 67 minutes, with David Hopkirk putting in the fourth to seal the win. Inverness are struggling already in the Championship, Dunfermline, however, are proving to be a tricky opposition to break down.

Dundee United 2-1 Queen of the South

This game may not have had the goals, but it was an important game at the top of the table as Dundee United overcame an early red card to come out on top and finish the week top of the league. Australian striker Scott McDonald nabbed his first goal for United early on in the first half, dispatching a Paul McMullan cross into the bottom corner. In a shock twist of events, Dundee United dealt with a free kick poorly, seeing a game of pinball ensue in the box. The ball was finally turned in by Callum Fordyce to equalise on a QOS side high off their 4-1 victory the week before. The game really took a swing in the away teams favour after 36 minutes, when Taysides Lionel Messi, Paul McMullan, was shown a red card for a moron bit of behaviour. Sick and tired of being targeted all game, McMullan punched the back of defender Shaun Rooney’s head. The referee had no choice but to send the player off, and with it being violent conduct, the player will be absent for a couple of weeks. On 63 minutes Scott Fraser was brought on to the field to replace the tiring James Keatings, and just five minutes later he had turned the ball into the net. QOS threw everything at United, but the Arabs stayed resolute, holding on to their advantage despite their depleted numbers on the field. This victory saw United shoot to the top of the league, and with a home game to Brechin next, they will look to cement their position further.

Morton 4-1 St Mirren

This was not expected. St Mirren were on a high after a crushing victory over Falkirk last weekend and Morton were
frustrated after failing to net against a Dumbarton side expected to be flirting with relegation. It was a day of poor
discipline for St Mirren. They gifted Morton two goals, Michael Tidser converting either side of half time from the spot. St Mirren had levelled in the first half with Cammy Smith finishing off a terrific solo move. Five minutes after half time and the Buddies day turned sour. Jack Baird was sent off for the visitors, gifting Tidser his second penalty of the day. The goal of the game was scored by former Falkirk striker Bob McHugh. Jai Quitongo ran down the wing, burning past his marker prior to whipping in a low cross to McHugh to tuck into the back of the net. McHugh set up Murdoch to finish the Saints off with ten minutes to go. After a magnificent opening day win for St Mirren, it would appear they have work to do. For Morton, it appears they are back in business.

Brechin City 2-2 Livingston

Well well well, the leagues “whipping boys” are off the mark. After last week’s demolition by Queen of the South, the most optimistic of Brechin supporter would have been a bit downtrodden after going two goals down. But the strikes from Dylan Mackin and Scott Pitman appeared to drag something out of Darren Dods’ charges. A half time rocket from Brechin’s manager, coupled with some over complacency from Livi resulted in a Brechin comeback. Ten minutes after the and Andrew Jackson fed in Kalvin Orsi to grab one back for the hosts. Little over five minutes later and Brechin had levelled it. Finn Graham notched the equaliser by hammering home a loose ball in the middle of the box. It was a scrappy game, both teams were obviously frustrated and the foul count racked up. Both teams managed to keep eleven men on the field however. Brechin will certainly be the happier of the two sides after this comeback. Livingston can take some solace from the fact that they are still undefeated in the league, although that may be a grander claim if they can say the same in a month’s time.

Falkirk 1-1 Dumbarton.

Falkirk’s PR team are in a world of their own. Their gimmick of the week was offering one “lucky” fan the chance to watch the game from on top of a crane. Yup. That’s a thing apparently. In fairness, if you were a Falkirk fan it may not be the worst thing. The way that the Bairns have been playing this season, watching them from a high, lofty position where you can barely see the game may not be a bad thing. The supposedly lucky fan who won the opportunity to watch the game from the crane could be excused from scrambling down the crane and walking away after 13 minutes as Alistair Roy put the visitors ahead. Falkirk are making a habit of starting the season poorly, and this is a worrying theme for Peter Houston’s side. Nathan Austin was chopped down in the box by Mark Stewart ten minutes later and the referee awarded a penalty. Myles Hippolyte stepped up and confidently slotted the ball home to equalise. Dumbarton almost snatched a winner late on, with Dougie Hill hitting the Falkirk crossbar. The game finished 1-1 with the home fans far from happy with their side thus far.

Downtown

I am a Dundee United fan. Dundee FC are bottom of the top division. This is pleasing. Dundee lost 3-0 away to Hamilton, putting in a toothless performance. In fairness, the Dee did play 90 minutes midweek, knocking Dundee United out of the Betfred Cup, but tiredness should not play too big an excuse this early into the season.

Moving on Up

Ayr United are two for two this season. Saturday saw the Ayrshire team put three past Forfar without reply. It was another encouraging performance by Ayr United who are looking to create some distance between themselves and fellow promotion chasers Raith Rovers.

The League Roundup

After match day two, the league table looks like this.

Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against G.D Points
1 Dundee United 2 2 0 0 3 1 2 6
2 Dunfermline 2 1 1 0 6 2 4 4
3 Morton 2 1 1 0 4 1 3 4
4 QOS 2 1 0 1 5 3 2 3
5 St Mirren 2 1 0 1 4 5 -1 3
6 Livingston 2 0 2 0 3 3 0 2
7 Dumbarton 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
8 Falkirk 2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 1
9 Brechin City 2 0 1 1 3 6 -3 1
10 Inverness 2 0 0 2 1 6 -5 0

Another week over and with every passing week, more can be taken from the league table. Dundee United are top, and once again ground out a good win without playing as well as one might imagine. They host Brechin City next week looking to make it 9 points from nine. Inverness are rooted to the bottom of the league with no points and more worryingly, no hope. Falkirk put in another underwhelming effort, while St Mirren failed to continue their good form from week one. A special mention to Brechin City, who salvaged a credible draw against the odds. It was another fine week of football in the Championship. Til next week folks, adios!