Scottish Championship Match Day 27: Penalties Aplenty!

Scottish Championship

You’re probably noticing a theme with these Scottish Championship round ups this season, and that is that there is an inordinate amount of games being postponed because of the weather. Dundee United saw their match away to Brechin postponed, a shame for the side as they so desperately needed the win. Livingston also saw their match against struggling Inverness called off due to a frozen pitch. Three games did take place, however. St Mirren extended their lead at the top of the league with a comfortable 2-0 win over Fifers Dunfermline. Falkirk put a dent in Morton’s playoff home with a resounding 3-1 victory, while Dumbarton fell further into relegation trouble with a loss at home to Queen of the South. We start this week’s round up at the Falkirk Stadium, as Falkirk have rarely been first on the billing of this review this season, and when they have it has rarely been for the right reasons.

Falkirk 3-1 Morton

It was a first half master class by Paul Hartley’s Falkirk side which dented Morton’s playoff hopes. Andrew Nelson was brought to the ground after only a couple of minutes by Morton’s Ricki Lamie, causing referee Euan Anderson to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped defender Aaron Muirhead, who rifled in his penalty to gift his side an early lead. Andrew Nelson scored the Bairns second goal of the game on minute eighteen, finishing off a wonderfully worked counter attack. Louis Longridge played in a perfectly weighted through ball which saw Nelson round ‘Ton keeper Derek Gaston and slid the ball into the back of the net. Alex Jakubiak scored the third Falkirk goal on the half hour mark, dropping the shoulder to beat his marker then calmly tucking his effort into the back of the net. Into stoppage time Morton pulled a goal back through Gary Harkins. He rose high above the defence to power his header into the back of the net to reduce the deficit to two goals, but there simply wasn’t enough time for the Morton revival.

St Mirren 2-0 Dunfermline

This was a tight game up until a moment of ill discipline ended up costing Dunfermline dearly. Jason Talbot fouled Danny Mullen in the box, not a horrible tackle, but enough to see a yellow card brandished. This happened to be Talbot’s second booking of the game and therefore saw him sent off with twenty minutes left to play. Harry Davis stepped up and converted his penalty past Pars ‘keeper Lee Robinson to put the Buddies a goal up. St Mirren took advantage of being a man up and doubled their lead only three minutes later. Fullback Liam Smith hammered in a thunderbolt of a strike from the edge of the box to put the home crowd on cloud nine. After a couple of sub-par performances of late, there were some of the more pessimistic fans who believed that they had a chance of blowing their lead at the top of the table. After this win against Dunfermline, many of the doubters will be put at ease.

Dumbarton 0-1 Queen of the South

When a team is on bad form, every decision appears to go against them. In a rare stroke of form, Dumbarton were awarded a penalty with twenty minutes to go, a lifeline back into the match. They were a goal down, having conceded early into the second half as a result of a Dominic Thomas goal, the man’s first since he joined QOS on loan from Kilmarnock. Dumbarton caught their break as Queens top scorer Stephen Dobbie handled the ball in his own penalty box. Kevin Nisbet stepped up, tasked with tying the game up and giving the hosts a chance to pull themselves out of the rut they find themselves in. The pressure evidently got to the young striker, on loan from Partick, and he fired his penalty high over the bar. This was a damning result for Dumbarton. They are in the relegation playoff and are nine points adrift from safety.

Downtown

The writing is on the wall for Ross County, they are nine points from safety with games running out, and their defeat to Kilmarnock this weekend did not help matters for them. Lee Erwin scored in the first half for Killie, before Kris Boyd and Eammon Brophy added goal number two and three. Ross County three everything they had at Kilmarnock, scoring twice very late on through Billy McKay and Alex Schalk , though it wasn’t enough for the highlander team to earn a point. On the plus side, Kilmarnock winning helped me in my Betting Bad series!

Moving on up

The high drama which is the fight for promotion to the Scottish Championship is tightening up. Raith looked like storming the league early on, then, Ayr looked like dead certs for going up. Then, recently, Raith looked like being the team to go up. Until Saturday, however. Raith travelled West to Somerset Park to take on Ayr United, with the Ayrshire team putting three goals past Raith with no reply. Lawrence Shankland and Jamie Adams grabbed a couple of first half goals, with Michael Moffat sealing the win in the second half. This leaves Raith top of the league, one point ahead of Raith, with Ayr having a game in hand.

The League Roundup

After match day twenty seven, the league table looks like this:

Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against G.D Points
1 St Mirren 27 19 3 5 49 28 21 60
2 Livingston 26 14 7 5 43 27 16 49
3 Morton 27 11 8 8 37 27 10 41
4 Dundee United 23 12 4 7 31 28 3 40
5 Queen of the South 26 10 8 8 39 34 5 38
6 Dunfermline 26 9 8 9 39 30 9 35
7 Falkirk 27 8 9 10 31 40 -9 33
8 Inverness 24 8 6 10 30 30 0 30
9 Dumbarton 25 4 9 12 15 32 -17 21
10 Brechin 25 0 4 21 18 56 -38 4

So, ill discipline appeared to be a theme this weekend. Three games were played in the Scottish Championship, with two being scored in very crucial circumstances, while perhaps even more crucially, another was missed by Dumbarton. St Mirren seem to have eased any worries of chocking their lead at the top with a win over Dunfermline, while Falkirk seem to have put themselves in the unusual position of going from sure fire relegation playoff team to an outside chance of promotion. Sure, the quality may not be the finest in the Scottish Championship, but dear god the excitement is there.