I am not going to sugarcoat this one, valued readers. This weekend in the Scottish Championship was a little bit shit. Two 0-0 scores, the bottom side losing to the second bottom for the second time in a week, two under-performing teams dropping points and the league leaders doing what league leaders do best. Winning. It was a mix of predictable entwined with boring. Not vintage SPFL at all, but it is what it is. So, with this captivating introduction, let us begin at Dumfries, where St Mirren were the visitors.
Queen of the South 1-3 St Mirren
It was young Daniel Mullen who opened the scoring for the league leaders on their visit to Palmerstone Park. After seventeen minutes the forward managed to run ahead of the defender to meet the pass of on-loan Celtic starlet Lewis Morgan. He forward coolly dispatched his shot past Jack Leighfield and into the net. Jordan Marshall finished off a neat one-two with John Rankin to slam his effort into the St Mirren net to pull the game level on twenty one minutes. St Mirren were playing the brighter football but found themselves going into the half time interval level. Their manager Jack Ross evidently said the right thing during the break, as his side were ahead just seven minutes into the second half. Lewis Morgan turned from assister to scorer as he curled in a sweetly struck free kick. The lead was extended with twenty five minutes to go as Kyle Magennis cut through the defence to blast his side ahead. Queen of the South didn’t play badly, but they just couldn’t keep up with the St Mirren front line who are playing on a different level to the rest of the league this season.
Brechin 1-3 Dumbarton
Dumbarton have not had a good season by anyone’s standards this year, but they aren’t totally out of hope just yet. They are only four points behind 8th place Inverness, though the highland side do have a game in hand. Dumbarton played Brechin midweek and won, as well as winning this weekend, ensuring they give themselves a chance. In what was a must win game, they got off to a flyer against the side who have yet to win in the league this season. Dimitris Froxylias provided three assists for the visitors this weekend, his first coming just after ten minutes. His corner was met by Calum Gallacher who nodded the away side ahead. Dumbarton notched their second a quarter of an hour in. Again, Froxylias was the creator, his pass being turned in to the net by Brechin defender Sean Crighton. Brechin were given a small sliver of hope as Craig Storie pulled a goal back on 38 minutes, but this hope vanished tragically soon. Danny Handling, the former Hibernian striker, punting in a loose ball from a Froxylias corner. Despite the best efforts of Brechin, the Sons never looked like getting the game back. Brechin aren’t officially relegated from the Championship yet, but two losses on the bounce to their closest rivals has made the inevitability even clearer.
Dundee United 1-1 Inverness
Another disappointing result for the Arabs this weekend as they laboured to a draw against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The away side took the lead after half an hour in controversial fashion. They were awarded a corner kick, despite replays showing that it was clearly a goal kick that should have been awarded to the home side. Regardless of the fairness of the corner, the defenders still had to do their jobs in clearing the ball, a duty that they failed to complete. Iain Vigurs found space in the box to stab home the loose ball and put Caley ahead. While the corner was undeserved, the goal advantage couldn’t be disputed. Not for the first this season did the United players traipse into the dressing room to a chorus of boos. The fan reaction mixed with the no doubt scathing words by manager Csaba Laszlo combined to up the ante from Dundee United. Their performance was laboured, but they kept chipping away and eventually they drew level with twenty five minutes to play. Laszlo’s half time substitution of Scott McDonald for Paul Quinn paid off. McDonald hit a shot from the edge of the box. This appeared to be pulling wide, but Danish striker Thomas Mikkelsen found himself stretching high to turn the shot in. The game petered out to finish as a 1-1 draw, with Inverness boss John Robertson by far the happier of the managers upon the full time whistle.
Livingston 0-0 Falkirk
The long shot of the Livingston title push was all but ended this weekend. St Mirren pulled out a big away performance to extend their lead while Livi drew 0-0 with a Falkirk side who are slowly clawing away from the relegation battle. Livingston had the ball in the net just over twenty minutes in, as Josh Mullin tapped in an Alan Lithgow cross, but the linesman raised his flag to rule the effort out. It was a frustrating day for Livingston who rarely seemed to get the better of the play throughout the 90 minutes. The point at least ensures that they continue putting distance in between them and Dundee United for the much needed bye in the ludicrous Scottish playoff system.
Dunfermline 0-0 Morton
The weather truly affected the play at Dunfermline this weekend, with the swirling wind and sleety snow making the quality of play particularly poor. Nicky Clark and Declan McManus both had strong efforts to put the hosts ahead, but Morton’s goalkeeper Derek Gaston proved to be a brick wall in between the sticks. Jim Duffy’s Morton side simply couldn’t get going and failed to register a single shot on target.
Ross County remain bottom of the pile in the top division, despite a draw at home to Hamilton Accies. Jamie Lindsay opened the scoring in the opening half, though conceded twice early in the second half, courtesy of goals from Dougie Imrie and Marios Ogboe. Andrew Davies pulled the hosts level with fifteen goals to go to give the Staggies a much needed point in their push for survival.
Moving on up
Ayr United sit top of the pile in League One, having recently beaten Raith to go outright atop the league. They travelled to Forfar Athletic and won in a comfortable 0-2 fashion. Michael Moffat opened the scoring early on, with Craig Moore converting a penalty late on to seal the victory.
The League Roundup
After match day twenty eight, the league table looks like this:
|6||Queen of the South||28||10||8||10||41||40||1||38|
I have given a lot of love to the Scottish Championship this year. It has provided upsets, high scores and shocks all over the joint. Because I have been honest about how good it has been, I have no qualms about saying that this week has not been vintage in the grand scheme of things. St Mirren won predictably, Brechin lost which was no shock, Dundee United scraped a result without playing well, and we had two 0-0 draws. On the plus side, the battle to reach the Championship is hotting up, with Ayr United looking like going the distance in League One!