Scottish Championship Match Day 4: Saints Go Marching On

Scottish Championship

Dundee United have lost their undefeated record, Inverness Caledonian Thistle managed to actually win a game and Dunfermline continue their frightening form. There were goals aplenty in the Scottish Championship this weekend. Above all, Dumbarton aren’t last in the reviews this week. Excitingly, both 12th in the top flight and 1st in the third tier have changed since last weekend! We start in Paisley this week, where the Buddies took on the Arabs.

St Mirren 3-0 Dundee United

100% record – over. Undefeated record – over. Reality has hit Dundee United. They have been lucky for their opening fixtures, playing poorly yet grinding out a result. This weekend they faced a St Mirren side who were ruthless and punished United’s lack of ambition on the day. Dundee United started the game in the ascendancy, though the home side struck first, courtesy of young Lewis Morgan. The defence held back, allowing the 20-year-old to drive forward and fire his shot under on-loan Southampton goalkeeper Harry Lewis. United were certainly losing their cool; Paul McMullan was booked for diving, Jamie Robson was booked for fouling Morgan and Scott McDonald was booked for dissent. After being run ragged for most of the second half, manager Ray McKinnon would have been desperately hoping for a drastic improvement after the break. This was thwarted just three minutes after halftime as Morgan struck again for the Saints. He struck from the edge of the penalty box after a woeful clearance saw United fail to clear their lines. Dundee United were having the kind of season whereby things were just clicking for them, they knew if they could nick a late goal, they might just bag an equaliser. Their hopes were dashed with ten minutes to go as Ian McShane struck the decisive goal which saw the Buddies leapfrog United to go third in the league.

Brechin 0-4 Inverness

Brechin have had a tough start to the season, playing well but failing to see out games, often struggling to find the net. They were home to an Inverness side who were desperately short of luck and there were murmurs of Brechin taking the three points on Saturday. They lost, badly. Iain Vigurs scored via a horror deflection, a cruel blow for Brechin who once again had been holding their own early on. Brechin were dealt a further blow just a few minutes later as Brad McKay powered in a header from a corner kick to put Caley 2-0 up. Former Brechin loanee John Baird tormented his former club, feeding a pass through to Alex Cooper who shimmied past a defender before scoring. Once again, Brechin were getting beaten despite playing well. Jordan Sinclair was a particular standout and will undoubtedly be a big part of Brechin’s survival aim. Despite their tenacious attitude, they managed to let in a fourth with twenty minutes to play. A lapse in concentration saw Iain Vigurs totally unmarked at a corner, allowing the midfielder to tuck his header into the net to crush the spirits of the home fans.

Falkirk 1-4 Queen of the South

Falkirk’s horrific start to the season continued as they were swept aside at home in embarrassing fashion. There wasn’t even the gimmick of watching the massacre from top of a crane this time. It took Queens 65 seconds to score, Jason Kerr scoring a diving header to sink the spirits of the thoroughly impatient home fans. Stephen Dobbie is only a couple of years removed from playing for Swansea City and Crystal Palace; these days he is plying his trade for the Dumfries side. His scoring record has been quite remarkable since joining the Doonhamers and he continued this by scoring an eight-minute hat-trick against Falkirk. Dobbie bagged his first of the day four minutes prior to halftime, ensuring that the boos of the home fans at half time increased by a number of decibels. Under pressure manager Peter Houston brought on striker Nathan Austin at half time to bring his side back into the game. His plan was foiled 30 seconds into the second half as Dobbie curled a magnificent strike into the goal from outside the box. Three minutes later and Lucas Gasparatto conceded a penalty, hauling down Lyndon Dykes in moronic fashion to gift Queens the chance to put the game to bed. Stephen Dobbie was having the game of his life and comfortably dispatched his penalty to secure his first hat-trick since 2009. There was a brief moment of enjoyment for Falkirk as Gasparatto grabbed a late consolation goal in the 89th minute, but that did little to appease the fans as their chorus of boos rung out at full time.

Dumbarton 0-4 Dunfermline

Dunfermline went top of the league, becoming the only side not to lose this season. Joe Cardle continued his immense start to the season by taking advantage of some early Dunfermline pressure to bag the first of the day, only five minutes in. The Pars doubled their lead just before the half hour mark. They broke from a Dumbarton corner, countering with blistering pace. Cardle squared the ball to Kallum Higginbotham to fire into the empty net. Dunfermline were playing Dumbarton off the park and went into halftime shocked to only be 2-0 up. The hosts went down to ten men in the 77th minute as Andy Dowie was shown his second yellow card of the day for an attempted trip. Dunfermline embraced the situation and grabbed a couple of late goals to put the match out of sight. Substitute Nicky Clark fired in goal number three on minute 87, then Andy Ryan scored the fourth into stoppage time. This result sees the Pars shoot to the top of the table. It is early days, but Allan Johnston appears to be creating a real title challenging side.

Morton 0-1 Livingston

Livingston’s topsy-turvy season start took an upwards spiral as they grabbed a hard-earned three points away to Morton. The game was a repeat of the Irn Bru cup which saw Livi completely outplay Morton back in August. Both teams put in an immense amount of effort in this game. Neil Alexander made an enormous save to deny Bob McHugh from giving the hosts the lead. Livingston nearly scored late in the first half as Scott Pittman nodded the ball into the side netting from a diving header. Livingston scored the game’s only goal on the hour mark, finishing off a neat counter attack to sink the hosts. Danny Mullen outpaced Mark Russell to speed up the park and fire the visitors ahead.

Downtown

Partick Thistle lost their fourth straight game in heartbreaking fashion this weekend. Glasgow’s nicest team played out a thrilling 3-4 defeat to title challengers Aberdeen. Aberdeen took the lead after only five minutes, though Partick equalised only three minutes later. Partick then took the lead, were then 3-2 down on minute 52 and then back level at 3-3 on minute 54. Aberdeen then scored via Adam Rooney with five minutes to go. It was devastating for plucky Partick, but Aberdeen merited their win. Partick’s next game will be a tad trickier as former Reading defender Niall Keown was shown a second yellow late on in the game.

Moving on up

Raith Rovers have moved to top spot this week after a 5-0 butchering of East Fife. Bobby Barr scored after five minutes, Lewis Vaughn got a brace while Greig Spence and Liam Buchanan added to East Fife’s misery. After a disappointing opening day draw, Raith have won three on the bounce and have leaped ahead of Ayr United, who gave up a goal lead to lose 1-2 at home to Arbroath.

The League Roundup

After match day three, the league table looks like this:

Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against G.D Points
1 Dunfermline 4 3 1 0 13 3 10 10
2 QOS 4 3 0 1 10 4 6 9
3 St Mirren 4 3 0 1 10 6 4 9
4 Dundee United 4 3 0 1 4 4 0 9
5 Morton 4 1 2 1 5 3 2 5
6 Livingston 4 1 2 1 5 6 -1 5
7 Inverness 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 4
8 Dumbarton 4 0 2 2 1 6 -5 2
9 Falkirk 4 0 1 3 4 11 -7 1
10 Brechin City 4 0 1 3 3 11 -8 1

Four games played and the table is starting to show some solidarity. Dundee United’s lacklustre performances have finally caught up with them as Jack Ross’s St Mirren side played the Terrors off the park. Dunfermline have leaped into top spot after seeing off Dumbarton in style. John Robertson will be one happy manager this week after seeing his side carve out their first win of the season, in emphatic style, and Falkirk’s title credentials are looking more and more laughable as they ran out another pitiful performance. Time is certainly running out for Peter Houston. He may be the happiest man in the league at the prospect of a week off due to the international break, giving him plenty of time to devise a new plan to get his side back on track.