This weekend’s fixtures saw a new league leader, 19 goals amongst the five fixtures, and not a single clean sheet in sight! Three draws played out today, as well as big wins for St Mirren and Greenock Morton. For the first time (probably) this season, not a single red card was brandished in any of the games. Without further ado, let’s start in Paisley, where Inverness battled against the new league leaders, St Mirren.
St Mirren 4-2 Inverness
St Mirren took the lead half an hour into the game through young midfielder Lewis Morgan’s deflected strike. This was a relief for the Buddies, who had seen the ball fall in their own net after less than a minute. Thankfully for them, Inverness striker John Baird was a fraction offside. Baird was vindicated an hour into the match when he slotted the ball into the bottom corner to equalise for the highlanders. Gregor Buchanan headed the hosts back in front just two minutes later, but the home teams elation lasted only a couple of minutes before Liam Polworth brought Caley back level, rounding Craig Samson in the Inverness goal before slotting it home. St Mirren felt that Polworth was in an offside position. Rather than getting too hung up on the decision, they responded by scoring two in two minutes, on 73 and 74, to condemn Inverness to defeat. First, Chris Smith hammered a shot home from 20 yards. Secondly, Ian McShane buried a shot from distance in the top corner. Inverness manager John Robertson was frustrated at the result, considering how well he felt his team had played. For St Mirren, though, the prospect of being top of the league is truly where they wish to be, and will hope to sustain this good form throughout the rest of the season.
Morton 3-2 Dunfermline
Joe Cardle continued his magnificent scoring form by notching after only five minutes in this week’s tough fixture away to Morton. Kallum Higginbotham doubled the Pars lead after half an hour. The striker banged his penalty past Morton keeper Derek Gaston. Dunfermline somehow managed to squander this impressive 2-0 lead. Former Dundee United striker Robert Thompson took advantage of former Dundee United centre half Callum Morris’ poor backpass to get a goal back for the hosts. The game was levelled by former Dundee and Ayr forward Gary Harkins, a player who was once hurled the abusive line by a Dundee United fan “Gary Harkins, you’re so fat you’re f*****g belly is affside!”Harkins may not be the slightest player in the world, but he certainly put in a fine free kick to tie the game. Dunfermline will no doubt be aggreived to have given up a two goal lead, but a point at away to Morton was acceptable. Jai Quitongo ensured that the Pars long drive back to Fife was a quiet one, sprinting clear of the defence and finishing with a low, hard strike to ensure three points for Morton, finishing a superb comeback.
Dundee United 1-1 Dumbarton
I have been very critical of the Sons this year, my general consensus being that they aren’t bad, but that they also aren’t very good. Well, I can only assume that Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken has used my article in his pre-match build up, spurring his players on to get a result to frustrate me. The visitors got off to a brilliant start, David Smith firing a well struck shot beyond Harry Lewis in the United nets and giving the part-timers a precious lead to defend. Dundee United should have equalised in the first half; Dutch summer-signing Jordie Briels rounded the goalkeeper but could only fire into the side netting. James Keatings netted an equaliser on 87 minutes, atoning for his earlier sitter by curling a tidy free kick past Scott Gallacher to gain the home team a point, if a somewhat disappointing one.
Livingston 2-2 Queen of the South
Josh Mullin continued his fine early season form by bagging the opening goal of a hotly contested match. Mullin dispatched his penalty five minutes before the half time whistle to give the hosts the advantage going into the break. Andy Stirling put the Dumfries based club level on 71 minutes, before Derek Lyle, bizarrely dropped despite his impressive scoring rate of late, put Queens ahead six minutes later. Livingston dug in deep and grabbed a late goal through Dylan Mackin to draw the game level at 2-2. Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith was particularly impressed with the hosts, crediting their sharpness and control for large swathes of the game. Queens will no doubt be the happier side, given the dominance that Livingston displayed throughout the match.
Brechin 1-1 Falkirk
After a win against Sligo Rovers last weekend, Peter Houston must have been hoping to continue momentum in this “easy fixture” against Brechin. Alex Harris gave Falkirk the lead after fifteen minutes, leaving Peter Houston optimistic that his side had turned the corner on their horror start to the campaign. The performance was certainly better, on another day they could have had four, as James Craigen, Nathan Austin and Rory Loy all wasted glorious opportunities to increase the lead. Finn Graham gave the home fans something to cheer about with his somewhat undeserved goal twenty minutes from time. Despite the run-against-play goal, it was Brechin who had the chance to win the game with the dying moments of the game. Isaac Layne saw his shot saved by Robbie Thompson with a minute left on the clock. A point is certainly better than a loss for both teams, but neither manager will be happy; Darren Dods will be disappointed at the style his side played, while Peter Houston won’t be happy at another winless league game.
Normality is restored as Dundee are bottom of the league, nursing their wounds after a 4-1 mauling by Scotland’s newest professional club, The Rangers. Alfedo Morelos scored twice, either side of a Josh Windass and Carlos Pena’s first goal for the Gers. Dundee scored a consolation in the 90th minute courtesy of Faissal El Bakhtaoui. Dundee are one of three sides to be sat on one point after five matches, but if they continue to ship goals at this rate of noughts then they could be setting sail for the Championship before too long.
Moving on up
The bubble is burst for Ayr United, as Raith Rovers are starting to put themselves in the driving seat for automatic promotion. Ayr took the lead deep into first half stoppage time through Lawrence Shankland. Goals from Lewis Vaughn and Jason Thomson swung the game back in Raiths favour, and a late red card for Chris Higgins all but sealed the victory for Raith. Five games have been played in League One and Raith have opened up a four point lead.
The League Roundup
After match day three, the league table looks like this:
After five games, a couple of pre-season estimations are starting to look a little bit uncertain. It was assumed by many that in an “easier” division than years previously, that Dundee United would stroll this league. They are going to make playoffs, but their performance has been stagnant so far. Brechin were expected to be cannon-fodder, and, while they may sit bottom, having zero wins to their names and shipped twelve goals, they have certainly been no pushovers. They often flag late in games which ends up costing them, but if they learn something about completing 90 minutes then they may see themselves stay safe, maybe… The rest of the league is still shaping up, and will continue in usual fashion next Saturday. Let’s hope the goals keep coming!