This week’s fixtures saw a number of shocks and surprises in the Scottish Championship. Dundee United actually played some exciting football, in-form Dumbarton fell to defeat away to the ever unpredictable Livingston, and, brace yourself… FALKIRK WON A GAME! On a less surprising note, St Mirren beat Brechin and Caley played out a drab draw with Queens. This week’s action starts at East End Park, where the Pars hosted the Arabs.
Dunfermline 1-3 Dundee United
It has been acknowledged by many that young midfielder Fraser Fyvie has been a little bit shit in recent years; a prominent starlet in an Aberdeen team at the start of the 2010s, he went to test himself down south with Wigan Athletic. He failed to establish himself there, and after a couple of underwhelming loans to Yeovil Town and Shrewsbury Town, he ended up at Hibernian between 2015 and 2017, where he was good, but not a patch on the player that left Scotland in 2012. His career seemingly down the toilet, he was picked up by Dundee United. After a string of woeful games, the ginger midfielder controlled the game in style against Dunfermline. Fyvie got his first of the day as he converted a very simple shot which resulted from Dunfermline’s Sean Murdoch pushing away a Jamie Robson cross into Fyvie’s feet on minute 35. Fyvie got his second, and Dundee United’s third on the hour mark, blasting in a terrific shot from the edge of the box to sink the Pars. These goals sandwiched a Scott McDonald goal, whereby he tucked away a rebound from a deflected James Keatings free kick. Callum Smith grabbed a consolation goal via his head with thirteen minutes to go, but Dunfermline were simply no match for a rampant United team, cheered on by a loud and proud away support. United could have grabbed another, with Billy King hitting the cross bar in the second half. This result see’s United climb to second, with Dunfermline slipping from top spot down to third.
Morton 0-1 Falkirk
With Peter Houston axed, Falkirk have spent the week interviewing potential replacements, with the leading candidates being Ally McCoist, the man in charge when Rangers died in 2012, and who failed to guide them out of the Championship after the clubs rebirth. The other candidate is Paul Hartley, a revelation at Alloa Athletic, but wholly out of his depth at Dundee in the top flight. While a decision is being made, Alex Smith has been asked to act as interim boss. By doing so, he became the oldest manager in Europe, at the ripe old age of 77. The old dog perhaps didn’t learn any new tricks, but he certainly taught his team a trick or two, guiding Falkirk to their first win of the season against a routinely hard to beat Morton side. Falkirk have been a side short on luck for months now, but they finally caught a break on 66 minutes, as Joe McKee rifled a free kick into the net to gift the Bairns a lead. They then sat back and absorbed a half hour of pressure of Morton, surviving the onslaught to bring the three points back home, lifting themselves out of the relegation zone in the process.
St Mirren 2-1 Brechin
A tough result to take for Brechin this weekend. Former Dundee United and Aberdeen winger Cammy Smith opened the scoring in the first half early on, tucking his shot away after fourteen minutes to set about the rout that everybody expected. The goal was set up by Stelios Demetriou. St Mirren’s interchanging front three were causing all sorts of problems for Brechin, but it was Darren Dod’s side who equalised. Kalvin Harris found space at the back post to nod the ball beyond a helpless Craig Samson and give the visitors a lifeline. Jack Ross rung in the changes in the second half, bringing on John Sutton, Dale Hilson and Ross Stewart, in a bid to bully the Brechin back line. It paid off late on as Stewart crossed into the box for former Dundee United prodigy Dale Hilson to knock it into the net and break the Brechin supporters spirits with ten minutes to go. This proved to be the decisive goal, and with Dunfermline losing, St Mirren rose to top of the table.
Livingston 2-1 Dumbarton
Livi scored early on against Dumbarton, but struggled to put the game to bed until four minutes to go. Alan Lithgow grabbed the game’s first goal, firing a powerful header down from a James Mullin corner and past Jim Gallacher in the Dumbarton goal. With fifteen minutes left to play, Dumbarton grabbed an equaliser, with Tom Walsh beating former Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander. The Sons were value for the draw, accruing 55% possession in a tough away game, but their hearts were broken late on as Craig Halkett powered a header into the back of the net to send the home fans into raptures. This result see’s Livi some headway between themselves and QOS, and leaves Dumbarton looking over their shoulder at the slow starting Inverness and Falkirk.
Inverness 0-0 Queen of the South
This game was dreadful. Truly dreadful. Queens were the better side, with the likes of Stephen Dobbie amassing some shots, but Inverness were pathetic. They had three shots, at home, none on target. Dobbie had a pretty serious penalty claim waved away, but there was truly very little in the way of talking points. The result sees Inverness slip to 9th. The results have been poor for Inverness this year, as have the performances. John Robertson must know his days are numbered in the Caley dugout.
With Dundee and Ross County winning today, the four way relegation battle at the foot of the top flight has become a two horse race, for now. Partick and Kilmarnock are both rooted to the bottom with three points apiece and a -8 goal
difference, yet it is Kilmarnock who sit 12th. They lost to Ross County, at home. Ross County had taken some flak for
sacking Jim McIntyre, who is arguably the Staggies best ever manager. Serial failure Owen Coyle took up the job in Dingwall and got off to a fine start, overseeing a comfortable 2-0 victory against Killie. Goals from Craig Curran and Kenny van der Weg sunk Kilmarnock, leading manager Lee McCulloch to be sacked leave the club by mutual consent.
Moving on up
Raith Rovers stay top of the league, but they did suffer defeat for the first time this season. This is probably due to me betting on them to win, so naturally this couldn’t happen. Alan Trouten shocked the visitors on 38 minutes, putting Albion Rovers a goal up. Albion then grabbed a second after 83 minutes to consign Raith to defeat. Grieg Stewart did get a goal back for Raith with minutes to go, but it was too little too late for the Fifers.
The League Roundup
|5||Queen of the South||8||3||2||3||14||11||3||11|
After match day three, the league table looks like this
Another week, another barrow-load full of talking points. Dundee United are finally starting to look something more than the boring nightmare they have been this season. But their bad season is not a patch on the bad season of Inverness up in the highlands, with patience running thin with manager John Robertson. Elsewhere in the league, Brechin City can once again hold their heads high after a close defeat. With two points earned after eight games, the head held high mentality is starting to wear thin. Falkirk have set the bar with their first sacking of the season, and I am sure the managerial merry-go-round will continue in the near future. The teams will take a week’s break due to the upcoming international break.