What can I say about this weekend’s Scottish Championship action? It was poor, it was really f*****g poor. Five matches, ten teams and a grand total of five goals. This included two 0-0 draws. Of the ten teams in action, only three scores. Props to you, Morton, Livingston and St Mirren, I applaud you. The rest, well, shame on you. It made for a particularly poor Soccer Saturday. Not what I needed after the snore-fest which was Liverpool v Manchester United… I guess if we must persist with the recount of this dire weekend of action then we may as well start in Livingston, where Dundee United were the visitors, looking to build on their magnificent win over Dunfermline prior to the international break.
Livingston 2-0 Dundee United
There was a lot of optimism this weekend around Tannadice, with fans of the Arabs unusually upbeat after their beating of Dunfermline two weeks before. This optimism was chewed up and spit out by full time, with the more familiar sounds of angry “McKinnon out” boo-boys on chorus. AI personally have always quite liked Ray McKinnon, but my god it is hard to support the man after the dross that was displayed today. Outclassed in every area of the park. Football pundit Tam McManus watched the game, tweeting “First look at Dundee United live. As poor a performance as I have seen this season. Unbelievably bad for the players they have on paper.” And that is the problem. On paper they should be walking this league, but they are ambling their way through the season, looking destined to comfortably bag a playoff spot, and the inevitable lottery that that is the Scottish playoffs. Daniel Mullen scored via an Alan Lithgow free kick. This was a cross that should have been claimed by goalkeeper Harry Lewis, but instead saw the goalkeeper stand there lamely as the ball was turned in by Mullen. The second of the day came from Nikolay Todorov with fifteen minutes to go, stabbing in from close range to double the hosts lead and seal the victory.
Dumbarton 0-2 St Mirren
St Mirren knew that a victory today mixed with Dunfermline dropping points would see the Paisley boys top the table. That is exactly what happened this weekend. St Mirren started the game in fine form, seeing both Ross Stewart and Stephen McGinn have shots cleared off the line within the first five minutes. St Mirrens persistence paid off after 36 minutes as Gavin Reilly grabbed his tenth goal of the season to put the Buddies top of the live table. The goal was set up from a cross by former Hearts fullback Adam Eckersley. John Sutton came off the bench and scored a header with twenty minutes to go, ensuring that Jack Ross’ side did their part in achieving their top of the league status by the end of the league. Dumbarton mustered a couple of chances, courtesy of Dimitrios Froxylias, but St Mirren were simply too strong for the Sons today.
Brechin 0-1 Morton
Our last goal of the division was scored by Greenock Morton, in their tight victory against Brechin City. This game can be chalked down as same old same old for poor Brechin. They huffed and they puffed, they defended resolutely for large swathes of the game and they were once again undone by a late strike to knock the stuffing out of them. Brechin goalkeeper Graeme Smith put in a sterling effort, saving from Bob McHugh and Gary Harkins, while Morton also saw Ross Forbes and Jai Quitongo both came close with their efforts. But it was Andy Murdoch who put the sword into Brechin City, scoring with under ten minutes to go to put Brechin City even further afoot at the bottom of the league table.
Falkirk 0-0 Inverness
This wasn’t so much a must-win for both teams today, but rather a mustn’t lose. Both sides have been woefully disappointing this year, with Peter Houston sacked and John Robertson surely on the thinnest of ice. Both sides duly delivered a performance indicative of their season so far, with the dullest of dull 0-0s. Former Dundee and Alloa boss Paul Hartley took charge of Falkirk for the first time, and in his eyes a clean sheet and a point isn’t the worst start in the world. For Inverness, a clean sheet and a point against a similarly stacked team may also seem like a good point. The only real losers are the thousands of fans paying their hard earned money to watch the game. Alex Harris and Joe McKee came closest for Falkirk early on, while Inverness can count themselves unlucky not to have gone ahead through Liam Polworth, the only player consistently churning out above average performances for Caley Thistle. There was a sigh of relief from those hardy souls who stayed in the stadium until full time, pleased to finally be put out of their misery.
Queen of the South 0-0 Dunfermline
With free scoring Dunfermline taking on a Queen of the South side that boasted the goal threat of Stephen Dobbie, this goal looked like a banker for those who favour the old both teams to score coupon at the bookies. The sides shared sixteen shots between them, so it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, but neither side could find that cutting edge in a windy Palmerston Park. Nicky Clark gave the away fans a glimmer of hope with his fiercely hit shot, but alas, it only found the side netting. Stephen Dobbie brought about Queen’s best shot of the match, but it could only find the Pars goalkeeper Sean Murdoch. Lee Ashcroft headed the ball towards the Queens goal in injury time, but it was cleared off the line, denying the visitors a hard fought away win and condemning the fans to a goalless affair.
Partick hosted Kilmarnock in a bottle of the table clash, each team knowing that a win would be invaluable at creating some breathing room between themselves and the opposition. Former West Bromich Albion boss Steve Clarke has taken the monumental – emphasis on the mental – step down from his Premier League days to take over a relegation-ridden team in Kilmarnock. He watched from the stand today, but would be impressed to see his side grab the game by the scruff of the neck and take three points back to Kilmarnock. An Adam Frizzell free kick and a Kris Boyd tap in saw Kilmarnock earn a crucial three points in Glasgow.
Moving on up
Raith got back to winning ways after a dud week in their last outing. Lewis Vaughn did his usual by giving the Fifers a lead after 33 minutes. Arbroath were down by a second just five minutes later, Jason Thomson being the scorer of the second goal. This result keeps Raith five points clear at the top of the table, and a draw for Ayr United will help keep the gap nice and wide. Special mention in this division goes to East Fife and Albion Rovers, who played out a 5-4 thriller, with East Fife scoring as many goals as all the Scottish Championship teams combined!
The League Roundup
After match day three, the league table looks like this:
|6||Queen of the South||9||3||3||3||14||11||3||12|
So, thank Christ that is over. This was easily the least entertaining of the nine weeks by far. That being said, I am sure Livingston, St Mirren and Morton fans are all perfectly happy with the days doings and happenings. From a neutral point of view, I can only hope for double the amount of goals next week, and as a Dundee United fan, I can only hope that we score a bucket load at home to Inverness. Wishful thinking, probably, but after this week’s low scoring games, I can only hope!