PARTICK THISTLE host Livingston as they aim to keep up the pressure on leaders Greenock Morton. Thistle have won their last five league matches without conceding a single goal, and if they keep a clean sheet on Saturday, they will set a new club record of six shut-outs in a row. The Jags have won 13 of their 14 league matches at home this season, with their only defeat coming against Morton in December. However, opponents Livingston have performed well on the road this season, picking up more points away from home than they have at Almondvale. The clubs have met 15 times at Firhill on league duty and Thistle have only failed to score in one of those matches – a goalless draw in April 2007.
Meanwhile, title rivals Morton welcome Cowdenbeath to Cappielow. Morton have lost just three of their last 25 league matches, but all of those defeats came against the clubs in the relegation battle (two against Hamilton and one against Dumbarton). Cowdenbeath won their first two away league matches this season but have not recorded a win in 11 matches on the road since. The Blue Brazil are unbeaten in their last four league matches, and have lost just one out of seven since the start of February. This will be the 100th meeting of the clubs in national competitions – Morton have 51 wins to Cowden’s 28 so far.
The game of the week in Division Two comes at the bottom of the table as East Fife welcome Stranraer to New Bayview, with both teams trying to avoid the relegation play-offs. East Fife have gone nine games without a win – the last time they went ten or more without a win was their ill-fated sojourn into the First Division back in 1996-97, when they set a club record by going 27 matches without winning, including 15 defeats in a row. Stranraer have won just two away games in the league this season, but one of those was against East Fife back in December. None of the last 17 matches between these sides have finished as draws – “Barbie Girl” by Aqua was at number one the last time they drew, way back in November 1997.
Alloa Athletic’s infinitesimally small title chances will be completely extinguished if they fail to beat leaders Queen of the South at Recreation Park. Queens have lost just one league league game this season, but that came on their previous trip to Alloa back in December – since then, they are unbeaten in 14 league matches. Alloa have suffered defeats in each of their last two home matches in the league – they haven’t lost three in a row at Recreation Park since Paul Hartley took over. The three league matches between the sides this season have featured just two goals, with both sides recording 1-0 home wins before a 0-0 draw at Palmerston in their most recent meeting. If Queens eliminate Alloa from the title race on Saturday, the only obstacle between them and the title will be the Glebe Park pitch – nearest challengers Brechin City have had a lot of P-P draws at home recently, although their meeting with Ayr United will take place at nearby Station Park.
The standout fixture involves the battle for the play-offs as Berwick Rangers host Peterhead. Berwick have surged into third spot after four consecutive league wins – they haven’t won five in a row since the last time they earned promotion from this division (2006-07), when they won a club record nine in a row. They are still some way away from that club record, but they could equal another club record on Saturday by keeping a fifth consecutive clean sheet, a total previously achieved way back in 1972. Peterhead have dominated this fixture since joining the SFL – they have won six of the 11 meetings between the sides, with Berwick winning just twice.
Montrose currently sit in the final play-off place, but come in to Saturday’s match against East Stirlingshire off the back of two thumping defeats: a 0-4 defeat away to Berwick was followed up by a shock 0-6 home loss to Peterhead last weekend. Fortunately for the Gable Endies, they now face a Shire side who conceded even more goals in their last two outings – shipping nine against Stirling Albion and three against Berwick. These sides appear to like patterns in their results – the last two matches between them finished 2-2 while the three games before that finished 3-1 to the home side.
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