The game of the day in Division One sees leaders Partick Thistle aiming to bounce back from last week’s defeat as they host an in-form Livingston. Historically, there has been very little to separate the two sides – they have 13 wins apiece in their 35 previous meetings in all competitions. Livi have picked up four wins in 17 visits to Firhill and curiously, they have scored three times in each of those victories. The Jags have scored in each of their last ten matches against Livingston – the last time the West Lothian side kept a clean sheet against them was back in April 2008 when their starting line-up included James McPake, Dave Mackay, Murray Davidson, Graham Dorrans, Robert Snodgrass and Leigh Griffiths.
Thistle still have a 100% record at Firhill this season, winning all of their home matches in both league and cup and averaging four goals per game in their First Division games. Including last season, they are unbeaten in ten home games; the good news for Livingston is that they were the last away team to win at Firhill back in March. The Lions have been good on their travels in recent times, losing just two of their last 12 away matches in Division One.
Even if Thistle win, Dunfermline could still finish the day above them if they can record a big victory at home to a Dumbarton side who have conceded three goals per game so far this season. The Sons will visit East End Park for the first time since April 1996 – the UK’s number 1 album at the time was Take That’s Greatest Hits collection. The Sons’ comeback may not attract the same sort of publicity which met the reunion of Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow, and their results suggest they probably won’t be Back For Good. Dunfermline are unbeaten in their last sevenhome games against Dumbarton, a fact that seems scarcely relevant given that these matches were in the late eighties and early ninties.
Runaway leaders Queen of the South host Ayr United in the standout fixture in Division Two. The Ayrshire side were actually pre-season favourites with McBookie to win the division, but they already sit 15 points behind the Doonhamers after just 12 matches. Dumfries has not been particularly welcoming to Ayr in recent times – they have failed to win any of their last eight matches at Palmerston and have even lost their last four. Queen of the South are currently unbeaten in 12 league matches – something they last achieved between January and April 2007. They haven’t gone 13 or more unbeaten since 1985.
Elsewhere, Brechin host Forfar in an Angus derby which could also play an important part in the play-off race. City have won just one of their last 11 matches against the Loons, but that came in their last meeting at Glebe Park in January. Fans of pointless landmarks will be keen to know that Brechin’s first goal would be their 100th home goal against Forfar in the league, while Forfar’s first strike would be their 250th against Brechin in all competitions.
The biggest game in this division comes on Sunday, when second-place Elgin City take on leaders Rangers in front of the ESPN cameras. Elgin have only lost two league matches this season, but both of those were against sides from Glasgow and both were four-goal thumpings. Elgin supporters have been guaranteed goals at both ends this season – there have been 73 goals in their 16 games so far. Rangers have finally found a bit of form, having won four-in-a-row to propel themselves to the top of the league.
Back in Glasgow, there will be Friday night football at Hampden as Queen’s Park welcome Stirling Albion to the national stadium. Neither team approaches the game in good form – neither side has won in five and four matches respectively, and the Binos have only picked up a single point from their five away matches so far this season. Those of you who believe in the occult may wish to bet on a draw on Friday – it would take the head-to-head league record between the sides in Glasgow to 13-13-13. Spooky.
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