LEADERS Greenock Morton take on dark horses Livingston as both sides look to pick up an important three points. Livi are 12 points behind the Ton, but with three games in hand they cannot be ruled out of contention at the moment. It should be noted that Morton have suffered three defeats so far this season, and all of them have come at Cappielow, while, Livingston have lost just twice in eight away matches so far this season. Since making the move from Meadowbank to West Lothian in 1995, Livingston have an excellent record against Morton – the sides have met 22 times in the league, and Livi have won 11 times to Morton’s three. However, four of the last five meetings have been drawn, including two 2-2 draws so far this season. Iain Russell has scored six times in five appearances for Livi against his old club.
If Morton lose, then Dunfermline Athletic could replace them at the top of the table if they can win away at Cowdenbeath. After getting 2013 off to a winning start, the Pars suffered a shock 1-3 defeat at home to Airdrie to lose ground in the title race. Prior to that game, the Diamonds had not won in nine league matches – now Dunfermline face a Cowdenbeath side with an even longer winless streak (15). The Blue Brzil have led in each of their last five matches, but have surrendered on each occasion and have gained just four points. Worse still, Cowden have lost each of their last seven matches against the Pars, and have conceded 17 goals without reply in the last five. Their last home win against Dunfermline came on the same day that midfield maestro Deco was born (27 August 1977) – fifteen winless matches have passed since then.
The extent to which this division is turning into a one-horse race was confirmed during the week when Tesco attempted to put Queen of the South into one of their burgers. Queens will aim to continue their gallop to the title when they welcome Forfar Athletic to Palmerston. The Doonhamers have won their last six league matches, equalling their best run so far this season. They haven’t won seven on the bounce since setting a club record of ten wins in a row in 1969-70. Allan Johnston’s side have picked up 28 points from a possible 30 at home this season, and have won each of their last five league matches at Palmerston. The Loons have won just three away matches this term, and those all came against sides in the bottom four of the division. None of the last 14 meetings between the sides in Dumfries have been drawn – Queens have nine wins, and fans of arithmetic will have worked out that means that Forfar have five victories to their name.
At the other end of the A75, Stranraer host Arbroath, with both sides having play-offs on their mind. Stranraer will hope to pull themselves out of the relegation play-off spot, while Arbroath will aim to move into the promotion places. The Red Lichties have not won any of their last 11 away matches in all competitions, and have picked up just six points on the road this season. Stranraer have won just one of their last 15 matches against Arbroath, though eight of those matches were drawn. Goals should be guaranteed – the last eight matches between the sides at Stair Park have featured 35 goals.
The TV cameras visit Balmoor for the second time this season, as Peterhead take on Rangers on Sunday. The Gers scrambled a late equaliser to draw 2-2 in their only previous visit to Peterhead – a fact which seems to have passed by ESPN, who claim that Peterhead “stole a point” in their advert for the game. Peterhead lost to Montrose in their last match at Balmoor, but that was their only defeat in their last 13 home league matches. Rangers have picked up 37 points from their last 13 league games, with a home draw against Elgin being their only blemish.
On Saturday, Berwick Rangers host Elgin City as both teams attempt to keep in touch with the play-off places. Elgin have visited Shielfield 16 times and have yet to pick up a win there (having lost ten and drawn 6). The only good news for them is that they have drawn on each of their last three visits. Berwick have won five of their last seven home league matches, while Elgin have just two away wins this season, with those coming against the bottom two sides of the table. Goals should be expected in this fixture too – Berwick’s last five league matches have featured 24 goals, while Elgin’s have featured 22.
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