The pick of this week’s fixtures is Dunfermline against Partick Thistle. Both teams are amongst the pre-season favourites and both won comfortably last weekend. The two meetings in Dunfermline in 2010-11 finished goalless, but East End Park witnessed more goals than any other ground in the SPL last season – goals may still be on the menu even if the famous bridies aren’t. Thistle managed three goals from as many shots last weekend, while Dunfermline scored four times from six efforts, Expect more clinical finishing this weekend.
Elsewhere, the match between Dumbarton and Cowdenbeath could prove important in the battle to avoid relegation, even at this early stage of the season. Both sides were thrashed in their opening games and will be hoping for much improved performances. Cowdenbeath had the better of their meetings last season, taking ten points from four games. They even restricted the Sons to a single goal across those matches.
Two of the title favourites, Arbroath and Ayr, will meet at Gayfield and both sides should be looking to put last season’s playoff disappointment behind them. The last time the clubs were in the same division was 2008-09 and Ayr won all four encounters on their way to promotion. Both sides started the campaign with draws – poor finishing was one explanation for these stalemates. Arbroath hit the target with just one of their ten shots against Stranraer, while Ayr managed three out of seven in their match with Stenhousemuir.
Early leaders Queen of the South will face East Fife in the league for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The four matches between the sides in that season featured just five goals, so both sets of fans will be expecting for slightly more offensive action this time around.
The highest profile fixture in the division will of course be East Stirlingshire‘s trip to Rangers. The current record attendance for a Division Three match is 8,497, set by Morton when they beat Peterhead to win the title in 2003. Shire have only been to Ibrox twice before on league duty, losing 4-0 in 1932 and 3-1 in 1963. They have conceded 25 goals on their five previous trips to Ibrox in all competitions.
Leaders Stirling Albion travel to Elgin for the first time since 2004, and will be looking to continue an impressive run against their opponents. Elgin won three of the first five meetings between the two clubs, but since then Stirling have embarked on a ten match unbeaten run.
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