Leaders Hamilton Academical will be hoping to improve their recent stuttering form when they welcome Falkirk to New Douglas Park. Alex Neil’s side have won just one of their last four league matches and have seen their lead at the top cut from five points to one. Falkirk are also struggling for consistency, having picked up just two wins in their last nine matches in all competitions (both of which came at home).
The Bairns are unbeaten on their last nine visits to New Douglas Park, picking up four wins and five draws in South Lanarkshire. The last time the Accies last managed a home win against Falkirk, Tony Christie and Peter Kay topped the charts with “Is This The Way to Amarillo” (April 2005). Ironically, the Bairns have adopted the same song as their goal music, something which probably had more to do with the league title they won that season than it did about the nostalgia of a defeat in an end of season match in Hamilton.
If the Accies slip up, Dundee could move to the top of the table with a win away to Livingston. Both sides are in good form – Dundee have won four games on the bounce and have moved into second place. while Livi have won three of their last four to move away from the relegation zone. Almondvale has been the place to be for goals this season, with a whopping 24 scored in just five league matches. None of the last 12 matches between these sides has finished as a draw – Dundee have ten wins to Livi’s two.
Rangers will be looking to continue their perfect start to the league season when they travel to Methil to take on East Fife. A victory on Saturday would see them equal Ross County’s third tier record of ten consecutive wins, set in the 2007-08 season. The Gers are also well on course to annihilate Gretna’s record goals tally for a third tier season – the current best stands at 97 but at their current scoring rate, Ally McCoist’s side would bang in a whopping 152 goals. East Fife have just ten points from ten games this season, but can perhaps pin their hopes on the infallibility of patterns – their home league form so far this season is LWLWL.
In-form Stranraer will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to six when they welcome Dunfermline Athletic to Stair Park. After being rooted at the foot of the table with just one point from their first five matches, Stephen Aitken’s side have taken 13 points from their last five to move up to fifth in the table. They have won each of their last three league matches and will be aiming to win four-in-a-row at this level for the first time since 2004-05, a year in which they were promoted to the old First Division.
The Pars have been utterly dominant in the previous meetings between the sides, having won 26 of their 35 clashes in all competitions. Stranraer have beaten Dunfermline just three times and have not won any of their last 12 meetings. The most recent of their three victories came in a League Cup tie way back in August 1979.
Second place Elgin City host Annan Athletic as they aim to extend their seven-match unbeaten run in the league. Annan have been prolific on their travels so far this season, scoring 11 times in their four away league matches and netting at least twice in each game. History suggests that this could be a close match – the sides have met at Borough Briggs on ten previous occasions, and have four wins apiece.
Two of the sides currently occupying the play-off places meet on Saturday, as Clyde welcome Stirling Albion. Broadwood has yet to witness a draw between these sides – in 14 previous meetings there the clubs have seven wins apiece. The Bully Wee’s last home draw against the Binos came at Douglas Park, Hamilton, in February 1994.
This week’s question comes from Ayr United fan and general misanthrope Alistair Gemmell:
“Michael Moffat recently scored his 50th goal for Ayr United, but how many Championship, League 1 and League 2 players have scored 50 or more goals for their current club? I would predict not too many, as players tend to move around a lot these days.”
You’re quite right to say there aren’t all that many players who have managed 50 goals for their current clubs. I couldn’t find any Championship players at all, something which perhaps says a lot for the turnover of players at that level.
By my reckoning, League 1 provides five half-centurions. Alistair will be pleased to know that Ayr United is home to not one, but two of these players with the aforementioned Michael Moffat (50) joined by his manager Mark Roberts (55). Forfar Athletic also have two members of the 50 Club – both Chris Templeman (54) and Ross Campbell (56) have achieved that feat. The final League 1 star is Rangers’ utility man Lee McCulloch (54) – some may choose not to include him due to the oldco/newco argument, which has now gone beyond tedious and into the realms of “aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh would you please give it up and accept that nobody is going to change their mind”.
In League 2, there are at least two players who can lay claim to this achievement and both ply their trade in the Highlands. Craig Gunn (80) has been consistently firing in goals for Elgin City, while Peterhead’s Rory McAllister (50) joined the club with his goal against Berwick Rangers in the Scottish Cup at the start of the month (note that McAllister has only scored 49 times in his current spell with the Blue Toon, but he also netted one whilst on loan to the club in 2008). There may well soon be a new member of the club in the shape of Albion Rovers’ Scott Chaplain, who is in his third spell at Cliftonhill. The notoriously unreliable Soccerbase puts his total at 47 goals but the site often misses goals in cup competitions, so it is possible that another three have been lost down the back of that particular couch.
The information for Forfar Athletic, Rangers and Elgin City came courtesy of FitbaStats, while the Ayr United details came from this interview with Mark Roberts in the Ayrshire Post (which now appears to be under the banner of the Daily Record).
If you are curious about any team-specific stats or records, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet Craig at @SPLStats and he will pick out the most interesting questions.