SURPRISE leaders Airdrie United take on Dunfermline in the pick of this week’s First Division matches. The sides have met eight times in league matches, and Airdrie United have yet to record a win – drawing four times and losing four. Their only victory over the Pars came in a Scottish Cup tie at East End Park in January 2006, where Steven McKeown and Stevie Doherty scored in the last two minutes to secure a 4-3 win. Airdrie recorded wins in their first two league games for the first time ever, and are proving to be clinical in front of goal with six goals from ten shots on target. Dunfermline have struggled to create opportunities – only Cowdenbeath have had fewer shots.
Elsewhere, Greenock Morton host Falkirk. Both teams will be disappointed with their start to the season, and will be looking to turn things around. Morton are unbeaten in their last five against the Bairns at Cappielow, winning three and drawing two. Morton have also had more shots than any other side in the division (27), but have hit the target with less than half of those. Falkirk, meanwhile, have had just five shots on target in the league so far this season – joint lowest with Cowdenbeath.
The standout fixture in the Second Division is between the current top two, Alloa Athletic and Arbroath. This fixture has historically been very close, with Arbroath (60 wins) having the slight upper hand over their opponents (57 wins). Arbroath have scored with every single one of their five shots on target in the league this season. Alloa’s last home game against East Fife saw them have 67% of possession – the most any team has managed in the division this season.
Pre-season favourites Ayr United have struggled so far, and will be looking to kick-start their season at home to Forfar Athletic. The sides met in the league and the play-offs in 2010-11, with the sixmatches yielding an impressive 26 goals. The Honest Men have a fantastic record against their opponents at Somerset Park, winning 29 of their previous 40 meetings, and losing just five times. Ayr have also had the lion’s share of possession in both their league games, but crucially, have only picked up a single point. hat could play into the hands of Forfar, who recorded a 4-0 win at home to Stranraer last weekend, despite having less of the ball than their opponents.
The game of the day on Saturday would appear to be Queen’s Park’s trip to Peterhead. The Spiders have a very poor record at Balmoor with only one win in 14 league visits – and that was way back in 2002. Peterhead have never failed to score in a home game against the Glasgow side. The Blue Toon have faced three times more shots than they’ve taken this season, picking up four points from their first two matches.
Sunday’s televised match sees the Rangers “derby”, as the Glasgow version take on their English counterparts. The sides will meet for the first time since a Scottish Cup tie in 2002, and for the first time ever on league duty. That Scottish Cup tie went to a replay after a 0-0 draw at Shielfield, evoking memories of 1967, when Berwick recorded a famous 1-0 win over the Gers. Rangers have had 44 shots already this season, 20 more than the next most frequent shooters, Clyde. Both sides have had over 50% of possession in both their previous league matches this season – something has to give.
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