COWDENBEATH will be looking to avenge their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat when they host leaders Partick Thistle on Saturday. Cowden have not won any of their last nine league matches and only have a single home win in the league this season. Should they fail to win at the weekend, they would equal their ten match winless streak in 2010-11, a season which saw them relegated from the division.
In contrast to their perfect home form in the First Division, Thistle have struggled on the road – they are without a win in their last four away league matches, although they did manage their aforementioned Challenge Cup victory at Central Park in that period. The Jags haven’t won a league match away at Cowdenbeath since 1930 – a stat which actually sounds less impressive when you consider that they have only visited five times on league duty since then.
While their title rivals travel into Fife, Dunfermline will be crossing the Forth Road Bridge in the opposite direction as they visit Livingston. The Pars have lost just one of their last six matches at Almondvale, but that particular defeat came in their most recent visit back in March 2009 against a Livingston side fielding an unlikely strike partnership of Armand One and Leigh Griffiths. Dunfermline have only lost four times in their last 32 matches in this division – three of those defeats came against Partick Thistle. Saturday’s match will be Livingston’s first home league game in the month of December since a 1-2 defeat to Forfar Athletic in the Division Three in 2009.
Second-place Alloa Athletic will be looking to breathe some life into the title race when they welcome leaders Queen of the South to Recreation Park. If Alloa inflict Queens’ first league defeat of the season, then the gap at the top would be cut to just six points. However, an away win would open up a 12-point lead which would look unassailable, even at this early stage. The Doonhamers have won their last five away matches in the league, and victory on Saturday would see them equal a club record of six, most recently achieved between November 1969 and February 1970. The sides haven’t met at the Recs in almost a decade – the last meeting was a 3-3 draw in the First Division in January 2003.
At the opposite end of the table, East Fife will be looking to avoid being sucked back into a relegation dogfight when they take on bottom side Stranraer. The Fifers have won nine of their last ten matches against Stranraer, with the only blemish being a 1-2 defeat at Bayview in October 2008. Three of the last four meetings have even seen East Fife win by a four-goal margin. Stranraer have lost all six of their away matches in the league this season, a run which extends to nine when you take into account the end of last season (excluding the play-offs).
Bottom club Stirling Albion visit Ibrox on Saturday as they look to do the double over Rangers. The Binos are the only side to have beaten the Gers in the league this season, but that success was one of their two wins so far. The Glasgow side, meanwhile, have a perfect home record in the league and have recorded four successive league wins since their defeat at Forthbank in October. Stirling have visited Ibrox 15 times without tasting success – their most recent trip was a 2-3 League Cup defeat to Rangers in August 1995, when Ally McCoist was among the goalscorers.
Meanwhile, Annan Athletic host Queen’s Park as both sides look to keep themselves in the hunt for the play-offs. The sides have met eight times at Galabank and have four wins each, with the matches averaging an impressive four goals per game. Annan’s last six league matches have averaged an even more remarkable five goals per game, and curiously those six results came in “pairs” – they had two consecutive 2-2 draws, followed by two consecutive 5-2 wins then two consecutive 1-3 defeats.
If you have any particular questions or topics you would like Craig to cover, contact him via Twitter at @SPLstats. Don’t let the name throw you – he also covers the football league too.