Andy Harrow of The Terrace Scottish football podcast highlights some key games in the SPFL, including the League 2, League 1, Championship and Premiership play-offs.
Hamilton v Motherwell
This weekend’s Lanarkshire derby sees 10th versus 11th, with plenty still at stake. Both sides have lost their opening two post-split fixtures, which has left them four points behind Dundee in ninth and, after Inverness’ win last weekend, four ahead of the bottom-placed Highlanders. Motherwell currently occupy the relegation play-off spot on goal difference, but both teams know a win would go a long way towards Premiership safety.
Last Encounter: Motherwell 0 – 0 Hamilton
Hamilton held on for a point at Fir Park, despite the sending off of midfielder Darian MacKinnon. Alex D’Acol was heavily involved at both ends of the pitch; he hit the post for the visitors before clearing a Ben Heneghan header off his own line. In a game of relatively few chances, MacKinnon was sent off with 15 minutes to go. The result meant Motherwell remained a point above Hamilton in 10th.
Dundee United (2) v (1) Greenock Morton
Dundee United take a slender lead into the 2nd leg of the Premiership play-off quarter-final. Morton dominated the opening 45 minutes of the first leg at Cappielow, with Thomas O’Ware scoring his 11th goal of the season, but Dundee United roared back in the second period. Simon Murray’s terrific strike brought United level on 51 minutes, before Blair Spittal’s shot made it past Derek Gaston and into the Morton net to turn the tie. The winner will progress to play Falkirk.
Raith Rovers (1) v (1) Brechin / Alloa (0) v (1) Airdrie
The first legs of the Championship play-off have left things nicely balanced for Saturday. Raith travelled to Brechin on Wednesday hoping to win their first away game since October, but a Ross Caldwell penalty on the stroke of half time – after Jean-Yves M’Voto had brought down Andy Jackson – gave the hosts a narrow lead. In a game of few chances, Raith levelled thanks to a superb Declan McManus free-kick.
Airdire, meanwhile, have an potentially crucial lead ahead of their visit to Alloa. League One’s top scorer, Andy Ryan, scored the only goal after half time. Alloa have won their last two at the Indodrill – including a 6-1 hammering of Brechin – but the Diamonds will take comfort from earlier in the season, when they overturned the Wasps, 2-1, on their own turf.
Forfar Athletic (2) v (2) Annan Athletic / Peterhead (1) v (1) Montrose
It’s still all to play for in the League 1 playoffs. Forfar, pipped to the League Two title on the final day of the league season by Arbroath, looked to be in trouble at Annan on Wednesday after falling two-behind within 16 minutes. It remained that way until the 81st minute, when Travis pulled one back for the Loons. A minute later, they were level through Martyn Fotheringham.
The tie is equally poised ahead of Montrose’s visit to Peterhead. Ryan Strachan put The Blue Toon ahead on 10 minutes in midweek, but Montrose responded quickly through Chris Templeman. Despite a number of chances, neither side could break the deadlock over the remaining minutes.
East Kilbride v Cowdenbeath
A spirited end to the season – where they lost only once in six games - could not prevent Gary Locke’s Cowdenbeath finishing their League Two season in 10th. As such, they now face Lowland League winners, East Kilbride, to avoid relegation. East Kilbride dominated the Lowland League, winning the title by seven points, and squeezed past Highland League winners, Buckie Thistle, 4-3 in the play-off semi-final.