Andy Harrow of The Terrace Scottish football podcast picks four games to look out for in the SPFL this weekend.
Ross County v Inverness Caley Thistle – Ladbrokes Premiership
Ross County and Inverness will see Friday’s BT Sport-televised derby as a chance to improve their own survival chances, while also delivering a major blow to their local rivals. An ICT win could move them to within four points of safety but they will have to improve on a run of one victory in 22 games. County, meanwhile, will be looking to pull further away from the play-off spot – they are currently three points ahead of Dundee.
Last encounter: Inverness CT 1-1 Ross County
You don’t have to go too far back for the last Highland derby - this draw in March lifted Inverness off the bottom of the table at Hamilton’s expense. Greg Tansey’s deflected effort put the home side in the driving seat just after half-time and it looked like they would hold on for a vital three points until Alex Schalk’s coolly-finished equaliser with four minutes remaining.
St Mirren v Raith Rovers – Ladbrokes Championship
As the fixtures have come and gone, this match has begun to loom ever larger in both sides’ calendars and now it’s here. St Mirren’s impressive form since January has given them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop but one win in the last four means they occupy the play-off spot. A win is crucial ahead of a final game away to champions Hibernian. For Raith, they know a victory will practically ensure safety, even if Ayr win, but can they pick themselves up after the heartbreak of a last-gasp defeat to Hibs on Wednesday night?
Last encounter: Raith Rovers 2-0 St Mirren
A former player came back to haunt the Buddies at Stark’s Park in a March midweek as on-loan Rangers forward Ryan Hardie hit a late brace to give Rovers the points. Hardie had spent the first half of the season in Paisley, where he netted only three goals. Come January, he left the Buddies and moved back to Fife, where he had ended the 2015/16 campaign. Hardie has scored seven goals since January, including the two in this game which halted Raith’s 17-game winless streak.
East Fife v Airdrieonians – Ladbrokes League 1
Four teams – between third and sixth – are currently separated only by goal difference in a remarkable League 1 promotion play-off race. East Fife, the only side of the four with a positive goal difference, sit third but they face fifth-placed Airdrie on Saturday with everything still at stake. The Methil men halted a six-game winless run away to Albion Rovers last weekend, while Airdrie have lost the last two, against Stranraer and Alloa.
Last encounter: Airdrieonians 2-2 East Fife
Jack Leitch’s last-minute goal rescued a point for the Lanarkshire outfit against the in-form Fifers. Andy Ryan put the home side ahead after 26 minutes but Jason Kerr headed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Ross Brown doubled the visitors’ tally with 15 minutes remaining and it looked like they would add to their five consecutive league wins before Leitch’s last gasp strike.
Cowdenbeath v Forfar Athletic – Ladbrokes League 2
First and last could be decided at Central Park on Saturday. If Forfar win and Arbroath lose, the Loons will become League 2 champions, while a defeat for Cowdenbeath and a draw between Clyde and Berwick would see the Fifers face the relegation play-offs. A win for the Blue Brazil could, however, move them off the bottom and a Forfar defeat could put Arbroath in the title driving seat going into the last weekend. Keep a calculator handy to work out the permutations over the 90 minutes!
Last encounter: Forfar Athletic 3-1 Cowdenbeath
Despite taking the lead, Cowdenbeath succumbed to three second-half goals at Station Park as Forfar took the points. Dale Carrick had put the visitors ahead but Josh Peters, Thomas O’Brien and Lewis Milne swung the game in the league leaders’ favour. For the Blue Brazil, it would become the third of a seven-game losing streak.