Airdrie, at the start of the season, would have been one of the favourites for promotion, certainly a play-off spot, and adding players like Max Currie and Thomas Robert to an already impressive squad added to that optimism. Having started with a 2-0 home win over Peterhead, Ian Murray’s men slipped to back-to-back defeats for the first time since September 2018, when they lost to promotion rivals Partick Thistle then Dumbarton.
They did bounce back with an impressive 5-0 win over Clyde, with Callum Gallacher and Dale Carrick both netting twice, then a 3-1 victory at Forfar, again Carrick among the goals. Airdrie’s inconsistency this season showed when they failed to win in their next 3 matches and scoring just once, before beating league leaders Falkirk and Clyde away from home. Airdrie currently sit in the play-off spots in 4th and the vital victory over Falkirk means they are 5 points from the Bairns with a game in hand. If they are to challenge for the title, Airdrie must be more consistent especially against the teams below them.
Danny Lennon wasn’t particularly busy in the transfer market before the season started with Jamie Bain from Forfar the only notable signing. However, with players like David Goodwillie, David Mitchell and Ally Love still at the club, Clyde fans would be thinking they would been onto a better season this than last. The Bully Wee started brilliantly with a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle in the league opener but then lost the next 3 to Peterhead, Dumbarton and Airdrie, conceding 8 and failing to score in those 3. One more victory came with a 3-2 win over Montrose with captain Goodwillie scoring a hattrick.
Clyde have suffered the most with call offs this campaign and have played only 8 times, 3 less than most. Should the season restart, Clyde will have to play Saturday, Midweek, Saturday, Midweek for a number of weeks to catch up. Sitting 9th might be a “false” position with 3 games in hand but they will need to make those games count to get away from the bottom end. More importantly, they will need to find goals from somewhere in the team other than Goodwillie.
Cove Rangers’ promotion to League One may not have been a surprise to many, but some may have been surprised with the start they have made to life in League 1. Adding a player like Leighton McIntosh who knows this League having played there for Peterhead as well as young guys like Seb Ross and Adam Livingstone to a solid squad makes Cove real favourites for promotion. Getting off to a blistering start, Paul Hartley led his team to 4 wins in 4, with only 1 goal being conceded.
However, following the completion of the League Cup, Cove lost 4 of their next 5 picking up just 1 point from the game against Airdrie. The home lose to Clyde after being 2-1 up was a hard one and one nobody really would have seen coming. Before the suspension, Cove did get back on the winning trail, although they were in two unconvincing 1-0 wins over Forfar and Peterhead, which helped them back up to 2n place. Much like Clyde, Cove will need to find goals from other parts of the squad as their 15 goals have been scored by just 5 different scores. If Cove can produce the performances they did at the start of the season, they should be up there in contention for the league title.
Having back-to-back 6th place finishes in the last two season’s another mid-table finish looks on the cards for Jim Duffy’s men. Dumbarton lost the spine of their team in the summer with players like Connor Brennan, Isaac Layne, Kyle Hutton and Joe McKee moving on, it would be hard for the Son’s to compete any higher. They did manage to draft in Sam Wardrop, Nat Wedderburn and Denny Johnstone although the later has yet to score for his new side.
Dumbarton did start well, earning 7 points from the first 3 games with 3 clean sheets to boot. That was then followed up by 3 defeats, two of which were against East Fife and Peterhead, with just 1 goal scored. They did manage a surprise win over title contenders Cove Rangers to stop the rot somewhat. Dumbarton are the lowest scorers in the league with just 5 goals in their 9 matches and scoring more than 1 goal just once so far. If they are to avoid a relegation battle, Dumbarton will need to start making those chances count.
Unbeaten at home and lost every game away from home shows exactly where East Fife are. Danny Swanson was the stand out signing for the Bayview side, although the former St Johnstone man hasn’t featured too much this year. Jack Hamilton was a revelation during his loan spell scoring 7 in 9 league games until Livingston recalled him earlier this month. He will be a huge lose to Darren Young’s side and replacing his goals will be critical in maintaining a top half push.
East Fife started off poorly with just one win in the opening 5 matches, but have now won 3 of their last 4 to push them up to 6th in the table. Wins at home against Dumbarton, Airdrie, Forfar and Falkirk shows that Bayview is a tough place for any side to get anything from, so it’ll be the away form that will need to be looked at if the Fifers are to achieve a play-off spot.