Scottish football 2014/2015: Final days

Date: 20th April 2015

THE finale of Scottish football is fast approaching and almost all competitiveness in each of the leagues, well at least at the top end, is gone.

Celtic are comfortably clear in the Premiership now, with Hearts having secured the Championship title weeks ago and last weekend, Albion Rovers secured the League Two title with their win over Clyde.

However, League One is shaping up to have an exciting climax to their campaign. Stranraer, Morton and Forfar are all gunning for the top spot, with Brechin almost guaranteed to take the final play-off spot.

Stranraer vs Morton could quite easily be the title decider this coming weekend. A Stranraer win would rule out Morton’s title bid and take it to the final day of the season, assuming Forfar win their game against Dunfermline.

Aside from the title permutations at the top end of each league, there are the matters of the play-offs. Starting with the Championship (as there is no promotion play-off in the Premiership), Rangers and Hibernian have safely secured their play-off spot and now just have to battle it out for the coveted second-place position. Queen of the South are almost certain to secure the final play-off spot, as Falkirk look to focus on the Scottish Cup Final.

In League One, at the top, the play-off contenders all depend on who is going to guarantee their promotion by winning the league. The two runners-up will have to go through the play-offs along with Brechin City, unless there is a drastic change of fortunes for The City.

League Two has two of its play-off slots decided, with Queens Park and Arbroath mathematically safe from their rivals. However, fourth place in the league is up for grabs, with East Fife, Elgin City, Annan Athletic, Berwick Rangers, East Stirling and Clyde all, technically, in with a shout. As there are so many teams involved in the race for fourth, they do meet before the end of the season so, even after this weekend, several teams may be ruled out.

However, it is at the bottom of each of the leagues where there is still plenty to play for. St Mirren are effectively relegated, barring a miracle. But Motherwell and Ross County are desperate to avoid the relegation play-off match, and are showing form which could drag both Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle into the mix.

With five matches still to play in the Premiership, anything could happen at this stage of the season, especially considering each of these games will be played against each of the other sides in the bottom six of the table.

Then in the Championship, Livingston are refusing to be relegated and Alloa and Cowdenbeath are still struggling to free themselves from the shadow of Mark Burchill’s side. There are only two games left for each of these sides to decide their fate and the Alloa vs Cowdenbeath match on the final game of the season looks as if it could be a tasty proposition.

In League One, Stirling Albion are already relegated but the relegation play-off slot is still to be decided. It’s a straight shoot-out between Ayr United and Stenhousemuir to avoid that trap door.

What is interesting to note here, is that Stirling play both of these sides in their final two games of the season. So despite not actually having the possibility of the play-off spot, they will have a direct impact on Stenny and Ayr’s chances of avoiding the relegation play-offs.

So there we have it, despite their not being as much excitement in terms of title winners and league losers, there’s still plenty to play for in whose season will drag on for a couple more weeks and whose is going to end after their league games have finished.

One thing is for certain, though. Excitement can be found in Scottish football, you just need to look in the right places.

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