Hat Trick Of Meetings
By Alex Horsburgh
Updated Saturday, 9th May 2009
Cowden and the 'Shire start their play-off series today (Saturday) with a schedule coming up that would make Major League Baseball blush. Call the first fixture a dress rehearsal
Whatever the score in the last league match between the clubs today it is still going to be a two-legged play-off for promotion between the Blue Brazil and the most improved team in the SFL, East Stirlingshire.
Dumbarton, despite mathematics that clutch at straws, are 3rd Division champs so it will be Queens Park v Stenhousemuir and Cowden v the 'Shire in the play-off semi final, 1st Leg Wednesday, 2nd Leg next Saturday. On current form a 'Shire v QP final would be the bookies choice probably.
Today's game is certainly a chance for both the 'Shire and the Fifers to suss each other out ahead of their play-off. Cowden could have had the title wrapped up in April but after being 10 points clear at one stage in 2009 with a game in hand they contrived to mostly draw their way to oblivion allowing the Sons in at the death for a title steal.
Ex-Dundee Utd fave Jim McInally has been the talk of Falkirk, in between the majority of the town slagging Yogi Hughes, as he has lifted the joke tag from the town's second club with the help of the enthusiasm generated by 'shire's English benefactor Spencer Fearne. Is he the new Brooks Mileson?
Shire beat Airdrie Utd 3-1 in a closed door friendly on Thursday night as they geared up for 3 back to back meetings with the 'Beath. Falkirk v The Pars is a bit of a derby these days but Cowden and the 'Shire also have previous dating back to the 70's and early 80's when the trickery of Bobby McCulley, and the pint sized forward's goals, robbed Cowden of promotion then a Scottish Cup Quarter Final with Celtic a couple of years later.
Ever since 1981 when 'Shire struck twice late on to win 2-1 at Central Park and earn that tie with the Celts there has been needle down the years when these two minnows meet.
Saturday's final league game is a dress rehearsal for those play-off games but shire maybe want second in Div 3 more than Cowden at the moment and that is certainly at stake this afternoon. Such has been the collapse in recent weeks Danny Lennon's men will want season 08/09 out the way with the play-off semi being looked upon as two matches outside of a desperate end to the regular season.
It is all finely balanced between these two but maybe the final league game will give us a pointer as to who is hungrier for promotion.
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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