Football finally came home for fans of the Scottish Championship this past weekend. As the 2018/19 league got under way with shocks and surprises across the country.
For many, this season’s Scottish Championship will be the most exciting league in the country. As despite there only being 10 teams, they’re all pretty evenly matched and all of them have some kind of chance of mounting a challenge for promotion. That being said, the opening round of fixtures answered some questions that have been lingering throughout pre-season. So here’s the weekend’s results and what we’ve learned.
Ayr United 2-0 Partick Thistle
What came as a shock for many, was little surprise for some. But this is largely an upset victory for the ‘Honest Men’. Recently relegated Partick fell to a 2-0 defeat away to newly promoted Ayr, but looking at the recent dealings they’ve made, we probably should’ve seen this coming.
Ayr retained most of their squad from last year, many of which were too good for League 1. Prime example is Lawrence Shankland, one of the best strikers in the league who turned down big transfer offers to stay with Ayr, will tear any defence apart this year. Something he did all of last season too.
Partick on the other hand, lost many vital players. And similarly to Inverness last season, look to be struggling to get back on their feet. I have no doubts they’ll be firing fit soon. But for now, they’ll be looking to find their feet in this league. If they continue to look like 2017/18 Inverness, they’ll struggle to mount a promotion run.
As for Ayr, it’s likely they’ll be the surprise package of the season. Whether they’ll be pushing on top 4 is unclear. But they’re definitely going in the right direction. An away trip to Inverness this weekend will give us a better idea, but for now, they’re looking threatening.
Ross County 1-0 Alloa Athletic
Pre-season favourites Ross County left it late, but did manage to get past the new guys in the league, Alloa Athletic.
The highland side can be happy they got off to a better start than others in the league. However, this is s result which is much better to look at for the other 9 teams in the division. This is a team, who have essentially bought out the competition, signing rival players purely off the fact they have the biggest bank balance. They should have romped this game, as they probably will to the league come May. But for now, this is a poor result for them, and should be looking to improve.
As for Alloa, they can take pride in the fact they held their own. They are the most likely to struggle this season, but the part-timers have survived in this league through the Rangers and Hibs years. So they know how to put up a fight. It’s hard to judge them just yet, but perhaps they could provide a shock this year and defy the early branding of relegation favourites. Which would open up the gap for…
Greenock Morton 2-2 Queen Of The South
This was a game of two teams which could struggle this year. Morton lost a lot from last season, and didn’t seem to bring much in to sort it. Admittedly, I expected them to lose this game, but at the same time. They threw away a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes to go. I wasn’t impressed with Morton last year, and this year looks to be nothing different. I’d go as far as saying they’re my relegation favourites.
As for Queens, they have always been a solid championship side in recent years who always seem to be safe. But as mentioned before, this season is the most competitive in years. And they’ll have to be much better to avoid an 8th place finish or worse. Stephen Dobbie’s Magic has to run out eventually, and they don’t seem to have much else to rely on. Could be a solid mid-table season for Queens, but can’t see anything more.
Dundee United 2-3 Dunfermline Athletic
Another year, another United bottle job.
Dunfermline continued their very impressive recent run with another win in the town of Dundee, this time against United. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they could win the league this year.
The pars looked like they could struggle badly after the majority of their squad left for Dundee United or Ross County. But they had the last laugh as they sit above both of them after Week 1. They have an incredibly strong squad and could push County all the way. But they’ll have to avoid another mid-season bottle job like last year.
For Dundee United, they’ve spent big again. And realistically, they need to get promotion this season or they’re in deep trouble. But goin off their recent results, they’re staring at another season of disappointment. They have the quality to do much better, but morale doesn’t seem to have improved. So for now it’s not looking too good.
Falkirk 0-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Falkirk continued from where 2017/18 left off, and fell to a home defeat to Inverness. The early George Oakley strike was all that separated the scoreline, but the result could’ve been much different.
The highlanders ran out deserved winners and dominated the first half. And combined with poor officiating, didn’t seem too threatened. Inverness could be a solid force, with lots of young talent in their ranks. Combine that with the experience of Aaron Doran, Sean Welsh and Carl Tremarco. And they could be impressive all season… IF they solve their weakness at right-back.
As for Falkirk, they have made lots of signings and no sign of improvement. They need to start moving forward or they could be staring another poor season of struggling. They should be good enough to avoid relegation, but with the teams we have this season. You can never know for sure.
What do you make of this? Let us know in the comments below!