Having had my trousers pulled down and my arse skelped by Albion Rovers last week, I’ll try to identify some value to exorcise the demons of Coatbridge. The Championship is arguably weaker after losing last year’s Player of the Year, but there’s still some valid selections to be found in the second tier…
Livingston v Queen of the South
After a fantastic season culminating in a fourth placed finish(but subsequent play-off defeat), what can Queens achieve this season? Having lost Gavin Reilly’s goals to Hearts, gaffer James Fowler has recruited well in signing Ryan Conroy and Kyle Jacobs, trustworthy players at the level. Iain Russell and Derek Lyle continue to score freely, and it would be no surprise to see them add to their six goals in three games already. Livi survived by a bawhair last season, and have started unconvincingly with narrow wins over League Two Clyde and a 3-0 drubbing at Raith last Saturday. Burchill will have them fired up for their first home league fixture, but they lack quality to trouble experienced Championship campaigners Queens. Back them with confidence at 5/4 with McBookie.
Hibernian v Morton
It appears the Scott Allan saga is drawing to a close, having chosen to sign for the best side in the country, rather than the one that finished 14 places below them, and Stubbs will be hoping he can get on with challenging Rangers for the title after a slack start last weekend. There’s no doubting the quality that Hibs have in their ranks, but they often fail to play to anywhere near their potential, resulting in last week’s 2-1 defeat at part time Dumbarton. In front of a home crowd however, the Hibees have a swagger to their play, and should be able to dismiss ‘Ton with goals to spare. Duffy just about managed to get the Greenock men across the League One line, but they have failed to strengthen to the level required to be competitive in this division. An unsettled back four, injuries to key men Tidser and McKeown and a confusing formation that sets out to neither attack or defend, means they could be on the end of a heavy defeat at Easter Road on Saturday. Hibs HT/FT appeals at 1/1 with Coral, but I’ll be having a bit of Paddy Power‘s 13/5 on Hibs minus 2 goals as well as the minus 1 (20/21 Bet365).