With 21 match-days gone in the Scottish championship we are now over half way through. The season so far has been very eventful and whilst teams have threatened at times to either run away at the top or drift away at the bottom, things are very much up in the air regarding where each team will finish in my May. Predicting how it will all end up may seem like a thankless and crazy task but that isn’t going to stop me. So here it is, my predictions for the finishing positions for each Championship team.
Alloa Athletic. Current position: 8th. My prediction: 7th.
Alloa have had a great season in the championship under Jim Goodwin. The only part time team in the championship have given a great account of themselves. Well organised and difficult to break down as well as being dangerous on the counter attack. This has proved a fruitful combination for the Wasps who are enjoying their return to the championship. Alloa find themselves 6 points clear of the relegation playoffs and a point of 7th. Alloa have picked up very good results in recent weeks with wins over Dundee United and Morton as well as coming back from 2 nil down at East End Park to earn a draw with the Pars. Based on their showing so far I would expect the Wasps to survive comfortably and actually jump up a place into 7th.
Ayr United. Current position: 2nd. My prediction: 3rd.
Ayr United have had a great first half of the season. Flying, with one the most clinical strikers in the country in Lawrence Shankland, United have been there or thereabouts at the top of the championship all season. Great results home and away including a 5-0 victory against Dundee United at Tannadice have helped put the Ayrshire side just 3 points off top spot with a game in hand. However, in recent weeks the wheels have come off for Ayr, with no wins in the last 6 in league and cup, and lots of transfer speculation around the now injured star striker Lawrence Shankland, things have been a bit of slog for the honest men recently and that has been demonstrated by a shock defeat to junior side Auchinleck Talbot on Saturday. I think Ayr will definitely be in the playoffs however with this recent blip and the teams below them gaining on them, I think Ayr will slip down to 3rd.
Dundee United. Current position: 3rd. My prediction: 2nd, (promoted via playoffs).
Dundee United season so far has at times threatened to be another disappointment like the previous 2 in the championship for the Tannadice side. Robbie Neilson took over from Csaba Lazlo and gradually there has been some improvement for United despite still showing signs of inconsistency. United face Ayr this coming Friday night in what is promising to be a huge game. United have picked up in recent weeks and I fancy them to get a positive result at Somerset Park and continue to build on the that result and leapfrog Ayr into 2nd. I also feel this will be the season United finally get out of the championship and win the playoffs.
Dunfermline Athletic. Current position: 7th. My prediction: 6th.
*sigh*. It’s been well documented by me the struggles that the Pars have faced this season. I think that the appointment of Stevie Crawford will be a positive for Dunfermline in the long term however in the short term there could still be some tough times ahead as the manager will need time to put his ideas and style of play across to the players and will also be looking to get new players in. Whilst there is still a chance of the Pars reaching the playoffs I think it is very unlikely as some of the problems under Allan Johnston will take time to repair. I can see the Pars picking up slightly but still just falling short but hopefully the remainder of the season will give Stevie Crawford a decent platform to build on for next season. All that taken into I think the pars will jump up one place to 6th.
Falkirk. Current position: 9th. My prediction: 9th, (relegated via playoffs).
Falkirk this season have been nothing short of woeful and as a Pars fan I can’t help but love it. Some of the duds signed by Paul Hartley will go down as some of the worst players Falkirk fans will ever seen at their club and Ray MacKinnon has had to deal with the aftermath of this. A January clear out has already taken place for the side from Grangemouth but I don’t think this will be enough to save them and despite them slightly picking up I don’t think they will be able to string together the results to escape the relegation and I can see them going down via the playoffs especially with the quality of some of the sides in the league one playoffs.
Greenock Morton. Current position: 6th. My prediction: 8th.
Morton have had a very eventful and up and down season. Having replaced Jim Duffy with Jonathan Johannsson, things haven’t exactly gone to plan for the Ton. The fans of the Cappielow side have been less than impressed with some of the showings in recent weeks and the inconsistency has really cost Morton having gone from beating the league leaders Ross County to suffering a very poor defeat at Alloa, frustration has set in. Wins have been hard to come by in the past couple of months and a damaging shock defeat to East Fife in the cup will only further lower the confidence levels at Cappielow. I think Morton’s struggles will continue between now and the end of the season and I can see an 8th place finish for them.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Current position: 5th. My prediction: 4th.
Scotland’s draw specialists have been there or thereabouts in the race for the playoffs this year. A remarkable 11 draws this season for Caley has proven how hard they are to beat, especially when you consider they have the least amount of losses in the league so far this season. However it would be easy to spin that statistic to show that they have struggled to string wins together. Caley Thistle for me have shown enough so far this season to suggest that a playoff place is a really possibility especially considering they have been consistently around about the playoff spots. A 4th places finish for Caley seems likely to mean, albeit I can see them finishing a good bit behind the top 3.
Partick Thistle. Current position: 10th. My prediction: 10th, (relegated).
Partick Thistle have had a dreadful season and despite attempting to salvage it by replacing Alan Archibald with Gary Caldwell it seems as if the managerial change had made things worse for the Maryhill side. It seems as though large sections of the Thistle support seem to accept that consecutive relegations is a serious possibility. Caldwell has only managed one league victory since taking over in the middle of October and Thistle have shown no real signs of improving. For me they have very little chance of surging now and back to back relegations could soon be a reality.
Queen of the South. Current position: 4th. My prediction: 5th.
Queens have had a very strong season so far. Boosted by the immense attacking talent that is Stephen Dobbie the Dumfries side find themselves in the playoffs at this present moment. Dobbie has been on fire this season and his 18 league goals have been vital for Queens. However despite getting back in amongst the goals during the victory over Ross County it would be fair to say the goals have slightly dried up when comparing his stats to earlier on in the season. For a team so heavily reliant on one player success over the course of a season is difficult to maintain. I do feel that an injury to Dobbie and Queens could be in trouble. I do still think they will have a decent second half to the season but will slip just outside of the playoffs into a 5th places finish.
Ross County. Current position: 1st. My prediction: 1st, (champions).
The current league leaders have been very good this season and rightly so. With the biggest budget in the league County recruited well in the summer and owner Roy McGregor has got the cheque book out again in the January window as he is determined to see his side return to the top flight. County’s squad depth and quality has allowed them to maintain consistent results so far this season and with them continuing to strengthen the squad this season I can see County going up a gear for the remainder of the season and marching on towards a league title and a return to the premiership.