St. Mirren lead the way in race for Premiership place

Though the Premiership title-race once again looks non-existent, the lower leagues in Scotland remain highly competitive and entertaining. There are sure to be a few more twists and turns before the end of the season. By Bryce Donaldson. 

Whenever Scottish football is mentioned it is hard not to think of the big teams from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Celtic have dominated the Premiership in recent years, and their successful unbeaten season last year made national headlines.

With Celtic going uncontested for the seventh season in a row, it’s easy to see why some write off Scottish football as predictable and lacklustre. However, this could not be further from the case in the often forgotten, and under-rated, lower leagues.

To the untrained eye the Scottish Championship might look all but over as St. Mirren head the table, eight points ahead of nearest rivals Dundee United, who are in turn seven points ahead of Dunfermline Athletic in third place.

The table hasn’t always looked like this though. The Championship is a highly volatile league with teams rocketing up and crashing down the table on a regular basis.

Perhaps low morale played a part in St. Mirren’s poor start to their campaign after being relegated the previous season. They faced embarrassing defeats to Morton and Dunfermline, as well as League One’s Raith Rovers early on. Since then they have picked themselves up and have found their form, now boasting 15 wins in the league and cementing their place at the top of the table.

Their impressive form has attracted the eye of some Premiership clubs. Earlier this month Lewis Morgan transferred to Celtic, though he was instantly loaned back. We will have to wait and see what effect, if any, the disruption will have on the St. Mirren squad.

Dundee United are facing their second season in the Championship. Similar to last season, a drop in form in January has seen their title challenge temporarily slip. With only two wins in their last five, they are in danger of repeating last season’s mistakes and could face another difficult play-off for the chance to regain Premiership status.

Dunfermline will be hoping to continue their fine form in 2018. After adding goalkeeper Lee Robinson to their ranks this month, they are yet to concede in the league this calendar year. Their next match against league leaders St. Mirren will undoubtedly be a difficult test but a good result for them could shake things up at the top of the table.

After sealing promotion to the Championship last season, Livingston have surprised their competition (and possibly themselves) this year. Being involved in a second promotion bid in as many years will be a test to their physical and mental fitness but the dark horses have attracted new fans to the Toni Macaroni Arena, and are proving they are more than capable of causing an upset.

Queen of the South and Inverness Caledonian Thistle will also be fighting it out for a top four position and play-off space. With teams having played a differing amount of matches it’s near impossible to predict where teams will find themselves in the coming weeks. Currently there are only three points between third and sixth place, but with each team scrambling to get the edge over one another it would be highly surprising if this were the case for much longer.

At the time of writing, the top two teams in League One and League Two are separated by only one point. Promising an interesting run-in to the end of the season filled with unparalleled joy and unbearable heartache.

Though the Premiership once again looks secured, the lower leagues in Scotland remain highly competitive and entertaining. As teams continue to battle it out, there could yet be a few more surprises before the end of the season.

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