DCSIMG

Helicopter at the ready for SPFL Championship race

The most famous helicopter finale to a season came in 2005 when Rangers pipped Celtic. Picture: SNS

The most famous helicopter finale to a season came in 2005 when Rangers pipped Celtic. Picture: SNS

  • by LINDSAY HERRON AND CRAIG P STEWART
 

TITLE rivals Dundee, Hamilton and Falkirk are getting ready for a helicopter Saturday.

The trophy for the first SPFL Championship title will be delivered by chopper as the three sides battle it out for automatic promotion to the top flight.

It’s so tight at the top that operations director Iain Blair will be standing by at Cumbernauld Airport with the trophy.

As the last day of the season approaches, Dundee are in pole position, sitting two points ahead of Hamilton with Falkirk a further point back.

And the Dark Blues will have the backing of a huge support after the entire allocation for home fans at Dens Park sold out yesterday. A dramatic day last weekend when Accies crashed 4-1 to Dumbarton and the Bairns were held by Morton means that Dundee, who comfortably defeated Alloa 3-0, are on the cusp of glory.

In simple terms, if Dundee beat Dumbarton they will be champions. However, a draw will surely be enough as Hamilton would have to beat Morton by eight goals, such is Dundee’s superior goal difference.

Accies will win the crown if they defeat Kenny Shiels’ side and Dundee lose.

However, Falkirk are not out of it and there have been so many twists this season that there could be a dramatic finale.

The Bairns can be champions if they beat Alloa by two goals, Dundee lose and Hamilton fail to win.

An SPFL spokesman said: “It’s so tight that we are going to have to make sure we have all the bases covered.

“We will have representatives at each off the venues – Dens Park, New Douglas Park and the Falkirk Stadium.

“We will keep the trophy at Cumbernauld Airport and then it will be flown to the winning venue.”

A helicopter has been used four times when the Premier title battle has gone down to the wire between Celtic and Rangers in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

And Falkirk technical director Alex Smith has told the club’s fans not to give up hope of clinching the title on Saturday as football can change in less than a mile.

Smith reckons that the final day shoot-out between Manchester City and Manchester United two years ago proves that nothing is decided until the final whistles are blown.

Smith said: “The two Manchester clubs were neck and neck on the final day and United were champions when their game at Sunderland ended in a 1-0 win. At that time I left my house to go to the Scottish Football Writers Association Annual Dinner.”

“By the time I had driven a mile, Manchester City were champions as they scored twice to turn a defeat from Queens Park Rangers into a win. That shows how football can change and that you can never give up.”

The 74-year-old added: “We have to go out with a positive approach and win our game. Things will twist and turn on Saturday, however we can come out on top.”

Cowdenbeath will face a pumped up Queen of the South side on Saturday in their crunch game to avoid the relegation play-offs, despite the Doonhamers being virtually assured of a second crack at promotion.

The Central Park side need to win and hope that Alloa do not triumph at Falkirk to finish the season in the safety of eighth place, but they will not be getting any favours from the Palmerston Park outfit.

Queens manager Jim McIntyre said: “We will not be looking to take things easy as I want us to make sure we book our place in style. Dumbarton are 12 goals behind so we are 90 per cent certain of going for promotion via the play-offs but I will not be one for taking chances.

“We won our last two games in a row and I want us to head into the play-offs with the momentum of three wins in a row. Cowdenbeath have their own reasons for wanting to win but we want to take the three points home with us.”

BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon

THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.

The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.

Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.

A line-up of experts will handle your questions after each BT Sport game. Most match days, the team includes Darrell Currie, Derek Rae and Gary McAllister.

Over this season, BT Sport will air 30 SPFL matches plus 10 Rangers games from the SPFL League One.

• T&C We can not guarantee which presenters will answer your questions. Questions are vetted and no correspondence will be entered into.

 

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