Ryan Dow is mobbed by his team-mates as they celebrate his goal, the second  for Dunfermline. Photograph: Bill Murray/SNS

Partick Thistle 0 - 3 Dunfermline: Fifers hold all the aces

In the game of relegation poker this was a resounding victory for stick over twist. These two hugely underperforming sides went into this game without a win in their opening five fixtures and with unhappiness from their fans pouring out on every social media platform. Dunfermline decided to give Stevie Crawford – without a victory in a league game since the beginning of March – another go while Partick took the time-honoured axe to Gary Caldwell’s mostly unhappy tenure. For once patience proved to be a virtue as the Fifers ended up strolling to a dearly craved three points.

Hearts players stand dejected at the halfway line as the penalty shootout slips away from them. Picture: SNS.

Fans vent their fury in Methil but there’s no panic at Hearts

In his time as Scotland manager Jock Stein once said the serious business of qualifying from group stages of any competition required the donning of “working clothes” – the more extravagant stuff could come later. It’s a sentiment Hearts seem to have embraced rather too intently for many of their supporters’ comfort when it comes to the Betfred Cup.

Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon looks dejected at full-time. Pic: SNS/Bruce White

Falkirk 3 - 2 Ross County: Bairns drop to League One despite battling win

They may not be the mighty but it’s still one heck of a fall for Falkirk who were condemned to play in the third tier of Scottish football for the first time in nearly 40 years despite this spirited victory over champions Ross County. Going into this game they knew that salvation wasn’t within their hands, and fate served up the final blow as Alloa, the only club they could realistically overtake to avoid automatic relegation, got the point they needed to slam the door in their faces.

Dunfermline's Tom Beadling challenges Stephen Dobbie. Photograph: Ross MacDonald/SNS Group

Dunfermline 1-0 Queen of the South: Pars resurgence continues

There are remarkable turnarounds and then there is Dunfermline’s transformation from hovering on the brink of a relegation struggle to promotion play-off contenders in the space of three weeks. Four wins – and four clean sheets – on the trot and suddenly it’s all come good for Stevie Crawford’s side. It’s a case study in fine margins as well as the fierce competitiveness of the Championship from top to bottom.

Ayr manager Ian McCall. Pic: Michael Gillen

Dunfermline Athletic 0 - 0 Ayr United: Visitors surrender top spot

Like the festive season itself, this has turned into a time of great expectations for Ayr United. This game was a gentle reminder, however, that not everything that is wished for might turn up – Ian McCall’s well drilled, free scoring side certainly didn’t show up here yesterday and after a poor 90-minute stalemate they meekly surrendered pole position in the Championship promotion race.

Ross County's Stelios Demetriou competes with Andy Geggan. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey

Ayr 3 - 3 Ross County: County peg back leaders in thriller

This was just about football heaven and hell. A glorious game played for long spells in utterly atrocious conditions. If it had been a goalless stalemate everyone might well have left Somerset Park with early stage hypothermia – instead we got total unpredictability, twists and turns, and a feast of goals to warm the senses.

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