Duncan Ferguson bid to save Inverness from relegation play-off reaches climax as Dundee United set for trophy party

One issue left to be resolved in final round of Scottish Championship fixtures

The cinch Championship season draws to a climax on Friday evening with one matter left to resolve that will determine whether Queen's Park or Inverness Caledonian Thistle secure their place in the division next season.

The other eight clubs have nothing tangible left to play for except perhaps the relatively modest difference in prize money and greater satisfaction of finishing higher up the table. Ayr United, who guaranteed their safety last week with a goalless draw at Partick Thistle, can still finish anywhere between fifth and eighth.

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With the title, promotion play-off, and automatic relegation spots already decided all eyes will be on the battle to avoid finishing ninth and the prospect of facing Montrose in a two-legged play-off next week, the winner of which will then take on either Alloa or Hamilton for the right to play in the Championship next season.

Duncan Ferguson is bidding to save Inverness from relegation to Scottish League One. (Photo by Calum Chittleburgh / SNS Group)Duncan Ferguson is bidding to save Inverness from relegation to Scottish League One. (Photo by Calum Chittleburgh / SNS Group)
Duncan Ferguson is bidding to save Inverness from relegation to Scottish League One. (Photo by Calum Chittleburgh / SNS Group)

Duncan Ferguson was appointed Inverness manager to great fanfare in September with the mandate of keeping the club in the division after they collected just one point from the opening six league matches under Billy Dodds to sit bottom of the table.

One of football's most colourful characters, Ferguson has played and coached at the top level with Everton, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez in the Goodison Park dugout, as well as enjoying two caretaker spells in charge of the Premier League club.

The thought of dropping into the third tier of Scottish football will be a harrowing one for such a titanic figure, particularly as he is bidding to avoid the ignominy of back-to-back relegations in his first two jobs in management, having been unable to save Forest Green Rovers from the drop last season. Ferguson took over in January when the Green Devils were already bottom of League One but won only one of his 18 games in charge before being sacked in July following relegation to League Two.

The 52-year-old has fared slightly better in the Highlands, winning nine of his 29 games in charge to at least ensure they will not finish bottom - Arbroath are already down - but even one more victory may not be enough to spare his side from the dreaded play-off.

Inverness finish the regular season with a home match against Greenock Morton but their fate will truly be decided at Hampden where Queen's Park host an Airdrie side with one, if not both eyes on their promotion play-off quarter-final against Partick next midweek. A win for Queen's Park would guarantee their safety. Draw, and the door opens to Inverness, who can leapfrog them with a win at the Caledonian Stadium. A defeat for the Spiders, and Inverness would only need a point as they would leapfrog Callum Davidson's side on goal difference.

Ferguson’s former club Dundee United will be presented with the league championship trophy at Tannadice having officially clinched the title last week with a goalless draw at Airdrie. That match against Partick is live on BBC Scotland.

Runners-up Raith Rovers conclude at home to already relegated Arbroath before taking a week off to prepare for the Premiership play-off semi-final against either Partick or Airdrie. Ayr United host Dunfermline as Scott Brown aims to finish his first season in charge of the Somerset Park club on a high.



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