Falkirk title decider, Airdrie cup final, pressure on Dundee United, Stenny edge closer - SPFL preview

A look ahead to some big matches taking place in the Scottish lower leagues this weekend

All eyes will be on the Falkirk Stadium this weekend with a potential league title decider and national cup final taking place just 24 hours apart.

John McGlynn's Falkirk are 17 points clear at the top of League One and will wrap up the title with a home victory over already relegated Edinburgh City on Saturday providing second-placed Hamilton Accies fail to defeat Cove Rangers in Aberdeen.

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If either result fails to materialise then it would only be delaying the inevitable – the Bairns are champions elect and are now looking to complete an invincible season after going through the first 29 games of the campaign undefeated. Over 5000 tickets have been sold with Falkirk supporters anticipating a title party after a much longer than anticipated five-year stint in Scotland's third tier – far too long for a club of its stature.

Falkirk manager John McGlynn could be lifting the League One title on Saturday. Pic: Michael GillenFalkirk manager John McGlynn could be lifting the League One title on Saturday. Pic: Michael Gillen
Falkirk manager John McGlynn could be lifting the League One title on Saturday. Pic: Michael Gillen

They face an Edinburgh side whose relegation was confirmed last weekend following a 5-2 defeat by Alloa Athletic. The capital club were handed a six-point deduction in January after failing to pay players and other debtors. Falkirk will rely on Cove doing them a favour if they are to lift the title on Saturday with John Rankin's Accies side recovering from a recent sticky patch to win their last three matches.

It is not the only silverware up for grabs at the Grangemouth venue this weekend with the SPFL Trust Trophy final between Airdrie and Welsh side The New Saints set to take centre stage on Sunday. Rhys McCabe's Diamonds are enjoying a fine season in the Championship, currently occupying the final promotion play-off spot, and will hope to cap it off by lifting the Challenge Cup for the first time since 2008. Their opponents clinched the Welsh Premier Division for the 16th time earlier this month and already dumped Falkirk, Arbroath, East Fife and Hibernian B out of the competition en route to the final.

Elsewhere, the pressure is on Championship leaders Dundee United to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to Dunfermline last weekend when they host Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The Tangerines have their superior goal difference to thank for keeping them top of the table after title rivals Raith Rovers, who are idle this weekend, could only manage a goalless draw with Queen's Park at Hampden last time out. The top two meet at Tannadice next weekend in a powderkeg clash and Jim Goodwin's men will not want to go into that massive match on the back of another setback against a side battling to avoid relegation.

Stenhousemuir will need to wait at least another weekend to clinch the League Two title after losing a late leveller to draw 1-1 with Forfar Athletic at Station Park last Saturday. A win would have been enough for the Warriors to have a shot at sealing top spot this coming Saturday against second-placed Peterhead, but they will now need to wait until they travel to Dumbarton to try and secure the club’s first ever SPFL trophy.

If Gary Naysmith’s side defeat The Blue Toon at Ochilview, the title is all-but won with the visitors then needing to to win all of their remaining six games while Stenny would need to lose all of theirs. Chasing Sons and The Spartans, who could both be on 48 points come end of play on Saturday, would then need to achieve the same feat to overcome the Warriors.



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