The Scottish game from the Borders to the Highlands & Islands and beyond
The enormous stress suffered by those trying to guide a club to Scottish Premier League safety is beginning to show on Messrs Pressley, MacPherson and Calderwood. Aberdeen's dramatic descent down the table had left them facing the gloomy prospect of relegation for the first time in their 107-year history but Mark McGhee's men have virtually guaranteed their own survival by grinding out a 1-0 win over Falkirk at the weekend. Bairns boss Steven Pressley was clearly irked after losing a game of such magnitude with his side rooted to the bottom of the table one point behind Killie and the Buddies. Elvis, as he is known, was all shook up in the post-match press conference, lambasting Aberdeen for their “spoiling tactics” during a tense, scrappy 90 minutes.
“Aberdeen scored early on and proceeded to spoil the game and waste time at every opportunity,” he moaned. The Falkirk boss will, however, have taken some solace from the fact his team's relegation rivals also dropped points. Gus MacPherson, the St Mirren manager, was left fuming after seeing his side throw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with St Johnstone.
Referee Charlie Richmond won't be appearing on MacPherson's Christmas card list this year after awarding the Perth side a controversial penalty in injury time, coolly converted by Paul Sheerin. Kilmarnock manager Jimmy Calderwood will also be enduring a few sleepless nights as his players continue to be plagued by their lack of firepower in attack as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Hamilton.
The Ayrshire side have won once in their last ten matches and need to discover some form in their four remaining matches if they are going to avoid the drop.
The game of the weekend saw Celtic comeback from 2-1 down to defeat Hibernian thanks to late strikes from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Morten Rasmussen.
The win for Neil Lennon's side denied Rangers the chance to wrap up the title during Sunday's visit of Hearts. The Gers ran out 2-0 victors thanks to a Kyle Lafferty header and a Kenny Miller penalty. Walter Smith's men can now secure the title if they beat Hibernian next Sunday – or without kicking a ball should Celtic fail to beat Dundee United earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, United booked their place in next season's Europa League with a 3-2 victory over Motherwell on the bobbly Fir Park pitch.
The Tangerines could still overtake Celtic to finish second and earn an even more lucrative Champions League spot but with an inferior goal difference and a seven-point gap it would take a massive collapse by the Hoops for this to happen.
Scottish Football League Round Up
Inverness Caledonian Thistle all but sealed the First Division title with a 2-0 home win over Dunfermline.
The Highlanders are nine points ahead of Dundee who have three games left to play and an inferior goal difference.
Terry Butcher's men should confirm their return to the top flight next Saturday when they travel to Ayr United and in so doing will become the first club in 11 seasons to win promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.
In the Second Division, Willie Sawyers scored the fastest goal in British football this season as he took only nine seconds to open the scoring for Clyde as they went on to beat Peterhead 3-1.
Stirling Albion appear to have found form at the right time with a 3-1 defeat of Stenhousemuir as leaders Alloa suffered a second successive home defeat at the hands of Dumbarton.
Livingston were finally crowned Third Division champions thanks to a goalless draw with Berwick. Roddy McKenzie's late penalty save ensured the Almondvale side would not spurn a third opportunity to wrap up the title.
It's been a good week for... Steven MacLean. The on-loan Plymouth Argyle striker has failed to live up to expectations since joining Aberdeen but his winner against Falkirk should ensure the Dons remain in the top flight.
It's been a bad week for... Michael Fraser. The Motherwell goalkeeper made two blunders as his side went down 3-2 to Dundee United, although his efforts weren't helped by his club's patchy pitch.
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