Championship set for final day melee as nine teams play for future

The second tier's final day free-for-all promises drama at both ends of the table.

Scottish Championship set for final day scramble as nine teams play for future SNS Group

The Scottish Championship is set for a blockbuster finish with nine out of the ten teams still unsure what league they will be playing in next season ahead of the final games.

On Friday the last fixtures from the second tier will take place with first to sixth still fighting for promotion and the bottom three still fearing the drop.

From winner-take-all clashes at the top to squeaky bum time at the bottom, the end of season melee promises to bring the campaign to a thrilling conclusion.

But who will end up where when the dust settles?

Championship coronation

The stakes could not be any higher at Ochilview when Queen’s Park host Dundee.

Either Dundee or Queen's Park will win the Championship on Friday evening. (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

The Spiders know that a win will take them into the top flight for the first time since 1958 and complete three successive promotions since turning professional in 2019.

However, a draw will see the Tayside club return to the Premiership at the first time of asking following relegation at the end of last season and condemn Queen’s – who have played home matches at two separate grounds this season while Lesser Hampden continues to go under major surgery – to the play-off lottery.

Although, who they will face in that case remains up in the air.

Play-off scramble

This is where things get a little complicated.

Behind Queen’s only two points separate the four teams from third to sixth with second to fourth entering the playoff stage.

Third will play fourth in the first playoff game before the winner plays the team that finishes second to earn a shot at the team who finish 11th in the Premiership.

Victory for Caley or Ayr would be enough to secure a play-off place. (Photo by Craig Brown / SNS Group)

Partick Thistle are currently in third place and they play Raith Rovers knowing a point is likely enough to secure their place in the top four.

Thistle can still finish second if they win and Dundee beat Queen’s Park, meaning one less playoff game for the Firhill club.

Ayr United, who are in fourth, travel to the Highlands to play fifth placed Inverness with the winner entering the fight for promotion through the playoffs.

Both sides are currently on 55 points each with the Ayrshire club ahead on goal difference only, but Caley could extend their season even further, adding play-off clashes to their Scottish Cup final appearance with a win.

But a draw in that game would open the door for Greenock Morton to leapfrog both if they beat Cove Rangers at the Balmoral Stadium.

Alternatively, defeat for Thistle in Fife and wins for either Ayr or Inverness and a win for Morton will see the Firhill side drop out of the play-offs altogether.

And the Honest Men could even finish second if they win, Thistle fail to and Queen’s lose by virtue of their superior goal difference.

If that scenario plays out, but Thistle also win, Queen’s could drop as low as fourth.

Caley can also mathematically take advantage in that situation, but would require an enormous swing in goals.

Dundee meanwhile can only finish as low as second if they lose to Queen’s.

Clear as mud.

The drop zone

Three points separate the bottom three of Arbroath, Cove Rangers and Hamilton, with the bottom club being relegated to League One and second bottom coming up against three teams from the third tier to avoid the drop.

At the bottom, eighth placed Arbroath play bottom club Hamilton.

Arbroath remain out of the relegation places for now. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)

A win or draw for Arbroath would guarantee their safety and condemn the Lanarkshire club to League One football next season.

Second bottom Cove can guarantee safety if they win against Morton and Arbroath lose to Hamilton, but a defeat or draw alongside a Hamilton win will see them relegated.

Accies though have a flair for pulling impossible results out of the bag. Back in 2014, their 10-2 win over Morton on the last day would have been enough to see them promoted automatically had Dundee failed to win against Dumbarton.

It was still a record-equalling win for the club, so how about this for a scenario; If Accies repeat those heroics, with an eight-goal victory, and Cove fail to beat Morton, the Lanarkshire side would stay up, and send Arbroath into the relegation play off.

Stranger things have happened.

Spare a thought for Raith

Rovers are the only side whose fate is sealed before Friday. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Carnage at the top, chaos at the bottom, and here are Rovers, stuck in the middle.

They cannot go up. They cannot go down. They cannot go anywhere.

The highest they can finish is seventh. The lowest they can finish is seventh.

Whether Rovers fans would like to be involved in the final day drama or prefer to preserve their fingernails for another day is open to question, although their meeting with Thistle will have permutations at the top of the league in any case.

Still, the Stark’s Park faithful can rest easy knowing they will be playing the second tier next season regardless of results elsewhere.


(All kick-offs 7.45pm)

Cove Rangers v Greenock Morton

Arbroath v Hamilton Academical

Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle

Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Ayr United

Queen’s Park v Dundee

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