SCOTTISH football bible Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) returns with his view on the best bet north of the border this weekend.
Elgin v Stirling Albion | Saturday 15.00
Football is a game that tends to lend itself to clichés. Whether it’s a “game of two halves”, “for a big lad, he’s good with his feet” or “at the end of the day”, we all know ‘em – and I bet a few of us even use them (I accept that, on occasion, I may well have been guilty of this!).
Another cliché that has become commonly accepted in the modern game is that a certain ground is a “tough place to go”. The thing about clichés, though, is that there is usually some sort of underlying truth to them. A fine example of this point appears to be Elgin City and Borough Briggs.
Firstly, Elgin IS a tough place to go to – literally. It’s especially difficult to go to if you play your football in the bottom tier of Scottish football and you have to spend most of your morning crammed onto a wee bus for hours on end before you finally reach Borough Briggs and the match gets underway.
That’s the trip that Stirling Albion’s players will most likely face before their League Two clash against Jim Weir’s side on Saturday afternoon.
The difficulty in getting to Elgin may well be a contributory factor in City’s home form, for the league leaders have won seven and drawn two of their nine league matches on home soil thus far this term.
This weekend, Jim Weir’s men look to be hugely appealing at 11/10 (Ladbrokes) to pick up all three points when they go toe-to-toe with Stirling Albion at Borough Briggs.
Striker Craig Gunn is a phenomenon in this division, having scored 15 goals in 20 league appearances for City already this term and I’m expecting the 28-year-old to be the star of the show again this weekend.
Stirling Albion won plenty of plaudits last weekend – and rightly so. They battled their way to a hard-fought goalless draw against Premiership side Inverness Caledonian Thistle last weekend to earn a replay at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium next week – with the match to be broadcast live on television.
I wonder, though, whether last week’s efforts will take their toll on Stuart McLaren’s men – and who could honestly blame them if they were to have one eye on that upcoming replay against the Scottish Cup holders?
Elgin, meanwhile, were piling up points as they claimed an impressive 3-2 win over Arbroath at Gayfield – a result that means that Jim Weir’s side have now gone five matches without defeat.
Stirling Albion ran out as 3-1 winners when these sides met at Forthbank last month, but I’m expecting a very different match at Borough Briggs on Saturday. After all, Elgin is a very difficult place to go to, you know…
Elgin v Stirling Albion – Elgin to win (11/10 Ladbrokes)
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