Every club in the bottom half of the Premiership now knows their route to safety after the post-split fixtures were released – but can Dundee secure their top-flight status?
The Dark Blues have been handed a tough run of three away ties in their five post-split fixtures but avoid trips to the Highlands with Ross County and Inverness heading to Dens Park.
Dundee’s post-split games are Motherwell (a), Kilmarnock (a), Ross County (h), Inverness CT (h) and Hamilton Accies (a).
So let’s take a look at each of the bottom-six teams, starting with the Dens men:
Rock bottom of the form table at the moment, the Dark Blues have lost their last six league matches and desperately need to break themselves out of the run they’re on. Just a point above the relegation play-off place, Paul Hartley’s men are in dire need of a confidence boost against Hamilton this weekend before heading into the post-split games. Then it’ll be Accies again on the last day of the season at the SuperSeal Stadium – Dundee will hope that’s not a decider for the bottom two.
Bottom of the table and with only one win in 21 league matches, the writing is on the wall for Caley. However, the split gives them the opportunity to hurt the other teams around them and it’ll only take a couple of results to drag themselves back into contention. Four points adrift at this stage of the season is a big gap, though. They kick off the last five games with a Highland derby at Ross County and themselves only have two home games.
The Steelmen have plummeted down the table with just one win in their last 10, conceding 23 in the process. This coming weekend is a huge match for them against Inverness with victory getting them up the table and out of 11th and at the same time extending the gap to the bottom. Motherwell will be hoping a home double-header against Dundee and then Kilmarnock gives them a headstart once we’re into the last five games in their bid to escape trouble.
Dundee face Accies twice before the end of the season, firstly at Dens on Saturday, and can ensure the Lanarkshire outfit stay below them in the table with positive results. Lately, though, Hamilton have been picking up points with five in their last three games pulling them above Motherwell. After the split, though, Accies have two long journeys up to the Highlands with a derby against rivals ‘Well sandwiched between.
It’s been a poor season for Jim McIntyre’s men. With the firepower at their disposal they would have expected to be well out of any relegation fight by now but hover just three points above the play-off spot. With a goalscorer like Liam Boyce – third top scorer in the league with 15 – they’ll fancy their chances of pulling clear of the bottom clubs and with home games lined up against Inverness and Hamilton they should be OK.
Despite the turmoil of signing a whole new team in the summer and then manager Lee Clark leaving, Killie have got themselves into the strongest position of all the bottom six. A five-point gap to Motherwell isn’t nearly enough at this point, though, to have them thinking about next campaign but three home fixtures in their last five will boost their confidence of staying in the division.