South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway teams battle for play-off progress

It is not a region which steals many football headlines.

And yet this weekend it will take centre stage on the Scottish play-off scene.

All three senior sides from Dumfries and Galloway have a shot at promotion from their respective leagues.

Fans face a tense wait to see if they can progress from their first round clashes and leave themselves in with a shout of making it to the Premiership, Championship and League 1 respectively.

Queen of the South

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The Doonhamers travel to Falkirk on Saturday with their hopes of making the leap to the top division of the Scottish game still alive.

The last time they played at that level was the 1963/64 season.

Two goals from striker Bob McHugh gave the Dumfries side a narrow 2-1 lead from the first leg at Palmerston Park on Tuesday night.

"We've got ourselves into the lead and we're delighted with that - that was the aim, to have a lead going to Falkirk," said boss Jim McIntyre.

"But it's only a goal and we know how quickly games can change.

"We've got to go there and make sure that we don't perform like we did in the first half at Palmerston."

A further play-off clash with Hamilton awaits the winner before the prospect of a showdown with either Kilmarnock or Hibs for a place in the Premiership.

Stranraer

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In the south west tip of Scotland, they have a similar advantage to take to Dunfermline for their shot at the Championship.

Stranraer were 2-1 winners at Stair Park on Wednesday and will look to hold on to their lead.

"The tie is in the balance, although we have got our noses in front we have not done anywhere near enough to win the tie," said manager Steve Aitken.

"Dunfermline is a big, big club so we are still the underdogs.

"But we've had that tag all year so maybe one final push in the 90 minutes might get us to a final, you never know."

They last played in the second tier of Scottish football in 2005/06.

Annan Athletic

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A bumper crowd is expected at Galabank on Saturday as Annan Athletic face the toughest task of the three Dumfries and Galloway teams.

They lost out 3-1 to Stirling Albion in their League One play-off first leg.

Manager Jim Chapman described their single goal as "too little, too late" from the team which finished second in the League Two standings.

"Football is a funny game, you have got another 90 minutes," he said.

"If Annan turn up on Saturday, they will give Stirling a better game.

"We have got a chance to come back but it's up to them whether they take it or not."

The Black and Golds have never won promotion since they joined the Scottish league set-up in 2008.

They lost out to Albion Rovers in the play-offs in 2011.

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