Match Preview: Albion Rovers v St Mirren

St Mirren travel to Coatbridge tonight to take on Albion Rovers in our final Betfred Cup group stage match.

FORM

Saints go into tonight's game on four points having won one, drawn one and lost one of our first three Betfred Cup matches.

The Buddies bounced back from a 3-2 loss at home to Dunfermline to beat Edinburgh City 1-0 at the Simple Digital Arena last Wednesday night.

Oan Djorkaeff's late penalty on his first St Mirren start got Jim Goodwin his first win as Saints manager.

Saints were then held to a frustrating 0-0 draw away to Lowland League side East Kilbride. Following the 90 minutes, East Kilbride picked up the bonus point after winning 6-5 on penalties.

Albion have taken three points from their opening two Betfred Cup matches. They edged out East Kilbride 1-0 at K-Park on match day one thanks to ex-Saint Jordan Stewart's 25th minute goal, but fell to a 6-0 loss away to Dunfermline last week. 

PREVIOUS

The Buddies last faced Albion Rovers in a Challenge Cup tie at Cliftonhill in September 2016.

Saints looked like they were heading for a shock defeat when Albion raced into a 2-0 lead with just 13 minutes played. But three goals in eight minutes from Lewis Morgan, Stephen Mallan and John Sutton put the Buddies in the lead.

Rovers would equalise just two minutes after Sutton had made it 3-2 and the game went to extra-time. Lawrence Shankland's 98th minute header was enough to see St Mirren into the next round with the Buddies reaching the final of the competition that season.

Saints are unbeaten in their last 11 matches against Albion Rovers stretching back to 1971. Since a 2-1 win for Rovers in September 1971, Saints have won 10 and drawn one of those meetings.

WHAT A WIN WOULD MEAN

Only a win would keep up Saints' feint hopes of qualification alive. The Buddies must pick up three points that would see them end the group on seven points. No club has qualified for the next round on seven points since the introduction of the groups let alone won a group with that total. 

However, it could be enough to win group H. For that to happen Dunfermline would have to lose to East Kilbride in their final match, while Edinburgh City would also have lose against Albion Rovers in one of their remaining two matches as two East Kilbride wins would see the Lowland League side top the group on eight points. Are you still with us?

Below is the only set of outcomes from the final four matches that would see St Mirren top the group:

Albion Rovers v St Mirren - St Mirren win
Edinburgh City v East Kilbride - Edinburgh City win
Dunfermline v East Kilbride - East Kilbride win
Albion Rovers v Edinburgh City - Albion Rovers win 

Those results would see Saints top the group on seven points, while Albion, Dunfermline and Edinburgh would end up with six points and East Kilbride with five. It's complicated!

TEAM NEWS

Gary MacKenzie could miss tonight's match after sitting out Saturday's draw with East Kilbride.