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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Ayr can breathe life into their title campaign

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Former St Mirren hitman Lawrence Shankland is doing well for Ayr United
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3pm Saturday

Ayr United can put a huge marker down in the battle for the Ladbrokes League One title by beating leaders Raith Rovers at home.

Ian McCall's free-scoring side have already netted 70 league goals this season and had the boost of getting a midweek rest when their game at Albion Rovers was postponed.

Lawrence Shankland and Craig Moore should be relishing facing the Kirkcaldy men, who have been rocked by three key absentees - Iain Davidson and John Herron are suspended and midfielder Scott Robertson is injured.

Ayr have already cruised to a comfortable win over the Fifers at their Somerset Park home this season and they know a win will move them to within one point of Barry Smith's side with a game in hand.

And they should have enough about them to get three vital points as they try to return to the Ladbrokes Championship at the first time of asking.

Ladbrokes Premiership standings

Ladbrokes Championship standings

Ladbrokes League One standings

Ladbrokes League Two standings

Kilmarnock have been a Ladbrokes Premiership revelation since the arrival of Steve Clarke as manager and should see off a Ross County side under new management.

The Ayrshire team were embroiled in a relegation dogfight when the ex-West Brom boss and former Chelsea and Liverpool number two took over in October.

The transformation has been remarkable and they now look nailed on for a top-six finish.

Kilmarnock are particularly strong at their Rugby Park home where both Celtic and Rangers have been defeated. They have lost just twice since November anywhere - both times to Aberdeen.

Kris Boyd looks like he has turned back the clock and he's well supported by the likes of Eamonn Brophy and Lee Erwin. And in Jordan Jones, they have one of the in-form players in the league.

County and the disastrous Owen Coyle finally parted ways and while that should surely help them, the Dingwall club face an almighty battle to survive under new boss Stuart Kettlewell, who takes charge for the first time.

St Mirren are closing in on winning promotion to the top flight and can take a step nearer the Ladbrokes Premiership by beating Dunfermline in Paisley.

Jack Ross' side have shown signs of fatigue recently after being thrashed at Livingston and squeezing past doomed and winless Brechin City.

But they've had a break to refresh themselves and drew 1-1 with Rangers this week in a closed-doors clash which gave them a runout.

The Pars have gone backwards recently and Saints can win this.

Ayr United
2pts 13-10 general
2pts 21-20 Coral, Ladbrokes
St Mirren
1pt 19-20 Coral, Ladbrokes

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Ayr have already cruised to a comfortable win over the Fifers at their Somerset Park home this season
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