The annual April sprint starts on Saturday

Last updated : 01 April 2009 By Firparkcorner

Visits from Aberdeen and St Mirren and a trip to Ibrox will finish off the 33 game section of this season's campaign and the likely outcome is still open to debate. In recent times we have avoided the drama of the late dash to the top half.

In 2007/8 we entered April in a comfortable fourth place with a couple of games in hand over our rivals. A win at Parkhead (Lappin, 1-0) followed by a 4-1 reverse at home in the Celtic back to back fixtures then a 2-2 draw against Dundee United saw us in third place and by the season's end we had a seven point cushion in that position.

2006/7 was a completely different stat of affairs. We ended March in ninth place and with only two games ahead before the cut-off there was no prospect of a top half finish. We lost both matches at Fir Park with 0-1 scores. Kilmarnock and Celtic conspired to move us to tenth, where we were to remain at the end of the season. There was no great concern about relegation as Dunfermline managed to finish the season 13 points behind us.

The last time we were in a top six chase in April was in 2005/6 when we entered the month in eight place. A 2-1 home win over Livingston including a 90th minute scrambled goal from Brian McLean meant that we had to travel to Ibrox needing a win and a slip from Aberdeen to give us an unlikely success. None of the results helped our cause and we finished the race four points behind the Dons.

While the idea of the split continues to spark debate in the football community there's no denying that it can produce some tension for those teams which are involved in the April scramble. This season it could easily go till the last few minutes of game 33 before our fate is decided.