'Fresh slate' as Airdrieonians & Partick target top flight

Scottish Premiership Play-off, quarter-final first leg - Airdrieonians v Partick Thistle

Venue: Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie Date: Tue, 7 May Kick-off: 19:45 BST

Coverage: Watch live on BBC Scotland, iPlayer & BBC Sport website, live text online.

Airdrieonians and Partick Thistle will look to draw on memories of the "real excitement" experienced during previous play-off successes as they come face-to-face in the Scottish Premiership quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.

Kris Doolan's Thistle finished fourth in the Championship last season but defeated Queen's Park and Ayr United before losing to Ross County in the final.

Rhys McCabe's hosts are looking to win promotion via play-offs for the second year running after overcoming Falkirk and Hamilton Academical last season despite finishing third in League 1.

Doolan says "a real positivity" has remained among a squad that came so close to a return to the top flight for the first time since 2018 last season.

"We saw last year how exciting the play-offs can be, how cruel they can be I suppose," he told his club website. "The togetherness that was here is still there in abundance. There's a real excitement."

Both sides secured their places in the play-offs with games to spare, with Thistle securing third long before ending the regular season with a 4-1 thumping away to newly crowned champions Dundee United on Friday.

The fourth-placed Diamonds were also already preparing for the play-offs as they lost 2-0 away to a Queen's Park side fighting to avoid relegation.

It leaves McCabe's side without a win in three outings, but the player-manager was still able to see "a few positives" in being able to give fringe players game time and coming through without additional injuries.

"Partick have done similar to us in terms of trying to use their squad, giving some minutes and resting a few players," he told his club website.

However, the player-boss is likely to miss out with a calf injury along with goalkeeper Josh Rae and midfielder Liam McStravick.

Based on his experience last season, McCabe says the best way to view the play-offs is as "a separate competition" full of intensity and one he always felt his side were capable of achieving despite being newly promoted.

Thistle thumped Airdrie 4-0 at Firhill last month as part of a seven-game unbeaten run before Friday's defeat.

They also drew 1-1 at Excelsior Stadium in January after a 2-1 defeat there in August, but both managers view this as "a fresh slate".

Indeed, Airdrie are unbeaten at home in five outings while Thistle have not won in three on the road, with Doolan quite rightly expecting "a tough game" for the right to face runners-up Raith Rovers in the semi-final.

Scottish Championship play-offs

Montrose v Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Having parted company with Forest Green Rovers in July, Duncan Ferguson is in danger of suffering relegation in two consecutive managerial appointments after taking charge of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in September.

His side finished second bottom in the Championship despite ending the season with just one defeat in five outings and a 3-1 win over Greenock Morton on Friday.

Stewart Petrie's Montrose, looking to reach the Championship for the first time, were six without a win before ending their League 1 season with two wins.

That included Saturday's comeback from two behind to beat Queen of the South 3-2 as the part-timers finished fourth.

Alloa Athletic v Hamilton Academical

Having dropped down via the play-offs last season, Hamilton are having to rely on them to go straight back up after finishing 16 points behind unbeaten champions Falkirk.

They themselves were 18 ahead of Tuesday's hosts, Alloa, who they beat 5-3 on aggregate last year before losing to Airdrie in the final.

John Rankin's side head into the semi-final having lost once - to Falkirk - in their last 11 games, including five straight away wins, and on the back of Saturday's 4-1 home win over Kelty Hearts.

That run also included a 1-0 win away to Alloa, but it was Athletic's only defeat in six and they came close to ending Falkirk's unbeaten run on Saturday before relinquishing a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2.

Andy Graham's side are, though, still without a win in their last four home games - not the form they want as they look to end a two-year absence from the second tier.

Scottish League 1 play-offs

The Spartans v Peterhead

The Spartans, who beat Albion Rovers last season after winning the Lowland League, are looking for a second consecutive promotion to reach League 1 for the first time in their history.

Douglas Samuel's side are unbeaten in seven games after finishing third in the fourth tier following Saturday's 2-1 win away to East Fife.

Standing in their way are Peterhead, who finished two points ahead after their own unbeaten run stretched to nine after a winner-take-all 2-1 win over Dumbarton to secure the runners-up spot.

Four consecutive away draws included a 2-2 draw away to Spartans just over a week ago.

However, the Edinburgh side have won three and only lost one of their five meetings this season against the side looking to return to League 1 after just one season under co-managers Jordon Brown and Ryan Strachan.

Dumbarton v Stirling Albion

Stirling, promoted last year, were consigned to the play-offs after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Annan Athletic, who started Saturday's League 1 finale with a better goal difference.

Darren Young's side are unbeaten in three but also have only won once in six.

Hosts Dumbarton are without a win in three and Saturday's 2-1 defeat in Peterhead meant they dropped to fourth in their second successive season in League 2.

However, Stephen Farrell's side remain unbeaten in eight games at home since losing to Rangers in the Scottish Cup.