ALLOA, Morton, Queen of the South, Falkirk and Partick Thistle. In that order.

This is how the Championship looks from sixth to tenth position. With time sprinting out.

Every one of these teams could finish safe, in the play-off place or in last place which means dropping to League One.

Alloa are part-time. The rest are not and before a ball was kicked would have had hopes, an expectation even, of finishing in the promotion play-off places.

It’s going to be nervous enough over the final two weeks of the season. If only it was just about football.

Stevie Aitken kept Dumbarton in the Championship for two seasons before finally going down a year ago. His club cut costs, the team started slowly and a good manager lost his job. Reality can hurt.

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“All you can do is focus on yourself, win your games and hope results elsewhere go your way,” said Aitken. “It’s terrible for the nerves. I can imagine what is going through the minds of everyone involved.

“When Dumbarton went down, we had to cut back by 25 per cent - and we were part-time. We didn’t have the overheads a full-time club has, which means whoever does get relegated are going to have to cut their budget by 50 per cent - maybe more.

“Players will move on, people will lose their jobs, and getting out of League One right away is no gimme. Just ask Raith Rovers.

“And these are big clubs. I don’t think any of them would have expected to be in so much danger.”

Queen of the South are at home to safe Dunfermline today, rivals Falkirk and Morton face-off, while the big games is at Firhill where Alloa, on 38 points, take on Thistle with 34 and a game in hand.

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“For me, Thistle need to win that,” said Aitken. “Alloa will be fine if they win and that would leave Thistle with three games to win or that might be them. “What I would say is that when you get down to three and four games left, momentum is everything.

“Morton, my old club, and Queen of the South have gone backwards. Finding form during such a bad run isn’t easy. Morton have won in their last 15 games. That’s relegation form.”

Aitken did superbly to keep Dumbarton in that league for so long. He’s full of admiration of the job Jim Goodwin has done at the only part-time club in Scottish football’s second tier.

“I know how challenging it is to go up against full-time clubs when your lads have done ten hours shifts all week and you get them for two training sessions,” said Aitken. “Jim has done a marvellous job and I do hope they stay up.”

It would be a disaster for the likes of Thistle or Queen of the South to be relegated, especially the Glasgow club which three seasons ago finished in the top six of the Premier League.

“I look at the players Thistle have and how they are where they are is a mystery,” admitted Aitken. “I thought it was just a slow start they had, which can happen, but they haven’t got going at all.”