Wednesday 27th September 2017

IT’S already an important enough trip to Livingston for Dumbarton on Saturday.

Win, and they’ll have clawed three points back on another competitor to finish as high as possible in this season’s Championship. They’ll also be guaranteed their best points haul from the first quarter of a league season in any division since 2008/09.

But they’ll also be marking a major milestone in style. It is the centennial stage of a journey where step one was taken at Cappielow in July 2015.

For Saturday will see Stevie Aitken manage Sons in a competitive game for the 100th time.

In this day and age, fewer managers are reaching that milestone – but Stevie is the third of the last four Dumbarton gaffers to achieve it.

As with all of those who do, his journey to the century has had its ups and downs, but at Almondvale on Saturday, the 27th victory of his time in charge would be a fitting way to mark his 100th game.

Queens and Morton most frequent opponents

It is, of course, always a pleasure to see Dumbarton win a match – but in common with every other team, be prepared to do it at the expense of a few shredded nerves.

Saturday’s game against Inverness CT was the 26th time Stevie has managed Sons to a competitive victory.

Perhaps more notably, it was the fifth occasion he has been in charge at home to a team newly-relegated from the SPFL Premiership – and his team has won them all.

Of those 26 victories, 20 have been by a margin of a single goal. Of the six that weren’t, five were against teams who were relegated at the end of the campaign – Raith Rovers twice last season and Alloa three times in 2015/16.

The exception? An evening in April 2016 which has more connections than most to how things are on the playing side today.

It was a 4-2 win over Queen of the South where not only were three of the goals scored by current players (Nade 2, Walsh). At the centre of the Doonhamers’ defence that night was Sons’ current captain Andy Dowie.

The fourth goalscorer that night, Garry Fleming, will be the top scorer for Stevie’s first hundred games, with 17 during that time.

That is unless Christian Nade scores six goals against Livingston – he and Robert Thomson are next in line with 12.

Record by team
Queen of the South104151117
St Mirren8431107
Raith Rovers82331411
Alloa Athletic5311114
Dundee United522165
Ayr United5023814
Dunfermline Athletic5014617
Bonnyrigg Rose201101
East Fife201213
Brechin City110021
Connah’s Quay Nomads110021
Inverness CT110021
Rangers Colts110021
Forfar Athletic101022
Annan Athletic101000
Queen’s Park100101
Note – games which were decided on penalties are recorded as draws. Games which were decided in extra time are recorded with their final score.

Opposite numbers in dugout

St Mirren have made a great start to this season in the Championship, but they, and especially their manager, know what a task they face at the YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium on Saturday, October 14.

As well as Stevie being beaten by a Buddies team only once, he has never been defeated by the current Paisley gaffer, Jack Ross, in five meetings.

The former Sons assistant manager was in opposition for the final three clashes of last season, which resulted in two draws and a win for Dumbarton.

He also managed Alloa twice against Sons, with those games ending 3-1 (Nade hat-trick) and 1-1.

Ross will, though, have a man alongside him who has got the better of Stevie’s Dumbarton team in the past.

As Queen of the South manager, James Fowler won three of the five meetings including a 6-0 defeat for Sons at Palmerston in March 2016. He did, though, lose the other two, including the 4-2 win for Sons mentioned above.

Ross is one of three men to manage two different clubs against Dumbarton during Stevie’s tenure.

Record by opposition manager
Managers in BOLD have managed more than one team against Stevie’s Dumbarton side.
Managers in ITALICS have only ever managed against Stevie’s Dumbarton side as caretaker managers.
Jim Duffy10244711
Peter Houston9135715
Ray MacKinnon92431112
Jack Ross523085
James Fowler5203612
Gary Naysmith511347
Allan Johnston5014617
Alan Stubbs4202711
Neil Lennon401326
Mark Warburton4004113
Gary Locke311154
Alex Rae311133
Paul Hartley3012211
Ian Murray220031
Mark Burchill211032
Danny Lennon210122
David Hopkin2< /td>

Robbie Horn201101
Paddy Connolly110050
John Hughes110040
Jim Thomson110021
Graeme Murty110021
Andy Morrison110021
Darren Dods110021
John Robertson110021
Jim McInally101033
Gary Bollan101022
Gavin Skelton101000
Peter Murphy101000
Jim Chapman100112
Gus MacPherson100101
Brian Reid100101
Lee McCulloch100103
Note – games which were decided on penalties are recorded as draws. Games which were decided in extra time are recorded with their final score.

Other centuries with Sons

As above, Stevie is the third of Dumbarton’s last four managers to make it to 100 competitive games in charge.

And if you’re into omens, then how about this? Ian Murray’s 100th game in charge? Away to Livingston, in March 2015. A 2-1 victory.

Jim Chapman’s centennial game was on the penultimate day of season 2009/10, at home to Arbroath, ending in a 2-0 defeat.

Prior to Chapman, Billy Lamont was the last Dumbarton manager to reach 100 games in a single spell as manager – and he did so twice.

If you read Sons View on a matchday, you’ve actually fairly recently read about the 100th game of his second spell. It was a 3-2 defeat at Hamilton Accies in September 1992.

The 100th match of his first spell was in September 1983 and was a 2-0 victory…away to Meadowbank Thistle – who are, of course, now Livingston.

Sons were promoted at the end of that season as well. We were saying about omens…?

Thanks to The Sons Archive for some of the statistical info in this article.

Andy Galloway

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