The season has only just passed the turn of the year, but already it has been infused by the tension traditionally associated with the final straight.

On Saturday that appeared to take its toll on those with aspirations of earning promotion to the SPFL Premiership this season.

On a day replete with unexpected results, none of the sides which started the day in the top half of the Championship table managed to secure a victory. That included leaders Dundee, who succumbed at home against Livingston.

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It was a strangely lethargic display from the Dens Park side and they squandered two good chances to at least claim a point - Ryan Conroy and Declan Gallagher failing to show sufficient ruthlessness in front of goal. They will be required to improve when second-place Hamilton Academical visit on Saturday. "We know we can't afford many more performances like this," said John Brown, the Dundee manager.

He would find some consolation in the scoreline in Falkirk, where the home side held Hamilton to a goalless draw. There would be frustration on the road for Alloa Athletic, too, since they have now dropped out of the top-five places following a 3-1 defeat away to Queen of the South.

Michael Paton, Gavin Reilly and Derek Lyle gave the Dumfries side a formidable lead, before Ross Caldwell - who is on loan from Hibernian - scored a consolation. "I just want to play," he said. "If that means dropping a division to get game time then so be it."

Cowdenbeath have not yet resolved themselves to such a fate, although the gap between the Fife side and bottom club Morton has been cut to eight points after the former lost to Dumbarton on Saturday. The decisive goal was scored by

Both clubs remain wary of faltering towards League 1, where Dunfermline Athletic twice came from behind to end the 11-match unbeaten run of Stranraer and consolidate second place in the table. The decisive goal was scored by Lawrence Shankland, who signed on loan from Aberdeen during the week.

Ayr United are also among the promotion play-off places after a win over Airdrieonians, a side which remains rooted to the bottom of the table.

Berwick Rangers remain in an inauspicious position in League 2 - defeat by Annan Athletic leaving them in eighth place - and the Shielfield Park side last night sacked manager Ian Little. They will join league rivals Queen's Park in looking for a new manager, with the Glasgow side losing on Saturday to Stirling Albion.