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Survival fight to death is bloody great to watch.

Byline: SPORTS VIEW FRIDAY Michael Gannon

GLADIATOR was on the telly again the other night. Cracking stuff.

Big Russell Crowe giving it laldy, hacking off heads and limbs with a dirty great sword.

At one point the bold Russ - or Maximus Decimus Meridius - chopped down one of his - rivals and then turned to the crowd.

He roared: "Are you not entertained?" Too bleeding right " they were. It's only a movie of course but there's no denying the fact we all love a right good scrap.

That's why relegation battles have a similar appeal - except with more gore.

The mentality is the same. We love seeing teams fight it out down the bottom, with survival at stake.

It's a blast. Well, it is for those of us who are not involved in them.

So while we sit back and lap up the contest at the bottom of the Premiership, perhaps we should have a bit of sympathy for the sides involved.

There's plenty of them mind you.

Forget about poor St Mirren. They've had Thedagger in the heart. they might be technically still breathing but they ain't getting back up.

Drag them off, feed them to the lions and leave the stage to the sides who are still in the fight.

We all thought that. meant just Motherwell and Ross County. Not any more.

These two have staged better comebacks than you'd find in the dodgiest Hollywood scripts.

County. lost their opening seven games of the season. Jim McIntrye came in and no one seemed to notice as they won just two of the next 17.

Well gave Stuart McCall sleepless nights before he chucked it and Ian Baraclough was tossing and turning after eight winless games to start 2015.

Now the pair of them are alive and kicking - and not just kicking each - other either. Partick Thistle were digging out the holiday brochures a few weeks ago.

A quick glance at the table and they've been replaced with the DIY escape manuals.

Thistle are not even on a bad run. Two wins and a draw was decent form before defeat to Celtic but the Staggies surge and the Well whirlwind have sucked them into the vortex.

Which makes tomorrow's clash between the Jags and Well one of the games of the season.

It's huge. And not in a Sky Sports Super Sunday kind of way when they are trying to talk up Stoke v West Brom and the battle for a top-half finish.

This is a proper big game. The kind of game fans look forward to and dread in equal measure.

Well will know three points at Firhill would be colossal. It would leave a one-point gap between the sides going into the split and you'd have the house on County doing the business against sorry Saints on Monday.

Kilmarnock need to be careful as well. They've got Aberdeen on Sunday and Celtic next midweek.

It's easy to forget that finishing second bottom doesn't actually mean they will go down.

It has almost been. lost in the wash but whoever comes up from the Championship must overhaul the Premiership side.

It's not going to be. that simple. That race is fascinating as well with Rangers and Hibs jostling with Falkirk or Queen of the South in the mix.

It's thrilling stuff and we're in for a gladiatorial fight to the death.

We love a good scrap. That's why relegation battles have a similar appeal

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 10, 2015
Words:575
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