DUNFERMLINE’S emphatic victory last week ought to have restored confidence ahead of a winnable home match with Alloa on Saturday.

The bookmakers agree with the Pars a best price 8/11 (Boylesports), a draw 29/10 (Hills) and the Wasps 9/2 (Bet365). Handicap betting is also available: Dunfermline -1 is 2/1 (Hills), Alloa +1 6/5 (Bet365) and a tie 13/5.

Ideally, it would be preferable to see the Pars back up one good display with another before plunging on but this match-up is about as favourable as it gets. Winning and covering the -1 handicap should be within Athletic’s compass.

Prediction: Dunfermline 2 Alloa 0.

BBC Scotland’s live Championship Friday night match (7.05pm kick-off) features Queen of the South and Dundee, two teams who have had an indifferent start to their campaign. The bookies are struggling to split the sides; the Doonhamers are 7/4 (Skybet), the Dark Blues 17/10 (Hills) and a draw 23/10.

The live top-flight game is the Easter Road contest between Hibernian and Celtic (BT Sport 2, Saturday, 12.30pm). The Hi-Bees have given the Bhoys a run for their money in recent clashes but are 7/1 to emerge victorious; Celtic are 2/5 and a draw 17/4 (Betway).

Rangers entertain Aberdeen in a non-televised Saturday 3pm game and the Gers are 3/10, a draw 9/2 and the Dons 10/1 (Betfair Sportsbook).

Scotland can only improve after their 27-3 drubbing in the first match of the Rugby World Cup but they will need to beat Samoa on Monday (ITV; 11.15am) or their qualification from the pool will be in considerable doubt. The Scots are 1/9 (Hills), Samoa 9/1 (Betway) and a draw 50/1 (Boylesports). So far, only a couple of firms are up with the handicap betting: it is pitched at -16 Scotland with both sides at 10/11 and the tie 16/1.

Elsewhere in the pool the Scots will be hoping Ireland can help them out by defeating Japan on Saturday (ITV; 8.15am) and given that the Irish are 1/12, that favour appears forthcoming. Japan are 9/1 (Betway) and a draw 66/1 (Boylesports). Ireland at -20 or Japan +21 (both at 10/11) are the handicap options.

The most fascinating game in the second round of matches is the Pool D encounter between Wales and Australia on Sunday (ITV; 8.45am). Both sides are expected to make the quarter-finals but an Australian victory may well force a sudden death decider between Wales and Fiji. However, the bookies marginally favour the Welsh to overcome the Aussies; Wales are 4/5, the Wallabies 23/20 (Hills) and a draw 25/1.