Scottish League One ins and outs - Summer 2015

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport
New Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston arrives at East End Park
Allan Johnston is the new Dunfermline manager

Scotland's third tier will start the new season with four new managers in place after a season when Greenock Morton emerged victorious after a close, three-horse race for the title.

The failure of Dunfermline Athletic's full-time squad to live up to their billing as title favourites led to the exit of Jim Jefferies midway through the season, while his successor, John Potter, was replaced with Allan Johnston at the end of the season.

Former Pars assistant Jimmy Nicholl stood down as neighbours Cowdenbeath were relegated from the Championship, with ex-Dunfermline striker Colin Nish being promoted from within as his replacement.

Stranraer's success in challenging for the title led to Stevie Aitken being poached by Championship club Dumbarton, with Brian Reid taking over at Stair Park.

Brechin City's top-four finish helped Ray McKinnon win the top job with Raith Rovers and Darren Dods has swapped his defensive duties with Forfar Athletic for the manager's seat up the road at Glebe Park.

Cowdenbeath's relegation, Dunfermline's failure to even reach the promotion play-offs and Stenhousemuir's escape from relegation after their play-off win has led to the biggest exit of players from their respective squads.

Ayr United, Airdrieonians, Dunfermline, Stranraer and promoted Albion Rovers all appear to have strengthened their squad during the summer.



Key signing: At 34, Kevin McBride was no longer a force at Premiership level, but the midfielder released by Dundee brings with him lots of top-flight experience.

Intriguing arrival: Czech midfielder Nico Sumsky will be looking to prove himself in Scottish football having failed to break into the Hamilton Accies side since joining the Premiership outfit in January and now being sent out on loan.

One that got away: Experienced goalkeeper Andy McNeil has taken a step up to the Championship with Alloa Athletic.

In: Kevin McBride, midfielder (Dundee); David van Zanten, defender (Dumbarton); Sean Crighton, defender (Greenock Morton); Alan Lithgow, defender (Stenhousemuir); David Cox, midfielder (Peterhead); Neil Parry, goalkeeper (Albion Rovers); Caolan McAleer, forward (East Fife); Adam Brown, midfielder (St Mirren). Loan: Nico Sumsky, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Taylor Morgan, forward (Ostersunds); George Hunter, forward (St Johnstone).

Out: Andy McNeil, goalkeeper (Alloa Athletic); Ross Docherty, midfielder (Ayr United); Paddy Boyle, defender (Ayr United); Nathan Blockley, midfielder (Peterhead); Jamie Watson, forward (Annan Athletic); Robert Wilson, defender (Berwick Rangers); Bryan Gilfillan, midfielder; Jack Kirwan, forward; John Boyle, forward; Scott Gray, midfielder. Loan ended: Liam Lindsay, defender (Partick Thistle).

Last season: 5th

Prediction: 3rd. Gary Bollan's side went on an excellent end-of-season run that steered them clear of relegation and, although there have been personnel changes over the summer, they should be challenging at the top rather than bottom this season.

Albion Rovers

Albion Rovers

Key signing: Andy Barrowman has top-flight experience on his travels - Rovers' is the 14th different club shirt he has worn - and the 30-year-old will hope to contribute more than the eight goals he achieved in the same division with Dunfermline Athletic last season.

Intriguing arrival: Having been dismissed as Scotland Under-21 boss last year, former St Mirren manager Billy Stark is Rovers player-boss Darren Young's new assistant, succeeding Sandy Clark, who moved to a similar role with Dunfermline Athletic.

One that got away: Former Patrick Thistle striker Mark McGuigan's 11 goals last season helped Rovers win the League Two title last season, but the 26-year-old will be in opposition this season with Stranraer.

In: Billy Stark, assistant manager; Ross Stewart, goalkeeper (Motherwell); Andrew Barrowman, forward (Dunfermline Athletic); Mark Ferry, midfielder (Stirling Albion); Paul Willis, midfielder (Berwick Rangers); Scott McBride, midfielder (Arbroath); Yamikani Misanjo, forward (Rossvale); Callum McRobbie, forward (Shettleston).

Out: Sandy Clark, assistant manager (Dunfermline Athletic); Mark McGuigan, forward (Stranraer); Neil Parry, goalkeeper (Airdrieonians); Marc McKenzie, forward (Elgin City); Kieran Hughes, goalkeeper (Kilbirnie Ladeside); Ciaran Donnelly, defender (Kilbirnie Ladeside); Jamie Pollock, midfielder (Gartcairn); TJ McCluskey, forward (St Roch's); Scott Chaplain, midfielder (retired); Liam Cusack, forward; Scott Stevenson, midfielder; Martin McGuire, defender; Gary Phillips, midfielder.

Last season: League Two champions (and promotion)

Prediction: 10th. Darren Young led the unfashionable Wee Rovers to only their third league title. Traditionally, lack of resources mean a swift return to the bottom tier and the former Aberdeen and Dunfermline midfielder will struggle to buck that trend.

Ayr United

Ayr United

Key signing: Having only made 10 appearances, mainly as a substitute, last season for Motherwell, Craig Moore has been sent out to gather more first-team experience. He scored seven goals in 12 games for Cowdenbeath in the second tier in 2013 and, now 20, could be a potent force at this level.

Intriguing arrival: Jamie Adams was touted for the big time when he was with Kilmarnock, but the midfielder spent three years out of the game after disappointing spells with Patrick Thistle and St Johnstone. Having rekindled his desire in helping Wigtown & Bladnoch win the South of Scotland League last season, the 27-year-old is back in the senior game.

One that got away: Adam Blakeman helped steer Ayr clear of relegation trouble after arriving from Hyde in January, but the 23-year-old defender has returned to his native England to join Southport in the Conference Premier.

In: Alan Trouten, midfielder (Brechin City); Ross Caldwell, forward (Greenock Morton); Andy Graham, defender (Dumbarton); Greg Fleming, goalkeeper (Stenhousemuir); Gerry McLauchlan, defender (Brechin City); Ross Docherty, midfielder (Airdrieonians); Paddy Boyle, defender (Airdrieonians); Jamie Adams, midfielder (Wigtown & Bladnoch); Kieran Woods, defender (Cumnock). Loan: Jordan Preston, forward (Blackburn Rovers); Craig Moore, forward (Motherwell).

Out: David Hutton, goalkeeper (Dunfermline Athletic); Adam Blakeman, defender (Southport); Craig Beattie, forward (Stirling Albion); Jon Paul McGovern, midfielder (Stirling Albion); Dale Shirkie, forward (Troon); David Robertson, midfielder; Ryan Donnelly, forward; Josh McArthur, defender; Peter McGill, midfielder. Loan ended: Morgyn Neill, defender (Motherwell); Jordan Preston, forward (Blackburn Rovers); Craig Murray, defender (Aberdeen).

Last season: 8th

Prediction: 5th. Ian McCall's side struggled at the end of last season, but he appears to have significantly strengthened the squad he inherited in January.

Brechin City

Brechin City

Key signing: Ross Perry has somewhat lost his way since winning Scotland Under-21 caps with Rangers. After spending the first half of last season with Raith Rovers in the Championship, the 25-year-old headed for Northampton Town but failed to play a single game for the English League Two outfit.

Intriguing arrival: Much was expected of Dene Shields when he won a £100,000 transfer to Sunderland from Raith Rovers back in 2000. Having done the rounds in Scotland's lower leagues, he has been a scoring machine in the Maltese Premier League with Hamrun Spartans then helping Xewikija Tigers win the Gozo First Division.

One that got away: Under manager Ray McKinnon, Brechin were one of the best and most consistent part-time teams in Scotland, but the former Dundee United and Aberdeen midfielder has been enticed to the Championship with Raith Rovers.

In: Darren Dods, manager/defender (Forfar Athletic); Willie Dyer, defender (Dundee); Euan Smith, midfielder (Kilmarnock); Jamie Montgomery, forward (Dundee United); Dene Shields, forward (Xewkija Tigers); Ross Perry, defender (Northampton Town); Jonathan Tiffoney, defender (Alloa Athletic); Craig Johnston, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); James Dale, midfielder (Forfar Athletic); David Weatherston, forward (Stirling Albion); Kevin Buchan, forward (Arbroath).

Out: Ray McKinnon, manager (Raith Rovers); Callum Tapping, midfielder (Queen of the South); Bobby Barr, midfielder (Greenock Morton); Colin Hamilton, defender (Alloa Athletic); Alan Trouten, midfielder (Ayr United); Gerry McLauchlan, defender (Ayr United); Greg Cameron, midfielder (Montrose); Ryan Ferguson, midfielder (Montrose); Ewan McNeil, defender (Berwick Rangers); Steven Jackson, defender; Ben Tough, goalkeeper. Loan ended: Craig Storie, midfielder (Aberdeen).

Last season: 4th

Prediction: 8th. The 40-year-old Darren Dods, who moved from Forfar as player-manager, has his work cut out to keep Brechin challenging for a play-off place with other clubs able to strengthen in comparison.



Key signing: Luke Armstrong is looking to emerge from the shadow of a well-known father - former Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town striker Alun Armstrong. The 19-year-old English striker was picked up by Birmingham City after being released last summer by Championship rivals Boro but found himself again seeking a new club.

Intriguing arrival: At 22, English winger Sam Orritt is a late starter to the senior game having played college football with Limestone College Saints Athletic in South Carolina.

One that got away: Nat Wedderburn began his career with Stoke City before spells with Notts County, Hereford United and Northampton Town and joining the Blue Brazil from Corby Town. The 24-year-old former England Under-19 cap had become a mainstay of Cowden's midfield but has won a step up to the Premiership with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

In: Luke Armstrong, forward (Birmingham City); Mo Yaqub, defender (St Mirren); Greig Spence, forward (Alloa Athletic); Bradley Donaldson, defender (Livingston); Jack Beaumont, midfielder (Livingston); Sam Orritt, midfielder (Limestone College Saints Athletic); Cameron Muirhead, forward (Fife Elite Football Academy). Loan: Gordon Smith, forward (Dumbarton); Andy Murdoch, midfielder (Rangers).

Out: Jimmy Nicholl, manager; Nat Wedderburn, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Robbie Thomson, goalkeeper (Queen of the South); Darren Brownlie, defender (Queen of the South); Lewis Toshney, defender (Raith Rovers); Iain Campbell, defender (Forfar Athletic); Thomas O'Brien, defender (Forfar Athletic); Jon Robertson, midfielder (Stenhousemuir); Craig Johnston, midfielder (Brechin City); Sean Higgins, forward (Clyde); Michael Andrews, goalkeeper; Sammy Stewart, midfielder; Dale Finnie, defender; Aron Lynas, midfielder; Colini Mitchell, midfielder; Jordan Halsman, defender; James Martin, midfielder. Loan: Jack Wright (Musselburgh Athletic); Josh Wilson (St Andrews United); Josh Thomson (St Andrews United); Kyle Mitchell, forward (Penicuik Athletic). Loan ended: John Herron, midfielder (Celtic); Robbie Buchanan, defender (Hearts).

Last season: 10th in Championship (and relegation)

Prediction: 6th. With the departure of the experienced Jimmy Nicholl, Cowdenbeath saved money by promoting striker Colin Nish to player-manager, but will it prove an expensive decision in terms of their promotion hopes?

Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline Athletic

Key signing: The return of 28-year-old English winger Joe Cardle, the former fans favourite at East End Park having spent last season with Ross County in the Premiership, looks to be an astute piece of business.

Intriguing arrival: Winning the third-tier title and the Challenge Cup with Queen of the South got Allan Johnston a move to Kilmarnock, but the wheels came off at Rugby Park. The 41-year-old former Scotland winger will hope to emulate his feat in Dumfries with the Pars.

One that got away: The Pars under-performed last season under Jim Jefferies then John Potter, with the inevitable dismantling of the squad. Of the 18 players released, Ross Millen, the 20-year-old son of former St Mirren defender Andy, arguably had most potential and has stepped up a division with Livingston.

In: Allan Johnston, manager; Sandy Clark, assistant manager (Albion Rovers); Ben Richards-Everton, defender (Partick Thistle); Joe Cardle, midfielder (Ross County); Jason Talbot, defender (Livingston); Callum Fordyce, defender (Livingston); Michael Paton, midfielder (Queen of the South); David Hutton, goalkeeper (Ayr United); Sean Murdoch, goalkeeper (Rochester Rhinos).

Out: Gregor Buchanan, defender (Dumbarton); Kyle McAusland, defender (Alloa Athletic); Ross Millen, defender (Livingston); Andrew Barrowman, forward (Albion Rovers); Andy Stirling, midfielder (Stranraer); Ryan Thomson, midfielder (Stranraer); Allan Smith, forward (Stenhousemuir); Jonathan Page, defender (East Fife); Ryan Goodfellow, goalkeeper (East Fife); Scott Mercer, defender (East Fife); Declan O'Kane, defender (East Fife); Finn Graham, midfielder (Berwick Rangers); Stuart Urquhart, defender; Jim Paterson, defender; Paul George, midfielder; Jamie Wilson, goalkeeper; Alex Whittle, defender; Gavin McMillan, midfielder.

Last season: 7th

Prediction: 1st. After such a disappointing season after starting as promotion favourites last time, Dunfermline should can't afford to make mistakes this seasopn if their full-time status is to be protected - and Allan Johnston has gathered a squad that should give them renewed hope of promotion.

Forfar Athletic

Forfar Athletic

Key signing: Thomas O'Brien suffered relegation with Cowdenbeath last season and the 23-year-old defender will be in opposition to the Blue Brazil this term.

Intriguing arrival: Those Campbell guys can't stay apart and full-back Iain teams up again with dad and Forfar boss Dick after being on loan at Station Park last season from Cowdenbeath.

One that got away: Former Dundee United youth Dale Hilson spent four loan spells at Station Park before a permanent move last summer. His 12 goals last season helped Forfar to the play-offs, but the club having lost out in the final, the 22-year-old made the step up anyway by switching to Queen of the South.

In: Omar Kader, forward (Forfar Athletic); Iain Campbell, defender (Cowdenbeath); Thomas O'Brien, defender (Cowdenbeath); Bryan Hodge, midfielder (Stenhousemuir); Kevin Nicoll, midfielder (Arbroath). Loan: Lewis Allan, forward (Hibernian), Andrew Black, defender (Dundee)

Out: Dale Hilson, forward, (Queen of the South); Darren Dods, defender (Brechin City); James Dale, midfielder (Brechin City); Stuart Malcolm, defender (Stenhousemuir); Andrew Steeves, midfielder (Montrose); Stephen Husband, midfielder (Kelty Hearts); Paul McLellan, midfielder (Broughty Ferry). Loan: Gavin Malin, midfielder (Montrose).

Last season: 3rd

Prediction: 4th. Dick Campbell came so close to first leading his side to the title and then winning the play-off against Alloa Athletic. The 61-year-old will need all his experience to keep his part-timers up there challenging again.



Key signing: Shane Sutherland broke into the Inverness Caledonian Thistle first-team squad at a young age but has spent the last two seasons with Elgin City in League Two. He will be looking to match the 14 goals last season that helped him win a step back up a division.

Intriguing arrival: Former Peterhead ball-boy Marc Lawrence is only 16 but goes straight into the first-team squad having made three appearances last season as a trialist while the midfielder was also playing for Lewis United Under-17s.

One that got away: Former Kilmarnock, Oldham Athletic, Aberdeen, Patrick Thistle and Morecambe midfielder Gary McDonald scored seven goals in 15 appearances for Peterhead after his release by St Johnstone in February. However, the 33-year-old departed the Blue Toon at the end of the season.

In: Kevin Dzierzawski, midfielder (Queen of the South); Nathan Blockley, midfielder (Airdrieonians); Shane Sutherland, forward (Elgin City); Leighton McIntosh, forward (Montrose); Marc Lawrence (Lewis United Juveniles). Loan: Ally Gilchrist, defender (St Johnstone); Cammy Kerr, defender (Dundee).

Out: David Cox, midfielder (Airdrieonians); Reece Donaldson, defender (East Stirlingshire); Ross Smith, defender (Stirling Albion); Dean Cowie, midfielder (Fraserburgh); Gary McDonald, midfielder; Ryan McCann, midfielder; Fraser McLaren, midfielder; Dean Richardson, defender. Loan: Ryan Baptie, defender (Linlithgow Rose).

Last season: 6th

Prediction: 7th. Jim McInally's team should again be a fairly safe mid-table bet.



Key signing: After spending most of his career in Scotland's second tier and having been a regular starter with Dumbarton last season, 30-year-old winger Mark Gilhaney should be a quality performer a division below.

Intriguing arrival: Former Motherwell and Clyde defender Euan Murray, 21, returns home after becoming the first Scot to play in the Solomon Islands, signing for Western Union for their Oceania Champions League campaign. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Spanish midfielder Carlos Mazana Martinez, who played regional football in his homeland with CD Tedeon, has won a contract after coming to Scotland to study at Glasgow University.

One that got away: Paul McMullan looked a class above the rest as he helped Stenny avoid relegation via the play-offs while on loan from Celtic, but the diminutive 19-year-old winger has this season been farmed out to St Mirren in the Championship.

In: Mark Gilhaney, midfielder (Dumbarton); Stuart Malcolm, defender (Forfar Athletic); Jon Robertson, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Stephen Stirling, midfielder (Stranraer); Allan Smith, forward (Dunfermline Athletic); Jon McShane, forward (East Fife); Alan Cook, midfielder (East Fife); Jamie Barclay, goalkeeper (Clyde); Euan Murray, midfielder (Western United); Carlos Mazana Martinez, midfielder (Glasgow University). Loan: Liam Henderson, defender (Hearts).

Out: Greg Fleming, goalkeeper (Ayr United); Bryan Hodge, midfielder (Forfar Athletic); Alan Lithgow, defender (Airdrieonians); Craig Sutherland, forward (East Fife); Chris Smith, goalkeeper (Stirling Albion); Ross McMillan, defender (Stirling Albion); Martin Grehan, forward (Arbroath); Kristopher Faulds, midfielder (East Stirlingshire); Pedro Moutinho, forward (Bo'ness United); Stewart Greacen, defender (retired); Paul Sludden, forward; Kai Wilson, defender; Robbie Duncan, defender; Gregor Fotheringham, midfielder; Lee Gallacher, midfielder; Joshua Watt, midfielder; Ryan Millar, forward. Loan ended: Paul McMullan, forward (Celtic).

Last season: 9th

Prediction: 9th. Brown Ferguson has strengthened his squad over the summer, but so have Stenny's rivals and they will do well to avoid another relegation battle.



Key signing: Paul Cairney was a regular starter with Patrick Thistle - then in the top flight with Hibernian. But, having failed to make an impression with Kilmarnock, the 27-year-old midfielder moves down two divisions.

Intriguing arrival: After a couple of loan spells with Albion Rovers from Patrick Thistle, Mark McGuigan scored 11 goals in helping the Coatbridge outfit win League Two last season after making the switch permanent.

One that got away: Goalkeeper David Mitchell has made the step up to the Premiership with Dundee at the age of 25 after six seasons with Stranraer.

In: Brian Reid, manager; Lee Mair, defender/assistant manager (Dumbarton); Paul Cairney, midfielder (Kilmarnock); Dale Keenan, defender (Partick Thistle); Max Currie, goalkeeper (Motherwell); Andy Stirling, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Ryan Thomson, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Mark McGuigan, forward (Albion Rovers); David Barron, defender (Greenock Juniors). Loan: Conor Brennan, goalkeeper (Kilmarnock); David McGurn, goalkeeper (Raith Rovers).

Out: Stephen Aitken, manager (Dumbarton); David Mitchell, goalkeeper (Dundee); Willie Gibson, midfielder (Dumbarton); Jackson Longridge, defender (Livingston); Grant Gallagher, defender (Dumbarton); Frank McKeown, defender (Greenock Morton); Stephen Stirling, midfielder (Stenhousemuir); Sean Winter, midfielder (East Kilbride Thistle); Barry Russell, defender (East Kilbride Thistle); Daniel Tobin, goalkeeper (Irvine Meadow); Adam Forde, forward (Kilbirnie Ladeside). Loan ended: Jon McShane, forward (East Fife).

Last season: 2nd

Prediction: 2nd. New manager Brian Reid if anything appears to have strengthened a squad that came close to winning the title last season under Stephen Aitken.

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