Scottish League One ins and outs - summer 2014

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland Sport
Morton manager Jim Duffy

Scottish League One's lucrative season with Rangers on board hasn't translated into clubs filtering the money into the transfer market this summer.

But, while the turnstiles won't be spinning quite so often and television interest will all but disappear, the title race itself will almost certainly be more competitive.

Relegated Greenock Morton and last year's runners-up, Dunfermline Athletic, who missed out on promotion after a play-off defeat in May, must start as favourites down to their full-time status.

New Morton manager Jim Duffy has laid down the gauntlet to his opponents with the addition of several players with top-flight experience, including Conor Pepper, the midfielder who exited Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and striker Andrew Barrowman, who has switched to Cappielow from Livingston along with playmaker David Robertson.

Callum Morris
Callum Morris has left Dunfermline Athletic for Dundee United

Morton and Dunfermline are among the clubs to have raided Airdrieonians, who have lost a fair chunk of the squad that lifted them from the bottom of the table to within a whisker of qualifying for the promotion play-offs with a late rally.

Serbian Stefan Milojevic Bjekovic has headed for Greenock, while fellow defender Gregor Buchanan has been snapped up by the Pars, who have also cherry picked striker Michael Moffat from Ayr United and midfielder Andy Stirling from Stranraer - two of League One's best performers last term - to supplement a young squad manager Jim Jefferies hopes will blossom further in the coming season.

Defender Callum Morris, who switched from Dunfermline to Dundee United, is the only player from last season's League One to have been talent-hunted by a Premiership club, which is perhaps indicative of the workmanlike quality of the players on show.

Airdrieonians will be a force if manager Gary Bollan's experienced replacements can help recreate the form that led to only one defeat in their last 16 games.

Stenhousemuir and Forfar Athletic have also been busy adding some experienced professionals to their ranks, while promoted Stirling Albion have been busier than League Two champions Peterhead so far.

However, below Morton and Dunfermline, any of the other eight could either challenge for a promotion play-off place or be dragged into a relegation battle.


Airdrie United

Key signing: David Proctor, 30, has plenty of top-flight experience with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and has returned from a spell in the North American Soccer League with Edmonton.

One that got away: Much of Airdrie's defence has been plundered, with goalkeeper Grant Adam heading to the Premiership with promoted Dundee, while 17-year-old forward Liam Coogans was sold to Huddersfield Town.

Last season: 6th

Prediction: 10th. Gary Bollan pulled off a great escape act to guide the Diamonds clear of relegation last season but has lost many of his star men.

In: David Proctor, defender (Edmonton); David Andy McNeil, goalkeeper (Waibop United); Bryan Prunty, forward (Dumbarton); Joe Hamill, midfielder (Formartine United); Marc Fitzpatrick, defender (Greenock Morton); Jack Kirwan, forward (Celtic); Scott Gray, midfielder (St Johnstone); Lucas Birstingl, goalkeeper (Queen's Park); Robert Wilson, defender (Hibernian). Loan: Luca Gasparotto, defender (Rangers); Ben Richards-Everton, defender (Partick Thistle).

Out: Grant Adam, goalkeeper (Dundee); Liam Coogans, forward (Huddersfield Town, undisclosed); Craig Barr, defender (Raith Rovers); Anthony Higgins, forward (Cowdenbeath); Stefan Milojevic Bjekovic, defender (Greenock Morton); Gregor Buchanan, defender (Dunfermline Athletic); Lewis Coult, forward (Stirling Albion); Darren McCormack, defender (Brechin City); Ricky Lamie, defender (Greenock Morton); Chris McCluskey, goalkeeper (Kilbirnie Ladeside); Andrew Duncan, goalkeeper; Grant Evans, defender. Loan ended: Caolan McAleer, midfielder (Partick Thistle); Scott Gallacher, goalkeeper (Rangers); Danny Rogers, goalkeeper (Aberdeen); Ross Gilmour, defender (Dundee United).

Ayr United

Ayr United

Key signing: Ayr manager Mark Roberts will hope that 33-year-old former Republic of Ireland and Carlisle United defender Peter Murphy can provide the on-field leadership needed to turn his side into promotion contenders.

One that got away: Ayr will find it difficult to replace the 27 goals in 39 matches scored by striker Michael Moffat, who switched to League One rivals Dunfermline Athletic.

Last season: 4th

Prediction: 6th. Ayr will struggle to match last season's fourth place unless they can find a goalscorer.

In: Craig Beattie, forward (Zebbug Rangers); Kevin McKinlay, defender (Stenhousemuir); Jon Paul McGovern, midfielder (Derry City); Paul Slane, midfielder (Celtic); Peter Murphy, defender (Celtic Nation); Ryan Donnelly, forward (Albion Rovers); Nicky Devlin, defender (Stenhousemuir).

Out: Michael Moffat, forward (Dunfermline Athletic); Alan Lithgow, defender (Stenhousemuir); Adam Hunter, defender (Arbroath); Anthony Marenghi, midfielder (Stranraer); Craig Malcolm, forward (Stranraer); Jackson Longridge, defender (Stranraer); Kevin Kyle, forward; Gordon Pope, defender. Loan: Ryan Nisbet, forward (Cumnock). Loan ended: Kyle McAusland, defender (Rangers).

Brechin City

Brechin City

Key signing: Brechin manager Ray McKinnon will hope that 21-year-old Callum Tapping's Premiership experience with Hearts will add quality to his midfield.

One that got away: Former Dundee United and Scotland defender Garry Kenneth failed to do enough on his short-term deal at the end of the season to earn a new contract and the 27-year-old has joined junior outfit Carnoustie Panmure.

Last season: 8th

Prediction: 8th. City should just have enough to steer clear of relegation and a Challenge Cup win over Championship outfit Cowdenbeath suggests they could even aim higher.

In: Callum Tapping, midfielder (Hearts); Jamie McCormack, defender (Greenock Morton); Colin Hamilton, defender (Arbroath); Gary Fusco, (Forfar Athletic); Darren McCormack, defender (Airdrieonians). Loan: Kyle McAusland, defender (Rangers); Jamie Masson, midfielder (Aberdeen).

Out: Garry Kenneth, defender (Carnousie Panmure); Jonny Brown, defender; Graham Hay, defender; Steven Robb, midfielder (Montrose); Ewan Moyes, defender (East Fife); Derek Carcary, forward (Annan Athletic); Allan Walker (East Fife); Ross Fisher, defender (Arbroath). Loan ended: Darren Petrie (Dundee United); Andy Ryan, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Calum Antell, goalkeeper (Queen of the South).

Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline Athletic

Key signing: A goal threat was the missing link as Dunfermline fell short of promotion last season and Michael Moffat should provide just that going by the 30-year-old's record with Ayr.

One that got away: English defender Callum Morris was always going to leave after the Pars lost in the play-off final and he has earned his chance in the Premiership with Dundee United. But replacement Gregor Buchanan emerged as a talent with Airdrie last season.

Last season: 2nd

Prediction: 1st. Rangers ran away with the title last season, but this time the Pars have a more even playing field and their blossoming young players could just have enough to overcome a Morton squad skewed heavily with experience.

In: Michael Moffat, forward (Ayr United); Andy Stirling, midfielder (Stranraer); Gregor Buchanan, defender (Airdrieonians); Stuart Urquhart, defender (Coventry City). Loan: Ryan Scully, goalkeeper (Partick Thistle).

Out: Callum Morris, defender (Dundee United); Stephen Husband, midfielder (Forfar Athletic); Craig Dargo, forward (Berwick Rangers); Kerr Young, defender (Berwick Rangers). Loan: Declan O'Kane, defender (Montrose); Jonathan Page, defender (East Fife). Loan ended: Lawrence Shankland, forward (Aberdeen); Jordan Moore, forward (Dundee United).

Forfar Athletic

Forfar Athletic

Key signing: Former Aberdeen and Dunfermline midfielder Derek Young has dropped down a division from Queen of the South and the 34-year-old's experience should be invaluable.

One that got away: At 32 and after a career in Scotland's lower leagues, goalkeeper Darren Hill was a surprise capture for Hamilton Academical as they returned to the top flight.

Last season: 7th

Prediction: 9th. No longer with brother Ian beside him, Forfar boss Dick Campbell could be in for an uncomfortable season.

In: Derek Young, midfielder (Queen of the South); Jim Paterson, defender (Bristol Rovers); Stephen Husband, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Danny Denholm, midfielder (Livingston); Dale Hilson, midfielder (Dundee United); Andrew Steeves, defender (St Johnstone); Aaron James, midfielder (Edinburgh City).

Out: Ian Campbell, assistant manager; Darren Hill, goalkeeper (Hamilton Academical); Iain Campbell, defender (Cowdenbeath); Gary Fusco, (Brechin City); Jamie McCluskey, midfielder (Greenock Morton); Ross Campbell, forward (East Fife); Paul McManus, forward (Arbroath); Bryan Deasley, forward (Montrose); Neil McCabe, midfielder (East Stirlingshire); Marvin Andrews, defender (Elgin); Keith Gibson, midfielder; Mark McCulloch, defender. Loan ended: Dale Hilson, midfielder (Dundee United).

Greenock Morton


Key signing: Former Dunfermline, Inverness and Ross County striker Andrew Barrowman has taken another stop down the divisions after leaving Livingston, but he is still only 29 and his top-flight experience will be a big plus.

One that got away: Dougie Imrie was the one bright spot in a dark season for Morton, but the forward has returned to Hamilton Accies - and to the top flight.

Last season: 12th, Championship

Prediction: 2nd. Jim Duffy has reshaped Morton after the disaster under Kenny Shiels and a host of experienced signings should have the Greenock side challenging for the title.

In: Jim Duffy, manager; Craig McPherson, assistant manager; Conor Pepper, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); David Robertson, midfielder (Livingston); Michael Miller, defender (Celtic); Andrew Barrowman, forward (Livingston); Lee Kilday, defender (Hamilton Academical); Stefan Milojevic Bjekovic, defender (Airdrieonians); Stefan McCluskey, forward (Clyde); Jordan Allan, midfielder (Dundee United); Ricky Lamie, defender (Airdrieonians); Jamie McCluskey, midfielder (Forfar Athletic); Sean Crighton, defender (Elgin City). Loan: Declan McManus, forward (Aberdeen); Robbie Crawford, midfielder (Rangers).

Out: Kenny Shiels, manager; Fouad Bachirou, midfielder (Ostersunds, undisclosed); Dougie Imrie, forward (Hamilton Academical); Archie Campbell, forward (Dumbarton); Scott Taggart, midfielder (Dumbarton); Marc Fitzpatrick, defender (Airdrieonians); Jamie McCormack, defender (Brechin City); Jack Smith, forward (Arbroath). Loan ended: Barrie McKay, midfielder (Rangers); Stuart Findlay, defender (Celtic).



Key signing: It is 11 years since being spotted on a holiday beach led Jamie Stevenson to sign for Real Mallorca. Now 30, the much journeyed midfielder takes a step down a division after helping Cowdenbeath avoid relegation.

One that got away: Peterhead manager Jim McInally has kept most of his title-winning squad together.

Last season: League One champions

Prediction: 3rd. Having won League Two by 13 points, Peterhead could keep up the momentum with a settled squad and finish among the play-off places,

In:Mark Millar, midfielder (Dundee United); Jamie Stevenson, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Reece Donaldson, defender (Raith Rovers).

Out: Ross Smith, defender (Stenhousemuir); Kevin Buchan, forward (Arbroath); Stephen O'Neill, midfielder (Montrose); Conner McGlinchey, defender. Loan ended: Reece Donaldson, defender (Raith Rovers); Ryan McGeever, defender (Falkirk).



Key signing: Former Falkirk striker Paul-Jon Sludden has been given a second chance of senior football after his scoring exploits with Stirling University and the 24-year-old has already opened his account in the League Cup.

One that got away: Former Ross County, Dundee, St Johnstone and Falkirk striker Sean Higgins has taken a step up the ladder again to join Cowdenbeath.

Last season: 5th

Prediction: 7th. Stenhousemuir came close to a promotion play-off place last season and will be around mid-table again this term.

In: Greg Fleming, goalkeeper (Celtic Nation); Ross Meechan, defender (Partick Thistle); Kieran Millar, midfielder (Hamilton Academical); Martin Grehan, forward (Stranraer); Alan Lithgow, defender (Ayr United); Gregor Fotheringham, midfielder (East Fife); Colin McMenamin, forward (Celtic Nation); Ross Smith, defender (Peterhead); Paul-Jon Sludden, forward (Stirling University); Ryan Millar, forward (Stirling University). Loan: Jamie Reid, midfielder (Dundee); Jack Hamilton, goalkeeper (Hearts); Gary Oliver, forward (Hearts); Tom Walsh, midfielder (Rangers).

Out: Sean Higgins, forward (Cowdenbeath); Kevin McKinlay, defender (Ayr United); Nicky Devlin, defender (Ayr United); Darren Smith, midfielder (Stirling Albion); John Gemmell, forward (Albion Rovers); Ross McNeil, forward (Albion Rovers); Paul Brennan, forward (East Stirlingshire). Loan ended: Jack Hamilton, goalkeeper (Hearts); Kris Faulds, midfielder (Falkirk); Ross Smith, defender (Peterhead).

Stirling Albion

Stirling Albion

Key signing: Former Hearts striker Gordon Smith, the 23-year-old having left Raith Rovers, has already made his mark with two goals in a Challenge Cup win over Elgin City.

One that got away: Jordan White's 23 goals helped Stirling win promotion via the play-offs, but they also earned the 22-year-old a switch to Championship outfit Livingston.

Last season: 3rd, League Two

Prediction: 4th. Having won promotion via the back door, Stirling have strengthened significantly and could surprise many and make the play-offs again.

In: Gordon Smith, forward (Raith Rovers); Steven Doris, forward (Dundee); James Creaney, defender (Alloa Athletic); Willie Robertson, midfielder (Alloa Athletic); Lewis Coult, forward (Airdrieonians); Darren Smith, midfielder (Stenhousemuir); Greg Paterson, goalkeeper (East Fife); Craig Wedderburn, defender (St Andrews United).

Out: Jordan White, forward (Livingston); David Weatherston, forward (Alloa Athletic); Alistair Roy, forward (Hearts); David Crawford, goalkeeper (Arbroath); Stephen Day, midfielder (Montrose); Danny Ashe, midfielder (Sauchie); Jamie Bishop, defender; Mick O'Byrne, defender; Mark Ferry, midfielder.



Key signing: Craig Pettigrew has been capped for Scotland - at junior level - and made his name with Auchinleck Talbot. Now, at 27, the defender has been given his chance in the seniors.

One that got away: Mark Docherty won a return to Alloa Athletic in the Championship after the 26-year-old defender's fine season at Stair Park.

Last season: 3rd

Prediction: 5th. Stranraer surprised many by finishing third last season but have lost several of their best players and will find it difficult to repeat the feat.

In: Daniel Tobin, goalkeeper (Raith Rovers); Anthony Marenghi, midfielder (Ayr United); Craig Rumsby, defender (Aberdeen); Barry Russell, defender (Albion Rovers); Craig Pettigrew, defender (Auchinleck Talbot); Sam McCloskey, midfielder (Bonnyton Thistle); Craig Malcolm, forward (Ayr United); Jackson Longridge, defender (Ayr United); Willie Gibson, midfielder (Workington). Loan: Danny Stoney, midfielder (Rangers).

Out: Martin Grehan, forward (Stenhousemuir); Andy Stirling, midfielder (Dunfermline Athletic); Mark Docherty, defender (Alloa Athletic); David McGregor, defender (Queen's Park); Lloyd Kinnaird, defender (East Stirlingshire); Kieron Maxwell, midfielder; Kieren Wood, defender; Ryan Borris, midfielder.

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