Summary of last season – Not very good at all. Brechin should have been so much better last year but they weren’t. They finished just outside the playoff places in 8th place, conceding a huge number of goals in the process. The team and the squad were very unsettled last season and this didn’t help them build any kind of momentum. They were very unlucky with injuries and suspensions but it was a case of Ray McKinnon’s honeymoon period being over. The form and the performances from his first campaign were long gone. Fans would have been left frustrated at the number of comings and goings in the team and the lack of any kind of consistency.
Players in – Callum Tapping (Hearts), Jamie McCormack (Greenock Morton), Colin Hamilton (Arbroath), Gary Fusco (Forfar Athletic), Darren McCormack (Airdrieonians)
Players out – Jonny Brown (Free), Graham Hay (Free), Steven Robb (Montrose), Ewan Moyes (East Fife), Derek Carcary (Annan Athletic), Allan Walker (East Fife), Darren Petrie (End of Loan), Andy Ryan (End of Loan), Calum Antell (End of Loan)
What they still need – For the time being it looks like McKinnon has completed most of his business but this Brechin squad could still do with a couple of additions. At the back a central defender would add depth to the defence and further forward a creative midfielder would provide competition and allow Brechin to change their shape. Brechin suffered badly last year through injuries, suspensions and losing players so the fans will hopefully see a more settled Brechin team this campaign.
Key player(s) – Brechin have one of the best goalkeepers in this division and the importance of a good goalkeeper is sometimes undervalued. Graeme Smith is a well-travelled and very experienced footballer. He is an excellent goalkeeper and a player that will play a vital role for Brechin this coming season. Elsewhere in the squad there are a few important players but one that could turn out to be a standout this year is one of the new signings. Midfielder Callum Tapping arrives from Hearts and he is a player that has undoubted ability. He was never really given a fair crack during his time at Hearts so he will be keen to show people what he can do.
Opinion on Brechin – It is difficult to judge how Brechin might get on this year. They do have quality players in their team and they did under perform last season. However the squad is much changed and Ray McKinnon seemed to struggle last year. Much will depend on how they manage to start the season and if they can stay clear of the injuries and suspensions they experienced during the last campaign. unfortunately for Brechin it looks like the teams around them are just a little more settled and have made more assured signings so it might be a struggle for them in the coming season.
Prediction for this season – 9th
Summary of last season – It was a case of close, but not close enough for Dunfermline last year. They suffered badly with Rangers being in the league as for the majority of the season they were far better than the rest of the teams in the division yet they were far behind Rangers. In the end they made the playoffs having finished 2nd but their performances were poor in the games that could have secured Championship football. Off the park the biggest news for the club was the end of many months of uncertainty with the finances. They managed to secure the future of the club and regardless of their league position this was surely the most important event of last year.
Players in – Michael Moffat (Ayr United), Andy Stirling (Stranraer), Gregor Buchanan (Airdrieonians), Ryan Scully (Loan, Partick Thistle), Gozie Ugwu (Reading)
Players out – Callum Morris (Dundee United), Stephen Husband (Forfar Athletic), Danny Grainger (Carlisle), Craig Dargo (Free), Lawrence Shankland (End of Loan), Jordan Moore (End of Loan)
What they still need – Dunfermline are in a very rare position. Manager Jim Jeffries has managed to assemble a squad that needs very little work. Dunfermline fans can be pleased with the squad they have at their disposal and you only have to look at the in’s and out’s list to see just how settled this team is. Jeffries has brought in a few key additions to the squad but on the whole it is almost the same side from last year which is a luxury that very few teams have.
Key player(s) – There are a few standouts in this Dunfermline side and players that could easily be playing at a higher level. Captain Andy Geggan is one of those. A versatile player who can play at the back or in midfield (midfield is more his position) Geggan is Dunfermline’s captain and one of those players that the side would sorely miss if he wasn’t there. He works incredibly hard for his team and is possibly the best midfielder in the league. Ryan Scully is another who could be playing at a higher level. He has arrived back at Dunfermline on loan from Partick Thistle and a few fans were surprised that he re-signed for the club as the assumption was he would be playing for a Championship team this year. A talented young goalkeeper Scully was a very important player for Dunfermline last season and will be again this year.
Opinion on Dunfermline – There is no doubt that Dunfermline should win this league. Whether or not they will remains to be seen but they have the squad and the setup to win this division. Jeffries will use the disappointment of last year to motivate the squad and the fans as they will feel as though they have unfinished business. The club is a bit more settled and the league is much more open this year so it should play into Dunfermline’s hands. It would be a major disappointment and a failure if they don’t get promoted this season.
Prediction for this season – 1st