Summary of last season – A strange season really. One that started brightly with a lot of promise fell away quite quickly and ended up with a sense of frustration and a missed opportunity. East Stirling finished 8th but could have done so much more if they had carried on their early season form. The season tailed off with the wins and goals drying up towards the end of the campaign. It was announced at the end of the season that manager John Coughlin was to leave and he did so in fairly acrimonious circumstances. He was very outspoken against the club and the lack of ambition shown by those in charge. Leaving he described his time at East Stirling as “a waste’. Unfortunate words and not the kind of atmosphere that new manager Craig Tully wants to be arriving in.
Players in – Richie Barnard (Camelon Juniors), Steven Brisbane (Falkirk), Alan Deans (Dumbarton), Jay Doyle (Hibernian), Ross Gilmour (Dundee United), Connor Greene (Falkirk), Lloyd Kinnaird (Stranraer), Neil McCabe (Forfar Athletic), David McKenna (Stranraer), Paul McMullan (Elgin City), David Niven (Elgin City), Billy Vidler (Raith Rovers)
Players out – Rhys Devlin (Arthurlie), Grant Hay (Free), Michael Herd (Spartans), Ricki Lamie (End of Loan), Scott Maxwell (Berwick Rangers), Jordan McKechnie (Free), Ricky Miller (Free), Ross O’Donoghue (Free), Paul Quinn (Cumnock), Iain Thomson (Spartans), Kevin Turner (Free)
What they still need – What they need is not new players it is consistency. With so many departures and so many arrivals the focus should now be on getting this squad playing together and working together as quickly as possible. It will be difficult but these new players need to get up to speed as soon as they can.
Key player(s) – On paper the best of the summer signings is probably striker David McKenna. He will be under pressure to get most of the goals this year as he leads the line in this new East Stirling side. He does have the ability to do well but he will need the service to help him.
Opinion on East Stirling – Too many changes can result in inconsistency and poor form. The sour taste that was left over from last season might continue in this campaign despite a new manager and a new squad. East Stirling will not finish bottom, but in that same vein they will not be challenging either. Another season of frustration might lie ahead.
Prediction for this season – 8th
Summary of last season – A poor display from a team that had managed to perform pretty well over the past few years. Elgin finished 9th last year and this wasn’t really good enough. A management change halfway through the season didn’t help matters and their erratic form was a theme throughout the year. The departing manager Ross Jack left a team that could score plenty of goals but concede just as many. Arriving as the new manager, Barry Wilson maintained that erratic form and couldn’t do anything to improve matters. A poor season all round.
Players in – Matthew Cooper (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Gordon Finlayson (Ross County), Michael Fraser (Ross County), Daniel Moore (Nairn County)
Players out – Sean Crighton (Greenock Morton), John Gibson (End of loan), Paul Harkins (Montrose), Raymond Jellema (Free), Paul McMullan (East Stirlingshire), David Niven (East Stirlingshire)
What they still need – Last year the Elgin defence was nothing short of horrific. That needs to be addressed this year and the club have made signings with that in mind. The back line could still do with a bit of strengthening but that might happen in January depending on how the season starts.
Key player(s) – With the Elgin defence so poor last year much of the focus this season will be on the goalkeeper and back line. They have signed a good goalkeeper in Michael Fraser and he will be tasked with trying to reduce the goals against column. Fraser will be a key player for this squad in the coming year.
Opinion on Elgin – There is no doubt that the Elgin fans would have been left disappointed and annoyed at their squad last year. A team that was capable of scoring goals aplenty but a team that was more than willing to throw leads away just as easily. The squad does look better on paper but what might hold them back this year is the teams around them have also strengthened. They will perform better this season but probably won’t reach the heights of the playoff spots.
Prediction for this season – 7th