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2019/20 Scottish League One Preview

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hislopsoffsideagain

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In League One, we inevitably find a handful of full-time teams who really shouldn't be down here, and a bunch of battle-hardened part-time clubs who look forward to knocking them off their f****** perch.

And often they succeed, as shown last year when Arbroath won the division. It was another part-time side, Forfar, who came second. But it would be a huge shock if a full time side *cough* Falkirk *cough* didn't win it this time.

And the trouble with being part-time is that squads are often pretty small which means lack of options if injuries mount up or players lose confidence, and things can go wrong very quickly.

Here's the runners and riders...

AIRDRIEONIANS
Airdrie have returned to a mostly full-time setup for this season; the last time they did this they ran into all sorts of problems but this time round they have a steadier ship. Ian Murray has basically revamped the entire squad but on paper it certainly looks strong enough to challenge at the right end. Calum Gallagher and Ally Roy should provide plenty of goals.


CLYDE
Cumbernauld's finest are back at this level for the first time in nine years and their best hope of staying here is of course David Goodwillie. Danny Lennon is an accomplished manager at this level and has looked to improve supply to his star man by signing Chris Johnston and Darren Smith. They'll fancy their chances of making the step up.


DUMBARTON
Looked to be in a bit of a crisis early in the summer due to uncertainty about budget and whether Jim Duffy was staying. This seems settled now but has left them playing catchup, never a good thing. However Duffy has a great reputation for developing young players and has also grabbed a gem or two; Joe McKee should stroll this league.


EAST FIFE
Collapsed at the end of last season when seemingly certain to make the playoffs. Their League Cup form has been good though so hopefully that was just a blip. Crucially they've retained impressive striker Anton Dowds and brought back Chris Duggan to partner him. You could imagine them getting into the top four...and you could imagine them getting into the bottom four too.


FALKIRK
It's embarrassing they're down in this league and they look determined to steamroll it. Cammy Bell, Michael Tidser, Denny Johnstone, Connor Sammon, Declan McManus...just some of the players who have signed for the Bairns this season. Anything other than top spot by a country mile would seem an a massive letdown.


FORFAR ATHLETIC
Came on leaps and bounds under Jim Weir last season but repeating second place will be tough with Dylan Easton and Thomas Reilly having followed the money to Kelty Hearts and John Baird having retired to Australia. Ross Forbes, Jordan Kirkpatrick and Andy Jackson look like great signings though and they are still one of the division's better teams.


MONTROSE
Stewart Petrie should get far more credit for turning these perennial losers into League Two winners and then the fourth best team in League One. It'll be hard to make it stick as other sides try and improve, but attracting Kerr Waddell and Cammy Ballantyne to the club shows just how far they've come. Again, underestimate them at your peril.


PETERHEAD
Back up after a two year absence and they're always dangerous because of Rory McAllister's goals. They did well to attract the highly thought of Aidan Smith, Scott Hooper and Gary Fraser in the summer. Having made the League One promotion playoffs earlier in Jim McInally' long reign they will have aspirations to do so again.


RAITH ROVERS
Somehow failed to win this division last year or the year before despite having the biggest budget...and this season will be tougher because of Falkirk's presence. Their League Cup form has been poor too. John McGlynn has tried to refresh the squad and look out for striker Lewis Allan and midfielder Regan Hendry to impress.


STRANRAER
They've done remarkably well to stay afloat despite gradual costcutting in the last few years but it gets harder each time. Grant Gallagher, Ryan Thomson and Scott Robertson return to the club after periods away but they'll need Mark Stewart to roll back the years and score plenty if they are to stay up again.


So this is my prediction of how it'll finish:

1. FALKIRK

2. RAITH ROVERS
3. AIRDRIEONIANS
4. FORFAR ATHLETIC

5. DUMBARTON
6. MONTROSE
7. EAST FIFE
8. PETERHEAD

9. CLYDE

10. STRANRAER


Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.

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