After seven long months of waiting, Scottish League One will finally return this weekend, with a shortened and more intense season awaiting.
Last season, which failed to be concluded, saw league positions given on current standings at the time of the league being concluded. This saw Raith Rovers promoted to the Championship and Stranraer relegated to League Two.
Now, with clubs feeling aggrieved that they never got to end the season they started, this league campaign gives an opportunity to bury the demons of Season 19/20.
With that in mind, here are some predictions for the upcoming League One season.
Cove Rangers will be the team to watch
Paul Hartley’s Cove Rangers have rightfully earned a great deal of attention over the past year or so, with an impressive start to life in the SPFL, winning League Two at a canter with 68 points and a +42 goal difference.
The Aberdeen side bring a wealth of lower-league experience including forward Mitch Megginson who ended up as League Two top goal scorer last season, as well as Peterhead legend Rory McAllister. Fraser Fyvie, once of Hibs and Dundee United, is still a player capable of running games from his midfield berth.
Cove Rangers will face a great deal of competition, playing against a higher quality of opposition than last season, but they appear to be on an upward trajectory and will be pushing for play-offs and potentially promotion this season.
Forfar, Dumbarton and Peterhead will fight it out for safety
Whilst all three of these teams have experienced squads, they are all lacking in quality in certain areas, and with competition so fierce in the league’s midtable, it is likely that Forfar, Dumbarton and Peterhead will be left to fight for survival at the bottom of the league.
Forfar, who finished ninth last season and were lucky to avoid a potentially tricky relegation play-off tie, don’t look much better than last campaign. A decent League Cup performance against Hibs will buoy the Loons, but Stuart Malcolm’s side will need to overcome serious defensive issues that have cost them so much in the past.
Dumbarton, may feel aggrieved to be branded relegation candidates, but The Sons have lost striker Isaac Layne to rivals Peterhead, a man who scored eight league goals for the club last season, and have replaced him with perma-crocked Denny Johnstone, whilst again lacking the squad depth of teams higher up the league.
Last but not least, Peterhead, who put in a fantastic performance to beat Premiership side Dundee United, have bags of experience in the likes of Derek Lyle, Simon Ferry and Ryan Conroy. They are severely lacking in defensive depth however, and if that remains the case, a difficult season could be on the cards.
Falkirk will win the league
After last season’s nightmare ending, you could have forgiven Falkirk bosses Lee Miller and David McCracken for rueing missed chances of promotion. Instead the Bairns have recruited well, secured new investment and welcomed back old heroes to the fray.
Whilst the Bairns were dealt a blow in the summer of losing last season’s top goal scorer Declan McManus to bitter rivals Dunfermline, they have added quality in the attacking areas with former Hearts dangerman Aidan Keena signing, as well as the highly rated Anton Dowds, although the former already looks to have picked up a severe injury. Blair Alston will also prove to be an important signing for The Bairns.
Falkirk will need to add more depth in defensive areas, but they still should have enough to see off promotion rivals Partick Thistle, especially given their year experience of playing in the division.
Predicted League Table
- Partick Thistle
- Cove Rangers
- East Fife
Top Goalscorer: David Goodwillie (Clyde)
Promoted side from play-offs: Partick Thistle
Player of the Season: Blair Alston (Falkirk)
Featured Image Credit: Westmeath Examiner
4th Year Journalism Studies and Politics Student at Stirling University. Sports Editor. Bylines in Brig Newspaper and The Oban Times
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