Scottish League Two ins and outs - summer 2016

Arbroath's Martin Scott and Cowdenbeath's Burton O'Brien
Martin Scott has joined Arbroath and Burton O'Brien is with Cowdenbeath

Edinburgh City make history this season as the first club to be promoted to the Scottish Professional Football League via its two-year-old pyramid system.

Last season's Lowland League champions first had to defeat Highland League winners Cove Rangers before a play-off final victory over East Stirlingshire that relegated the Stenhousemuir-based club from League Two to the Lowland League.

The Citizens become the third Edinburgh club playing in the SPFL, based at Meadowbank Stadium, the ageing athletics venue originally built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games a stone's throw away from Hibernian's Easter Road Stadium.

So far, partly because their playing budget will be little different, manager Gary Jardine has vowed to stick by most of the squad that brought success last season and has resisted calls from agents offering him players from as far afield as Brazil, Spain, Italy and France.

Indeed, City have made fewer signings than any of their new rivals, with Cowdenbeath bringing in a whole new team of players after their relegation from League One.

The Blue Brazil also start the season under a new head coach, Liam Fox taking over from sacked player-boss Colin Nish in a unique loan arrangement with Hearts.

Hibernian's Jason Cummings and brother Dean of Edinburgh City
Hibs' Jason Cummings and older brother Dean, of Edinburgh City, played against one another in pre-season

Among Fox's signings are veteran former Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Burton O'Brien, who was with Alloa Athletic last season in the Championship, and one-time Dundee United midfielder David Robertson, who had found himself in the Lowland League with Selkirk.

Dick Campbell, sacked as Forfar Athletic headed for relegation from League One last season, has also been busy overhauling his squad at Arbroath.

Not only has he nabbed three of his former Loons charges but the former Dunfermline Athletic boss has managed what could be a bit of a coup by signing Martin Scott, the former Hibernian, Livingston and Ross County midfielder who has recently been playing in the I-League in India with Salgaocar.

Former St Johnstone striker Peter MacDonald, now 35, steps down from the Championship to join Barry Ferguson's Clyde.

However, with his side having finished third last season and losing in the play-off final to Queen's Park after recruiting players of higher-league experience, the former Rangers and Scotland captain appears to have switched to a policy of plundering the best players from his rivals last season.

The addition of winger Dylan Easton, who helped Elgin City finish second last season, has particularly excited Bully Wee fans as Ferguson aims to make it third time lucky in his bid for promotion since taking over after his spell as Blackpool player-manager.

Annan Athletic

Annan Athletic

Last season: 5th

Manager: Jim Chapman

Verdict: 8th. Jim Chapman has lost several of his best performers from last season and had to rebuild his squad. With most other squads strengthened, Annan might struggle to challenge for a play-off place this time round.

In: Przemyslaw Dachnowicz, midfielder (Rangers); Darren Ramsay, midfielder (Rangers); Barry Cuddihy, midfielder (St Mirren); Ryan Finnie, defender (Alloa Athletic); David McKenna, forward (East Stirlingshire); Max Wright, midfielder (East Stirlingshire); Willie Robertson, midfielder (Stirling Albion); Alex Mitchell, goalkeeper (Workington Reds); Stewart Sharkey, defender (Yoker Athletic); Raffia Krissian, defender (Edusport Academy); Jean Guy Lucas, defender (Edusport Academy); Anthony Ribeiro, midfielder (Edusport Academy); Adam Asghar, midfielder (unattached); Aaron Bradbury, midfielder (unattached). Loan: Aidan Smith, forward (Queen of the South).

Out: Jordan Hart, goalkeeper (Ayr United); Josh Todd, midfielder (Dumbarton); Smart Osadolor, forward (Stranraer); Matty Flynn, midfielder (Clyde); Martin McNiff, defender (Clyde); Peter Weatherson, forward (Shettleston); Ryan McStay, midfielder (Shettleston); Lewis Guy, forward; Kevin Nicoll, defender; Steven Sloan, midfielder; Stuart McColm, midfielder. Loan ended: Jack Breslin, defender (Celtic); Ben Jago, midfielder (Tranmere Rovers); Jordan Morton, midfielder (Airdrieonians).



Last season: 9th

Manager: Dick Campbell

Verdict: 3rd. Dick Campbell will be majorly disappointed if the addition of the likes of former Hibernian and Ross County midfielder Martin Scott and some of his tried and trusted players from Forfar Athletic fail to ensure they live up to their billing as one of the title favourites.

In: Martin Scott, midfielder (Salgaocar); Ryan McCord, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Colin Hamilton, defender (Alloa Athletic); Ricky Gomes, goalkeeper (Atletico Club Malveira); Bryan Prunty, forward (Airdrieonians); Omar Kader, forward (Forfar Athletic); Michael Dunlop (Forfar Athletic), Gavin Malin (Forfar Athletic); Steven Doris, forward (Stirling Albion); Liam Callaghan, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Josh Thomson, defender (Cowdenbeath); Gary Phillips, defender (Largs Thistle). Loan: Jason Brown, midfielder (Inverness Caledonian Thistle); Robbie Mutch, goalkeeper (Aberdeen); Josh Skelly, forward (Dundee); Jassem Sukar, defender (Dundee United).

Out: Jordan Lowdon, defender (Clyde); Allan Fleming, goalkeeper (Montrose); Andy Munro, defender (Forfar Athletic); Jamie Reid, midfielder (Elgin City); Kieran Stewart, midfielder (Elgin City); Joao Vitoria, forward (East Kilbride); Craig Johnstone, defender (Kennoway); Sergio Alvarez, midfielder; Callum Brodie, goalkeeper; Greg Rutherford, forward. Loan ended: Josh Skelly, forward (Dundee); Darren Ramsay, midfielder (Rangers); Jamie Henry, midfielder (Aberdeen); Craig Watson, defender (Hamilton Academical); Mark Williams, midfielder (Alloa Athletic).

Berwick Rangers

Berwick Rangers

Last season: 6th

Manager: John Coughlin

Verdict: 7th. John Coughlin's side will be strong and stuffy and he has added the threat of striker Jordyn Sheerin, but the Wee Rangers will struggle to challenge for the play-off places this time.

In: Jordyn Sheerin, forward (Livingston); Kevin McKinlay, defender (Stirling Albion); Sean Brennan, goalkeeper (Hibernian); Lee Hamilton, defender (Stirling Albion); Steven Thomson, forward (Musselburgh Athletic); Jordan Orru, defender (Dunfermline Athletic). Loan: Greg Hurst, forward (St Johnstone); Ben Stirling, defender (Hibernian); Sean Mackie, defender (Hibernian).

Out: Finn Graham, midfielder (Brechin City); Blair Henderson, forward (Stirling Albion); Ewan McNeil, defender (Clyde); Ross Drummond, defender (Dundonald Bluebell); Billy Bald, goalkeeper; Mark Walters, goalkeeper; Dwayne Coultress, midfielder. Loan ended: Jordan McGregor, defender (Hibernian); Callum Crane, defender (Hibernian); Dylan Stevenson, midfielder (Greenock Morton); Sandy Cunningham, forward (Stirling Albion)



Last season: 3rd

Manager: Barry Ferguson

Verdict: 4th. Barry Ferguson's side lost out in the play-off final last time round and should be among the promotion candidates again if veteran forward Peter MacDonald stays fit and they can avoid the defensive fragility that has dogged the Bully Wee.

In: Peter MacDonald, forward (Greenock Morton); Ross Perry, defender (Brechin City); Dylan Easton, midfielder (Elgin City); Matty Flynn, midfielder (Annan Athletic); Martin McNiff, defender (Annan Athletic); Phil Johnston, midfielder (Stirling Albion); Jordan Lowdon, defender (Arbroath); Ewan McNeil, defender (Berwick Rangers); Michael Oliver, defender (Cumbernauld Colts).

Out: Ross Millen, defender (Queen's Park); Michael Bolochoweckyj, defender (Montrose); David Marsh, defender; Gareth Watson, goalkeeper. Loan ended: Scott McMann, defender (Hamilton Academical); Marc Waters, goalkeeper (Partick Thistle).



Last season: 9th, Scottish League One

Head coach: Liam Fox

Verdict: 1st. Liam Fox has recruited excellently in his spell on loan from Hearts as head coach and the combination of experienced players like Burton O'Brien with exciting you talent from his parent club like Nikolay Todorov should ensure Cowdenbeath are in with a good chance of going straight back up to League One.

In: Liam Fox, head coach (Hearts); Burton O'Brien, midfielder (Alloa Athletic); Gary Glen, forward (Livingston); David McGurn, goalkeeper (Raith Rovers); Shaun Rutherford, defender (Queen of the South); Gerry McLachlan, defender (Ayr United); Fraser Mullen, defender (East Fife); Craig Sives, defender (Livingston, loan to permanent); David Robertson, midfielder (Selkirk); Greg Ross, defender (Penicuik Athletic); James Creaney, defender (Hurlford United); Kris Renton, forward (Newtongrange Star); Brian Ross, midfielder (Fauldhouse United); Chris Turner, defender (unattached). Loan: Nikolay Todorov, forward (Heart of Midlothian); Lewis Moore, midfielder (Heart of Midlothian); Aaron Murrell, forward (Dundee United).

Out: Colin Nish, player/manager; Greig Spence, forward (Alloa Athletic); Fraser Kerr, defender (Stenhousemuir); Ross Caldwell, forward (Brechin City); Chris Kane, defender (East Fife); Grant Adam, goalkeeper (Forfar Athletic); Lewis Milne, midfielder (Forfar Athletic); Liam Callaghan, midfielder (Arbroath); Josh Thomson, defender (Arbroath); Pat Scullion, midfielder; Bradley Donaldson, defender; Alin Roman, goalkeeper; Mo Yaqub, defender; Shaun Hunter, goalkeeper; Kyle Mitchell, forward; Aldin El-Zubaidi, defender; Josh Wilson, forward; Jack Beaumont, midfielder; Declan Hughes, midfielder; Josh Wilson, forward; Shane Hunter, goalkeeper. Loan ended: Declan McDaid, midfielder (Partick Thistle); Kieran Gibbons, midfielder (Livingston).

Edinburgh City

Edinburgh City

Last season: Champions, Scottish Lowland League

Manager: Gary Jardine

Verdict: 10th. Edinburgh City make history as the first club promoted to the SPFL from the Lowland League. However, despite the headline-grabbing signing of former Scotland striker Craig Beattie, the Meadowbank-based outfit's ambitions will not stretch beyond mid-table safety.

In: Craig Beattie, forward (Stirling Albion); Neil Martyniuk, defender (St Johnstone); Dean Cummings, midfielder (Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale); Calum Antell , goalkeeper (Nairn County). Loan: Ryan Porteous, defender (Hibernian); Aaron Dunsmore, defender (Hibernian).

Out: Deniran Ortega, forward; Mark Torrance, midfielder; Nicolas Narayaninsamy, midfielder; Mark Osborne, forward; Gregor Amos, goalkeeper; Andrew Stobie, goalkeeper; Jaxon Wishart, defender; Dougie Gair, midfielder (retired); Allan MacIntosh, goalkeeper (retired); Ross McNamara, defender (retired).

Elgin City

Elgin City

Last season: 2nd

Manager: Jim Weir

Verdict: 6th. Jim Weir's side narrowly missed out on the title last season and then faltered in the play-offs, but they will do well to again be among the promotion challengers this time round with their main rivals having strengthened more significantly.

In: Shane Sutherland, forward (Peterhead); Kieran Stewart, midfielder (Arbroath); Jamie Reid, midfielder (Arbroath); Chris Dodd (Jeanfield Swifts); Chris McLeish (Jeanfield Swifts); Ben Cullen, defender (Netherton United). Loan: Kyle MacLeod, forward (Ross County); Cammy MacKay, goalkeeper (Inverness Caledonian Thistle).

Out: Dylan Easton, midfielder (Clyde); Marc McKenzie, midfielder (Stirling Albion). Loan ended: Sam Dryden, defender (Dundee)

Forfar Athletic

Forfar Athletic

Last season: 10th, Scottish League Two

Manager: Gary Bollan

Verdict: 2nd. Gary Bollan has rebuilt his relegated squad with players of experience from the league above and will hope that Josh Peters can recapture the scoring form that led to a move from Strathspey Thistle to Hibernian. It should ensure that the Loons are up there battling at the top of the table this season.

In: Josh Peters, forward (Hibernian); Grant Adam, goalkeeper (Cowdenbeath); Stuart Malcolm, defender (Stenhousemuir); Allan Smith, forward (Stenhousemuir); David Cox, forward (Airdrieonians); Jim Lister, forward (Airdrieonians); Jamie Bain, midfielder (Airdrieonians); Lewis Milne, midfielder (Cowdenbeath); Andy Munro, defender (Arbroath); Marc Scott, midfielder (Carnoustie Panmure). Loan: Brett Long, goalkeeper (Dundee United).

Out: Gareth Rodger, defender (Brechin City); Andy Ryan, forward (Airdrieonians); Omar Kader, forward (Arbroath); Michael Dunlop (Arbroath); Gavin Malin (Arbroath); Iain Campbell, defender (Montrose); Bryan Hodge, midfielder (Stirling Albion); Derek Young, midfielder (Formartine United); Steven Craig, forward; Craig Smith, forward; Jason King, goalkeeper; Scott Smith, midfielder; Cameron Clark, forward. Loan ended: Euan Spark, defender (Dundee United). Loan: Angus Mailer, defender (Stirling University); James Yates, defender (Broughty Athletic); Jason King, goalkeeper (Forfar Albion).



Last season: 8th

Manager: Paul Hegarty

Verdict: 9th. Paul Hegarty's resources are meagre compared to some of Montrose's League Two rivals and he will do well to steer his side clear of a play-off battle to remain in the SPFL.

In: Iain Campbell, defender (Forfar Athletic); Michael Bolochoweckyj, defender (Clyde); Allan Fleming, goalkeeper (Arbroath); Jordan Millar, goalkeeper (St Johnstone, loan to permanent); Chris Hegarty, defender (Buckie Thistle); Ross Lennie, midfielder (Bathgate Thistle); Gregor Anderson, defender (Tayport); Callum MacDonald, goalkeeper (Gartcairn). Loan: Cammy Ballantyne, defender (Dundee United); Jonny Court, forward (Raith Rovers); David Mckay, defender (Raith Rovers); Scott Hynd, forward (Alloa Athletic).

Out: Ross McCord, midfielder (Broughty Athletic); Greg Cameron, midfielder; Adrian Mallagaray, midfielder; Ryan Kenneth, defender; Sandy Wood, goalkeeper; Jamie Clarke, midfielder; Adam McWilliam, midfielder. Loan ended: Neil Martyniuk, defender (St Johnstone); Aaron Comrie, defender (St Johnstone); Alex Tokarczyk, goalkeeper (Falkirk).

Stirling Albion

Stirling Albion

Last season: 7th

Manager: Stuart McLaren

Verdict: 5th. Stuart McLaren has lost some of his best performers from last season, but the quality of their replacements should at least ensure that the Binos are not involved in relegation trouble and could be outside bets for a play-off place.

In: Darren Petrie, midfielder (Raith Rovers); Eddie Ferns, forward (Alloa Athletic); Jamie Mills, defender (Rangers); Bryan Hodge, midfielder (Forfar Athletic); Jack McCue, midfielder (Airdrieonians); Blair Henderson, forward (Berwick Rangers); Marc McKenzie, midfielder (Elgin City); Alex Docherty, midfielder (Maryhill Black Star). Loan: Callum Morrison, midfielder (Heart of Midlothian); Isaac Layne, forward (Alloa Athletic).

Out: Mark Lamont, midfielder (East Fife); Craig Beattie, forward (Edinburgh City); Steven Doris, forward (Arbroath); Phil Johnston, midfielder (Clyde); Kevin McKinlay, defender (Berwick Rangers); Lee Hamilton, defender (Berwick Rangers); Willie Robertson, midfielder (Annan Athletic); Sandy Cunningham, forward (Dulwich Hamlet); Craig Comrie, midfielder; Scot Buist, defender; Gregor Gwynne, defender; Scott Stevenson, defender. Loan ended: Lewis McLear, midfielder (St Mirren).