It is the time of the phoney season. Used to be the phoney war but we don’t do that fighting thing on the terracing any more – remember Rugby Park at the end of last season? Now phoney season is characterised by the sudden and easily explained depression that comes from not winning every pre season game by at least five clear goals – including the keeper getting a hat trick. Managers see pre-season games as the opportunity to try out formations, gel the squad, try out potential new recruits or chart progress.
Right now the depressive air around Firhill is down to the Jags losing two nil to Blyth. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth would suggest the season ahead for Partick means they will be automatically dropped to the Amateur South West Area League for non-achievers come May 2012.
There is less of a depressive atmosphere following Falkirk’s four two win against Hartley’s Alloa. Paul Hartley got a good look at his new squad before the Oban Tournament and Steven Pressley got his first win of pre-season. All worthwhile.
Other news in the First Division includes the signing by Hamilton Accies of 26-year-old goalkeeper David Hutton. Previously with Queen of the South, Hutton will provide serious competition for the number one shirt. Raith, like most SFL sides have restarted training and will be off to new Bayview on the 16th July for the pre season tournament there.
In the Second Division, Airdrie United have shown how seriously they are taking pre-season as they have posted a warning on their website that NOBODY – absolutely NOBODY will be allowed to see their closed-door pre season games! Stenhousemuir, meanwhile have added Stewart Kean to their front line. There is a desire to see him forge a strong partnership with Andy Rodgers. Ironically both players spent time at play off promotion winners from last year – Ayr United. Their first pre season was a disappointing two nil loss to Montrose which was described by Davie Irons as “a good workout”. It also highlighted that they need a better defence and Irons has noted he will have to go out and sign one!
Unsurprisingly Aberdeen ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Brechin City but it will not put Jim Weir off his stride. It gave home fans the opportunity to see new signings Derek Carcary, Mick Dunlop and Scott Buist for the first time. By all accounts, despite the Aberdeen team being filled with youngsters and running to a 3-0 lead by half time, there is no need for panic up near the hedge!
Forfar Athletic opted to take on SPL opposition too and lost 2-0 to Dundee United. With a fairly decent crowd – nearly 1,000 for a pre season friendly things are looking OK for the Loons.
Down South in the Third Division and at Annan, news hits us that 19-year-old Jordan McKechnie has signed a one year deal just in time for the first pre-season friendly at Castle Douglas. Previously with Raith Rovers full-time for the last three years, McKechnie may fill the left midfield berth that fans have been agonising over pre-season.
Berwick Rangers have welcomed Steven Notman, centre half Chris Townsley and Stephen Thompson. All have previous associations with the club so it’s welcome home for all of them.
It has been an interesting mid-summer and not without its casualties. Albion Rovers’ assistant manager Todd Lumsden, was taken off 10 minutes early in the friendly with Stranraer as a precaution; Dumbarton youngster Martin McNiff has broken bones in his foot after the first day of pre-season training that will see him out for around five weeks; and former Albion Rovers player Iain Smith, who had every single bone in his face broken in an accidental clash at training has decided to hang up his boots. Dangerous business at times this football.