Cowdenbeath were at the top of the table for most of the season eventually shaking off Arbroath behind to take the title. The year was satisfying for the Blue Brazil faithful who had fallen down from the First the year before, following a play off success that had taken them up the year before that. If Cowdenbeath though, are to remove the yo-yo mantle bequeathed by Stirling Albion, Cameron will need more than a mention as a possible Hearts manager to avoid his team dropping down from whence they came. At least this time at the end of the season Cowdenbeath are keeping the same manager for more than a relegation/promotion battle.
Last season had started with a stutter as they had been ejected out the Ramsdens in the first round by Raith Rovers, then out the Scottish Communities Cup to Strenhousemuir, though it did take penalties. Around those results they wrapped a 5-1 spree against Airdrie United were mighty impressive with only one loss in the league in August. September saw 3 wins out of 3 as they tucked 4 past Dumbarton during that run. When you consider that Dumbarton and Airdrie United were in the play off final at the end of the season you can see how the early form was so important. In October they lost only once before returning to unbeaten ways in November. Bo’ness United were beaten in the Scottish Cup and December became the 3rd month in which Cowdenbeath didn’t lose a game.
Losing 3-2 to eventual finalists Hibernian in the next round of the Scottish Cup was no disgrace though losing to Forfar in the league was a blot in a month where they managed another 4-0 victory, this time against a team whose league challenge was fading – East Fife. February saw winning becoming a habit once again and they managed a 4-1 victory against Stirling Albion. March saw another 4 past Dumbarton and a loss to Albion Rovers that made their march to the title one with some trips along the way. In April a loss to Arbroath made things appear more tense than they should have been as they got across the line with 2 games to spare.
Early results from the pre season games suggest there is still the firepower as in their Highland tour they managed 7 goals. The problem is they let in 6! In nets Thomas Flynn shared duties with upcoming youngster Lee Wilson. Youssef Bejaoui was released at the end of last season.
In defence, from last year there have been re signings of a strong back line – Kenny Adamson, John Armstrong, Dean Brett, Joe Mbu and David Cowan. It only let in 29 goals last season and was the most miserly in the division. Three players who had been out on loan to Junior teams – Steven Bennett, Paul Byrne and Dene Droudge – were released.
In midfield Jamie Stevenson has been signed – previously with Airdrie United, Lewis Milne, Liam Callaghan and Thomas O’Brien have come into serious contention within the 1st team squad alongside Cameron himself, Scott Linton, Lee Makel and Mark Ramsay. Jon Robertson is now off to St Mirren, having signed a pre contract agreement in January; Gary Fisher has returned to parent club Kilmarnock, though injury limited his impact; Danny McKay has been released; and there is no word on Kyle Miller. There has been very little addition though Stevenson always impressed and should do well in Cameron’s creative team. The game was dictated round Cameron and when he is not playing it can be a little light. Mind you what could be worrying Cowdenbeath fans is that Cameron was at their heart the last time they were in Division One and they got relegated. Two years older he needs to have people around him who can take on the mantle and step up to the plate. Midfield would worry me a little bit. Up north he has brought in Spaniard Garcia Ray and Kieran MacDonald (previously with Motherwell) as trialists so if even one of them could step up… also on trial is a lad by the name of Nzuruba. If this is midfielder Benson Nzuruba then he hails from the English non league.
Up front Lewis Coult, Mark McKenze and Greg Stewart are back. Derek Lyle has been offered a contract but it has yet to be noted as to whether he is accepting it. He is not mentioned in the Highland tour. Scorers in the Highlands have included Milne, MacDonald, Cameron, Armstrong, Linton, O’Brien and Brett. Can you see what I can see? Now either they are keeping their powder dry for the league or these pre season games are more about shape or there might be a wee issue.
Whatever the issues are or are not the preparations are coming thick and fast. Pre season games include – Alloa Athletic (Away -12th); Aberdeen (Home -14th); Selkirk (Away 17th); St Johnstone (Home – 21st); and Spartans (Away – 24th). There is also a Berwick Rangers game down south being played behind closed doors. This is a tough schedule and should have them battle hardened for their Ramsden’s Cup game against Alloa at home on the 28th. The league, however, is where the Blue Brazil will be judged.
It may be why, despite the whiskers and the previous history, Cowdenbeath, including their Chairman, have publicly said they want that newco thing in Division Three. This may be because they will need as many points of as many clubs to stay in the First as possible.