Kicktalk and Scotzine contributor Donald C. Stewart has followed the fortunes of Dumbarton throughout this season and he casts a critical eye over Ian Murray’s side this season.
With the season now at an end, did Dumbarton achieve or underachieve? And why?
Dumbarton achieved. I don’t think there is any doubt about that – they got near a playoff spot and a Quarter Final appearance in the Scottish Cup which makes it a very good season. People have to remember that when Ian Murray took over from Ross Jack, the caretaker who had stepped in to replace Adam Adamson, that the Sons were on their way out of the First Division. In the first season of the Championship what Murray has done is make this part-time club part of the Championship furniture.
How do you rate Ian Murray after this season’s campaign? What did he do or fail to do?
The new contract and the delight of the fans upon hearing of it means that Ian Murray’s star is very much in the ascendency. I don’t think that he did much wrong, but will have to have a very good close season in preparation of next year. We all know what is coming – apart from who falls out of the playoffs – and any part-time team shall be very stretched going into next year.
Who were the standout players for the club this term and why?
Paul McGinn is the obvious player who had an outstanding season but I also thought that Andy Graham and Mark McLaughlin were solid at the back, top scorer Mitch Megginson was fantastic as was Scott Agnew. Whilst up front there were some issues but Chris Kane proved an excellent addition.
Who failed to impressive, why?
I am struggling to think of any as Jamie Ewings and Stephen Grindlay in nets were fine, the back four regular, midfield nobody really disappointed regularly and up front though Colin Nish did not provide the impact I expected it was not too bad a season for him.
What would you change at the club over the summer?
I think Murray has started to rebuild confidently and I think up front with a 25/30 goal a year man is desirable if not essential. This is Murray’s difficult 2nd full season in charge. I reckon a good start with a decent and proven goal scorer – Kane would fit that bill – would help. Behind him there was not much wrong with the team.
Expectations for next season?
Dumbarton fans have a right to expect progress but if the top 4 include Rangers, Hearts and Hibernian… can Dumbarton get in front of the full-time squads from this year? I would expect Dumbarton to hit mid table, settle and wait for Murray’s 3rd year in charge where I reckon he will have enough experience to deal with whatever is thrown at him. Next year I reckon will be very tough.