Stirling Albion’s Reserve side kicked off their campaign with a 5-0 win against Raith Rovers on Tuesday night.
Andrew MacDonald caught up with coach Andy Todd ahead of that game to preview the season ahead…
Andy said: “There’s been quite a bit of change within the squad – seven players leaving the club and eight new signings. Declyn Cumming and Luke Martin were both released and Ryan Lockie, Ross Cameron and Taylor Evans all decided to pursue offers of first-team football in the Juniors.
“Goalkeeper Ronan Fallens made a personal decision to take a break away from football and Alberto Vezza also decided his future lay elsewhere. He has since joined the Livingston reserve squad. All players left with our thanks for their efforts and best wishes for the future.
“In terms of the new signings, first of all we had 19-year-old Mitchell MacDonald, who joins us from Pollok Juniors U19s. A central midfielder, who impressed during pre-season, and has already been involved in a number of first-team squads.
“Following his release from St Johnstone, we were also delighted to sign 18-year-old Cammy Thomson. Cammy was a player we knew well from his previous loan spell at Stirling Albion and he has again been involved with the first team of late.
“Scott Miller joins us from Morton. Scott, an 18-year-old striker, impressed immediately within the pre-season friendlies and is a player I’m sure will do well for us this season. He definitely carries a goal threat and will add to our options in those areas.
“Aaron Neil, who plays in midfield, was last season with Thorniewood United, where we had three players out on loan. Aaron, 20, has shown good signs of what he is capable and I’m sure we will see more of this as the competitive games start.
“Cammy Hayes, 18, is another left-sided defender joining us after leaving Clyde. Cammy had been with Dumbarton and Morton previously and will strengthen that side of the pitch for us, offering a lot going forward as well as defensively. Lewis Turnbull, 18, had been contracted to Cowdenbeath since 2016 before they released him in January and he spent some time with Albion Rovers. Lewis, also a midfielder, is technically very gifted and we are glad to have him on board.
“Liam McDaid is a central defender who had been playing with St Andrews United. Liam, 18, adds height and a physical presence to the squad but is also good with the ball at his feet and has potential to develop into a strong centre-half. Finally we have Bradley Rodden. Bradley is a pacey attacker who had been with Kilbirnie Ladeside. At 22 he is a couple of years older than the rest of the group but we felt he was worth bringing in and monitoring his development over the next few months to see if he can push for the first team.
“We are also delighted to have retained a number of the players from last season’s squad, many of whom have been involved with the first team in the early part of this season. Still with us from last season are defenders Dillon Young, Chris Lambie and Brooklyn Mair, midfielders Callum MacDonald, Marc Innes and Justin Watson and last season’s top scorer Reg McLaren. We also have Callum Law who will be our goalkeeper for this season while also playing for the U18 squad.
“There have been a lot of changes and we have only had two friendlies together since finalising the group (a 5-1 win v Wishaw Juniors and a 4-0 defeat to Sauchie) but overall I feel we have a stronger and more competitive squad than last season. A lot of the boys have done well when asked to go in with the first team but still need a bit more time and development before making the breakthrough. Most of the squad will again be going out on loan until January to aid in that development while also playing with the reserves.”
Callum MacDonald has been appointed captain of the reserves for the 2018/19 season and Dillon Young is vice-captain.