Airdrie 15 April 2017 016b

ANOTHER season has been and gone, with Stranraer featuring more than 30 players over the last 12 months.

It's been a season with more twists and turns than a Hollywood movie, with some of the players winning the hearts of fans and some something of a distant memory already.

In the second part of the Class of 2016/17, we look at another ten players, those that wore/shared the jerseys 10-18.
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Scott Agnew
Appearances: 35(6)
Minutes: 3149
Goals: 3

FIVE years after leaving Stranraer as a massive fans' favourite, Scott Agnew returned to the club. The midfielder rejoined in the summer after spells at Dumbarton and St Mirren in the Championship.

Expectations were high when the former Rangers youngster - who scored 19 goals in his first spell at Stair Park - confirmed he was returning on a two-year deal.

The 29-year-old had been a regular amongst the goals and assists during his first spell at Stranraer. However, it took him until December to find the net for the first time as he fired home away to Alloa. That came after a spell on the bench but a change in formation really benefited Agnew, with the Blues going one up front.

Agnew again found the net on Christmas Eve, and the introduction of Stevie Farrell saw the midfielder start to rediscover his true form. His final goal of the season came at home to Stenhousemuir at the beginning of April but Agnew will be aiming to find the net more this coming season.
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Sam McCloskey
Appearances: 2(3)
Minutes: 259
Goals: 0

TWENTY two year old McCloskey made his Stranraer debut back in August 2014 when he replaced Grant Gallagher against Brechin City. The midfielder went on to make his first start last year and scored his first goal as well.

McCloskey would benefit from a trimmed squad on the opening day of this season when he started against Annan Athletic. The midfielder was replaced by Smart Osadolor, making his debut, just after the hour mark but was again involved three days later at Stair Park against East Stirlingshire.

This time he replaced Calvin Kemp, who suffered an asthma attack in the first half, and he would get another 40 minutes against Livingston in the first league tie of the season. The heavy defeat saw McCloskey having to be content with a spot on the bench but he came back into the team when Spartans made the trip to Stair Park in the Scottish League Cup. Not only that but he played the full 90 minutes.

However, Sam was back on the bench the next weekend and made his last appearance after replacing Scott Agnew for the final couple of minutes against Dumbarton. Since then, he has been away on loan to Kilwinning Rangers and was released at the end of the season.

Andrew Johnstone
Appearances: 0(1)
Minutes: 8
Goals: 0

TRIALISTS are often a staple of pre-season, with some impressing and winning deals and other inevitably moving on to other clubs.

Pre-season had long gone by the time Johnstone linked up with Stranraer in December, having spent time in the Junior ranks. However, the midfielder did have senior experience, having started the season with Ayr United. In fact, he even made his senior debut for the Honest Men, featuring against Hamilton and Aberdeen in the League Cup group phase.

Brian Reid brought him in for a trial towards the end of 2016 and he made his only Stranraer appearance at Stair Park on Christmas Eve. He replaced Craig Thomson for the final eight minutes against Airdrie, with the Blues losing 2-1 thanks to Andy Ryan's strike.

Johnstone would also be an unused substitute a week later against Queen's Park before Reid decided not to offer him a longer stay at the club.

Christopher McGowan
Appearances: 0(1)
Minutes: 1
Goals: 0

NOT all players have clocked up thousands, or even hundreds, of minutes in a Stranraer shirt. However, they have all got to start somewhere and Christopher McGowan will be hoping his debut against East Fife on the last day of the season does exactly that.

The defender came off the bench in the 89th minute to replace Liam Dick and make his senior debut, having caught the eye in Stranraer's under 20s squad and been on the bench before the turn of the year.

That is not McGowan's only link to the club though. He will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his uncle - Neil - who had three separate spells at Stair Park between 1995 and 2008.

Meanwhile, his dad - Chris - has been involved with the under 20s squad. The defender will be hoping to catch the eye of Stevie Farrell during pre-season with a view to being involved again next year.
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Max Currie
Appearances: 2
Minutes: 180
Goals: 0

THE 20 year old made his debut last season against Ayr United after David McGurn limped off injured.

The shotstopper did not have long to wait to add to his four appearances from last term when he started the first two games of the season. Cameron Belford was suspended for the opening two games of the Betfred League Cup and Currie came into the team.

The first game saw Currie up against his older brother, Blair, who was between the sticks for Annan Athletic at Galabank. It was Stranraer's Currie who emerged victorious in a 2-1 win and he added to that with a second - and final appearance of the season - against East Stirlingshire.

Stranraer were 3-1 winners, with Craig Malcolm, Kyle Turner and Frank McKeown on target. Unfortunately for the youngster, Brian Reid and Stevie Farrell elected to go with Belford from then on, with the ex-Rangers man having to be content with a spot on the bench at Ibrox in the third game of the season and ever since.
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Giuliano Morena
Appearances: 13(9)
Minutes: 1220
Goals: 0

PERHAPS the wildcard signing of Stranraer's season, fans did not know what to really expect when the short-term signing of Giuliano Morena was announced. The Italian midfielder won over Brian Reid in pre-season, earning the nickname "Gattuso", and initially signed until the end of the year.

Paperwork issues meant Morena was a spectator against Annan and East Stirlingshire before making his debut as a second half substitute against Rangers.

He finally made his full debut on September 17 against Albion Rovers where Stranraer won 3-2. Only Graeme Smith's legs denied Giuliano a first goal on Scottish soil a few weeks later when Brechin City came to Stair Park, and he also crashed a strike against the woodwork against Alloa in December.

The 24 year old extended his stay until the end of the season but his final start for the club came on Hogmanay at Hampden Park in front of his mum and dad who came across for the game. Fortunately, it was a worthwhile trip as the Blues won 1-0 in horrible conditions.

Unfortunately for Morena, Reid would leave the club a couple of weeks later and the midfielder never played a single minute under new boss Stevie Farrell. His final appearance came in Chris Aitken's only game in charge away to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup. The midfielder, who truly won over the Stair Park faithful with his all-action style, is hopeful of remaining in Scotland.
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David Wilson
Appearances: 6(8)
Minutes: 616
Goals: 0

BROUGHT in to the club in January, Partick Thistle loanee Wilson made an impressive debut against Alloa Athletic. The Wasps would win 2-1 on the day but the Blues could themselves unlucky to leave with nothing.

Unfortunately, the team failed to perform the following week away to Stenhousemuir, which proved to be Brian Reid's last game.

Since then, Wilson has been in and out of the team, with four starts and seven substitute appearances. The midfielder has shown glimpses of what he is capable of and looked impressive away to Peterhead in a 2-2 draw, where the Blues were simply unplayable for much of the first 45 minutes.

However, he has not completed 90 minutes under Stevie Farrell and, despite coming close on occasions, is yet to break his duck and pick up his first senior career goal.

Returned to Thistle at the end of his loan spell and will look to gain further first team experience elsewhere.
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Kyle Turner
Appearances: 23(14)
Minutes: 2327
Goals: 4

INCREDIBLY still a teenager, Turner continued to break through into the Stranraer side in just his second season of senior football.

The 19 year old came off the bench in the opening three games, which also saw him smash home a stoppage time beauty against East Stirlingshire. The midfielder had his goalscoring boots on once more against Spartans as he fired home the final goal in a 7-1 win.

The youngster earned a start in the narrow defeat to Dundee United in the IRN-BRU Cup, and followed that up by finding the net at Ochilview as he lined up in midfield with Giuliano Morena, Willie Gibson and Craig Thomson. However, the goals then dried up with Turner not scoring until his penultimate game of the season.

In the meantime, he featured against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup and also had a trial at the Pittodrie side. Under Stevie Farrell, the midfielder featured seven times - three from the start - but an ankle injury ended his season prematurely.

Under contract for the coming season, Turner will be hoping to cement his place in the starting lineup.
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Craig Thomson
Appearances: 19(2)
Minutes: 1499
Goals: 3

BLESSED with electric pace, Thomson was one of the bigger successes of Stranraer's loan signings in the first half of the season.

The midfielder had already featured twice for St Johnstone before joining the Blues in early August. His direct running caused teams trouble on occasions and he grabbed his first-ever senior goals in a 3-2 victory over Albion Rovers.

The first came from a brilliant Kyle Turner through ball, and then Thomson collected Giuliano Morena's ball and ran half the park to score.

Arguably, the young winger's inconsistent performances mirrored Stranraer's own showings. He marked his final appearance in a Stranraer shirt against Alloa with a goal, but the Wasps would win 2-1 with two goals in the last 20 minutes.

The 22 year old has returned to Perth, got his first goal there and started against Hearts.
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Morgyn Neill
Appearances: 13(1)
Minutes: 1146
Goals: 0

ARGUABLY the most successful of Stranraer's seven loan signings this season, Morgyn Neill has won a lot of fans at Stair Park.

The 21-year-old joined from runaway league leaders Livingston until the end of the season and made his debut away to Stenhousemuir. Brian Reid then left, with Chris Aitken taking charge for the Scottish Cup tie with Aberdeen and the following week Stevie Farrell's appointment meant Neill had three different managers in as many weeks.

Impressive showings under Farrell were interrupted by being unable to play against his parent club and a very harsh looking red card away to Airdrie.

However, despite those setbacks - and an own goal at Cliftonhill - Neill became a firm fixture at the heart of the defence alongside the experienced David Barron, and helped shore up what was previously a leaky defence.

A player who seemed to really enjoy his time with the club, highlighted in his celebrations in the victories over Stenhousemuir and Airdrie, Morgyn's return to Stranraer brings encouragement for the season ahead.


Check back next week for the third and final part of our look at the Class of 2016/17.

SPFL 3L1 6474

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 12 26
2 Raith Rovers 11 26
3 Alloa Athletic 13 21
4 Arbroath 13 20
5 East Fife 13 18
6 STRANRAER 12 17
7 Albion Rovers 13 16
8 Airdrieonians 13 15
9 Forfar Athletic 13 12
10 Queen's Park 13 8

Fixtures


00 Stranraer FC 2015 Logo
3 Number Lotto
Sunday 12 November 2017

Numbers: 11, 13, 14
1 winner at £1000

Congratulations to:
N. Henry, Belmont Rd, Stranraer