A LONG and winding road lies ahead for Stranraer over the next ten months.

Like the A77, it will be full of twists and turns with the odd pothole along the way, but Stranraer chairman Iain Dougan is confident the side will be motoring in the right direction come the big kickoff.

Another new season gets under way at 3pm this Saturday when the Blues welcome The Buddies to Stair Park for the first time in more than a decade.

Pre-season came to a close on Saturday and Dougan was ready for the real stuff to get under way.

iain dougan fc twente

He said: "I think if you are not looking forward to a new season at this stage then you should not be involved.

"Every season, at the start of the season, everybody believes it is going to be their season.

"I think, looking at the squad that Stevie Farrell has put together, there is competition everywhere.

"I don't think putting out a decent starting XI is a problem but what may be the manager's biggest challenge is knowing his best XI.

"There are senior professionals and experienced guys in the squad who can play a lot of positions.

"It is more a case of getting the chemistry right."

Livingston and Brechin City were promoted in May, which meant the return to League One of Raith Rovers and Ayr United.

raith ayr

A competitive league looks a certainty between now and the middle of 2018, with all ten of the division's side aiming to be battling it out at the right end of the table.

The Stair Park faithful are no different and will be hoping their side are among those in the running to follow in the footsteps of Livi and Brechin.

Dougan added: "We are going into this season with our hopes high.

"We feel we have put together a squad which is more than capable of holding our own.

"There are three full time teams in the league though.

"Raith Rovers apparently looked good on Saturday and their forward line is as good as any in the league.

spence buchanan

"It is recognised and they are top guns in our league.

"Ayr are going full time as well and Airdrie are a bit of an unknown quantity but they are still a full time club.

"East Fife showed last year they could be stuffy and get results and there is no reason why they cannot be up there again this season.

"Albion Rovers rebuilt and a lot of people thought with the players they lost that they might struggle.

"They seem to have brought in decent personnel and Brian Kerr is a decent young manager.

"Sometimes we have to take the good out of everything and, maybe with last season not being as wonderful as we hoped, you appreciate the good times more if you have had bad times."

Saturday's final pre-season friendly opposition came, of course, in the form of FC Twente.

fc twente 010

It is not everyday continental opposition comes to Stair Park - in fact it is only the second time in almost 150 years.

Dougan enjoyed the contest, which saw more than 400 Twente fans make the long journey from the Netherlands to Wigtownshire.

He said: "If you look round the country, there are far bigger clubs than us who did not have a friendly of that sort of ilk.

"It speaks volumes that we have only played the one foreign team before and it is not something that comes along every day unfortunately.

"It was a glorious sunny day and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.

fc twente 001

"At the end of the day, the score was irrelevant.

"Nobody likes getting beat but we played reasonably well in the first 20 minutes and a couple of mistakes were the difference.

"In a normal league game against clubs of our calibre, if you make mistakes against opposition like that, they tend not to punish you each time."

Stranraer have been invited across to Enschede - Twente's home - for a repeat of Saturday's tie at some point in the future.

enschede cityscape

It would be a memorable trip for players, management, committee and fans alike.

The chairman admitted it could prove difficult, but refused to rule it out.

He said: "It's something as a club that we would love to do but logistically - not even financially - it would prove a lot harder for a part time club."

One of the problems would be that flights would need to be booked in advance with Stranraer's squad still being shaped during pre-season.

However, he added: "It is not something we will blow of the water.

"It is a lovely gesture from FC Twente."

fc twente handshake

Photo credits: Glenn Coulter LBIPP, Raith Rovers.net, Fife Today, Bill McCandlish

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 16 42
2 Raith Rovers 16 29
3 East Fife 16 23
4 Montrose 16 21
5 Forfar Athletic 16 21
6 Airdrieonians 16 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 16
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 16 15


2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)