Stirling Albion manager Darren Young has made two new signings for next season – just days after the current campaign ended with a 5-0 win over Edinburgh City.
Stenhousemuir striker Robert Thomson has agreed to a two-year deal and will officially join from the Warriors in the summer while on-loan East Fife defender Aaron Dunsmore will become a permanent signing for the 2022/23 campaign.
Of the current squad, captain Ross McGeachie, top scorer Dale Carrick and midfielder Jack Leitch have all put pen to paper for 2022/23, along with winger Kieran Moore, centre-half Jordan McGregor and back-up goalkeeper Callum Law. Talks are ongoing with others.
Half a dozen departures have been confirmed – strikers Akeel Francis and Dylan Mackin, midfielders Ray Grant, Marc Laird and Kurtis Roberts and utility player James Grant have all left the club.
Thomson contributed six goals and six assists for Stenhousemuir in 2021/22 and was an important player for Stephen Swift’s side. His absence from him through injury for a three-month period mid-season was a blow to the Ochilview club, who just missed out on the play-offs.
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The 28-year-old began his career with Dundee United and had a spell at Dunfermline Athletic before a switch to Brechin City, where he was a regular scorer. A strong season with Dumbarton in the Championship in 2015/16 led to a move to Morton. Thomson then spent two years with Alloa Athletic before a switch to Stenhousemuir last summer.
The second ‘new’ signing is Dunsmore, who joined the Binos on loan from East Fife at the end of February and established himself as an important member of the side.
The 25-year-old can play at right-back or in midfield and has often been deployed as a right wing-back by Young, who knew Dunsmore well from his time at Bayview. He also netted the winner against Stranraer at Forthbank in March.
Meanwhile, Stirling Albion will discover their Premier Sports Cup opponents when the draw is made on Wednesday, May 25 at 1pm. It will be shown live by Premier Sports via their FreeSports channel, which is available on a number of platforms.
With five SPFL clubs again taking part in UEFA competitions next season, the group stage will involve the other 37 SPFL clubs from 2021/22 plus Highland League champions Fraserburgh and Lowland League winners Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic. The additional slot will be taken by Highland League runners-up Buckie Thistle as the Lowland League were given the extra place last season.
The 40 clubs will be drawn into eight groups of five on a seeded basis. Details of the seeding pots will be confirmed ahead of the draw but the SPFL has announced that there will be no regionalization for 2022/23 after six years of the North/South split in the group stage.
The competition kicks off on the weekend of July 9/10, with further matchdays on July 12/13, 16/17, 19/20 and 23/24. The eight group winners and three best runners-up will join the five European entrants in the last 16 in the midweek of August 30/31.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.