A hot and cold season … but lots to build on
#1 Conor Brennan – 7 32 appearances 7 clean sheets 2 assists Despite being 26, this was Conor Brennan’s first full season as a number one keeper – and at times that lack of experience showed.
The Northern Irishman was capable of some sublime reaction stops that had fans on their feet, but he was also guilty of a few basic errors.
He’ll have learned plenty however, and you could see his confidence growing over the campaign. He should be a more complete package if he elects to remain at the Rock when football returns. #2 Lewis Crawford – 5 14 appearances 0 goals 0 assists Few players had as big a step up to make as Lewis Crawford, with the former Hermitage Academy pupil joining from a Petershill side who had been relegated from the West Region Junior Superleague.
Having only turned 20 in January, and experiencing senior football for the first time, Crawford struggled early on before being farmed out on loan to Rossvale.
He returned in January, making a handful of appearances and looked to have benefitted from his spell with David Gormley’s men. #3 Rico Quitongo – 8 31 appearances 0 goals 0 assists Another player taking his first steps in senior football, Rico Quitongo overcame a rocky start to win a place in the hearts of Sons supporters with his rugged style and never-say-die attitude.
Improved as the weeks progressed, he made the left-back spot his own, even picking up the club’sYoung Player of the Season award earlier this month.
Sons now face a task to keep hold of him, with full-time sides likely to be interested in the 20-year-old former Hamilton kid. #4 Ruaridh Langan – 6 28 appearances 1 goal 1 assist Signed after impressing on trial over the summer, former Morton U20s captain Ruaridh Langan, a neat and tidy central-midfielder, pretty quickly looked at home at the Rock – scoring his first goal in senior football against Peterhead in August, and holding down a position in the team for the opening months of the campaign.
Battling for position with Stuart Carswell, Kyle Hutton and Joe McKee came at a cost however, with Langan dropping out the side in the second half of the campaign, making most of his appearances from the bench. #5 Morgyn Neill – 7 35 appearances 4 goals 0 assists The physical defender recovered from a nightmare start to the season to finish the campaign as the only Sons player to have played every minute of every game.
Aggressive in the air, brave and powerful, Neill made himself somewhat of a favourite with fans for his passionate celebrations and all-action style, whilst he was another who improved week-onweek during the course of the season.
Despite being just 24, he’s got almost 200 senior games already under his belt and is clearly highly rated by Jim Duffy. #6 Stuart Carswell – 6 31 appearances 1 goal 0 assists If it hadn’t been for sparking some sensational last-minute scenes with a late winner against Raith Rovers in February, the Sons stalwarts’ first season as club captain would likely be remembered as somewhat of a disappointment.
Having been nothing but a model of consistency since arriving at the club in January 2017, Carswell’s performances hit a rocky patch for the first time after being awarded the armband – with his usual accurate passing and solid tackling making way for a series of scrappier, more flustered performances that were littered with cheap bookings.
He remains a key player for the Sons though, and fans will be desperate to see the former Player of theYear back at the Rock next season. #8 Kyle Hutton – 9 28 appearances 0 goals 1 assists Kyle Hutton’s success at
Dumbarton’s Player of theYear awards came as little surprise to anyone who watched the big midfielder in action, as he finally won round the doubters with a string of outstanding midfield performances.
As good a passer as there is in the lower leagues, the former Rangers man mixes that with being aggressive and powerful.
When fit, Hutton dictated the tempo from the centre of the park, and it was no surprise that Sons’ form dipped when he was out injured over the winter.
It has taken him time to adapt to the part-time game, but he’s now firmly a fans’favourite. #9 RyanTierney – 4 20 appearances 2 goals 1 assist The former Hamilton kid joined the Sons from Edusport Academy in the Lowland League, scoring a well-taken winner on his debut against Annan Athletic.
Quickly however found himself down the club’s striking pecking order, making just four starts in the league during which he scored once – in December against Stranraer.
There were flashes of the player who had top scored for Accies in the development league only a few seasons earlier, but he looks certain to move on when the time comes for Jim Duffy to reshape his squad. #10 Stefan McCluskey – 5 31 apps 0 goals 5 assists
Signed by Jim Duffy for the third time, Stefan McCluskey faded after a bright Betfred Cup campaign and only ever showed glimpses of the player who had starred in the Championship for Duffy’s Morton only a few seasons earlier.
Having spent the previous two campaigns in Junior football with Pollok, McCluskey looked to be lacking the sharpness his game had during his time at Cappielow – whilst he’ll be as frustrated as anyone over his lengthy goal drought in yellow and black.
There was no doubting the effort, few players could’ve covered more ground than the 29-year-old all season.
However, Sons were needing more end product, especially from a player often deployed as a striker. #14 Joe McKee - 9 28 appearances 2 goals 15 assists Dumbarton’s marquee arrival of the summer, Joe McKee didn’t disappoint on the pitch with the former Morton and Falkirk man looking a class above in terms of his vision, passing and fitness.
McKee’s staggering total of 15 assists in all competitions was beaten only by Scotland stars James Forrest and Ryan Christie, whilst his willingness to take the ball in all situations, pinpoint dead-ball delivery, and being prepared to battle defensively made him stand out as one of the best players in League One.
Dropping down to part-time football after a difficult spell with Falkirk looks to have been a wise decision, and McKee should have plenty of offers to return to the full-time game this summer. #17 Isaac Layne – 7 24 appearances 9 goals 3 assists An enigma. Layne’s arrival at the Rock certainly raised eyebrows, with the then 24-year-old making the Sons the 11th club of his career.
After almost a year out of football, he started the season in sensational form, bagging a late winner against Peterhead and doubles against Stranraer and Montrose.
His form fell away badly however and a mixture of a loss of form and long-term injury ruled out his chances of putting a consistent run of games together.
On the park he flicked between being clumsy and wasteful to being a clinical bulldozer of a centre-forward who could terrify and bamboozle defenders in equal measure.
There’s no doubting Jim Duffy got the best out of him however and maybe, after a journeyman career, he might be willing to put down roots in G82. #22 Ryan McGeever – 7 33 appearances 5 goals 1 assist Like defensive partner Morgyn Neill, Ryan McGeever’s time at Dumbarton started with two seriously unconvincing showings against Morton and Queen of the
South – when Sons shipped 10 goals in just 180 minutes.
He settled however and, coached by Duffy, started to show plenty of signs of the player who had made it into the League One Team of the Season only a few years previous.
McGeever starred in victories over Clyde, where he nullified the threat of former Scotland cap David Goodwillie admirably, whilst he even chipped in with five goals – including a header in Sons memorable win against Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park. #24 PJ Crossan - 7 32 appearances 7 goals 3 assists Ability wise there wasn’t anyone better in this Sons squad.
On his day Crossan had the perfect mixture of natural talent, pace and balance to breeze beyond challenges and give defenders all sorts of issues.
Unfortunately he blew hot and cold, and for every all-action display, there would be a collection of below-par showings after which he was honest enough to admit that he deserved to be dropped.
There’s no doubt that the former Celtic youngster has a bit of magic about him and even when he was struggling for success going forward, you couldn’t question his workrate.
A bit of work on his consistency and end-product could see him being a big player for the club next season – especially if given a run of games as a centre-forward.
Ready to go Jim Duffy and his hastily put-together squad before the season began
Flying form Joe McKee consistently showed his quality