A hot and cold sea­son … but lots to build on

Lennox Herald - - SPORTING MEMORIES -

#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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.