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  1. With most teams having now played their final pre-season friendly and sorted the majority of their squad out, it's time to turn our attentions to a key feature of any forum during the close season; the season prediction thread. Will Club 42 Cowdenbeath finally register a placing other than 10th in the bottom tier? Will Clyde finally earn promotion? Will Jim McInally be sacked after failing to win promotion (again) with the largest budget below the Championship? Have your say now! 1st: Clyde, 95pts It's hard to foresee anything other than a truly remarkable campaign for Clyde, given the coaching and playing staff they have assembled over the past eight months. They look well-stocked in every position and have such a variety and versatility in their ranks that you don't ever really see from sides at this level. Clyde will win the league this season. 2nd: Queen's Park, 70pts I don't think I'm exaggerating in the slightest when I say that anything other than an immediate promotion would be regarded as a spectacular failure for Queen's Park, a club which has won the Scottish Cup three more times than any other side in the division. Having undergone some serious squad surgery over the close-season, re-recruiting influential midfielder Jamie McKernon and signing Clyde reject Adam Martin and fellow Clyde reject Smarticor Osadolus, Gus MacPherson surely will have his eye on being "best of the rest". 3rd: Albion Rovers, 69pts It's been a long time since Clyde's junior revolution - I may only have been two years old at the time, but I remember vividly my confusion when Ronnie MacDonald signed almost an entire squad of Junior misfits. A few seasons later, though, and Clyde won promotion from what is now League 1. With the Junior game seemingly always a breeding ground for talent which has slipped through the net, and particularly strong of late, it looks like a shrewd strategy from those at Albion Rovers to hire a Junior manager and sign a raft of players from the less fashionable climes of the Western Region. Don't bet against them finishing second, either - Queen's Park have never had the happiest time against their local rivals! 4th: Edinburgh City, 68pts Edinburgh showed last season that they are no fools in the SPFL and are well worthy of their full member status. Meadowbank has become something of a fortress for City, who have added some real quality to their squad in the form of centre-back Conrad Balatoni and forward Danny Handling. I can see Edinburgh upsetting a lot of sides in this division, and not just because they frequently field a player known best for messaging wee girls asking for pictures of them at bath time. 5th: Peterhead, 66pts Peterhead are a club in total disarray right now, with allegations of disharmony throughout the club rife in the Northern press. No matter how much money they throw down the drain, season on season, their absolute donkey of a manager just can't seem to build a squad worthy of the sums spent. Their best player just signed for an Indian team which Stenhousemuir beat 6-0 last season - sore one! Play-offs a possibility, but we all know how that one ends. Sad! 6th: Stirling Albion, 65pts Don't have much to say about Stirling, really. They're just not very good and their fans seem to want some absolute chump taking them over without any investment of his own. Recipe for disaster. Would be sad to see them going to the wall. 7th: Annan Athletic, 64pts Hey, I don't mind Annan. They are a bunch of triers, but they regarded Jim Chapman as a good manager which is probably why they will never, ever, ever, ever achieve promotion. They're the sort of club the pyramid was brought in to body out of the league system, so I hope when the time comes they enjoy their derbies at Dalbeattie, Gala and Selkirk. 8th: Elgin Town, 63pts Shane Sutherland wants to leave, and, to be honest, he's the only Elgin player I've ever heard of. That can't be good news, IMO. Eighth might be a wee bit generous from me, actually. Also, Craig Beattie 9th: Berwick Rangers, 40pts As much as it hurts me to say this, I can't see my beloved Berwick doing much this year. Junior recruitment can be a risky strategy at the best of times, and with their new players coming exclusively from that level, I can only foresee a season of struggle (but ultimately safety) for our Bandit friends. Unless John Coughlin returns (and if you'll pardon the pun), it's only a matter of time until the Shielfield roof caves in. 10th: Cowdenbeath, 12pts Is it really a surprise? Cowdenbeath have continually brought optimism during recent close-seasons, fooling us all into thinking that maybe, just maybe, they would add something to Scottish football this year. But that's been about four years now, and all we've seen is consistent 10th-placed finishes, relegations, near-relegations and a multitude of Rangers-apologising from owner Donald Findlay QC, this year manifesting itself in deeply sectarian home socks. It's no surprise that this has been celebrated by their mutant fans in the same way Arlene Foster recently was in their village just weeks ago. Now, I thought until today that Cowdenbeath were in okay shape, and would be solid if unspectacular this season, but then I found out that they lost 2-1 to local rivals and what I've been reliably informed by @Brazilianlex is a "top 6 at best" Lowland League side. Given Cowden's troubles against sides at the level of the top of the Lowland League in their relegation play-offs, one can only surmise that this all points towards a massive season of struggle for the Blue Brazil. Have at it, folks! It's a strange one as the league is actually pretty predictable this year.
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