Dumbarton fully fit and confident ahead of Stirling Albion playoff meeting

Dumbarton 0-0 Stirling Albion (SPFL League Two, April 18 2023) Finlay Gray
Finlay Gray challenges the Binos Kieran Moore during a meeting of the sides in League Two last season. -Credit:Phil Dawson

Stevie Farrell had one set of eyes on play-off rivals Peterhead on Saturday - and two on Sons’ other potential opponents.

Defeat at Balmoor set up a play-off meeting with last season’s League Two champions Stirling Albion at The Rock tonight (Tuesday), with tight battles at the top of League Two and foot of League One meaning that none of the four clubs involved knew who they’d face until 5pm on Saturday evening.

Boss Farrell had Spartans watched in their game with East Fife, whilst also having scouts take in the crunch League One clash between Stirling Albion and Annan Athletic.

And he’s now confident his side will be a match for the Binos, as they look to make it third time lucky in this season’s play-offs.

In Farrell’s first season the Sons were relegated via the play-offs by Edinburgh City, whilst last season they fell at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Annan Athletic.

But after a strong end to the season, the boss believes his side are better placed to challenge for a return to League One.

Stirling winning Scottish league Two
The Binos pipped the Sons to last season's League Two title. -Credit:Stirling Observer

He said: “This year we’ve focused on us and making sure we’re going into the play-offs in the right mindset.

“On our day we’ve proved we’re a match for anyone. If we play like we did in the first-half at Peterhead we’d struggle in any game. If we play like we did in the second-half then we’d win most.

“We’re used to winning games of football and not getting beaten. We’ve got that in our armoury.

“A couple of years ago we were the team in second bottom and not used to winning games. What we have now is a different pressure, but we’re looking forward to the game.

“There’s a real positivity and excitement heading into the play-offs. And I think you can feel that about the place.

“The team is playing well, we’re getting results and we have a strong, fit and healthy squad.

“Saturday’s game didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, ultimately it was about the bigger picture. And it’s been like that for three weeks. We’ve managed the squad well and rotated a lot of players to spell gametime.”

Peterhead 2-1 Dumbarton (SPFL League Two, 4 May 2024): Michael Ruth on the charge
Sons named a heavily rotated side in Saturday's defeat to Peterhead. -Credit:Lennox Herald

And with Albion now confirmed as the opposition, the boss continued: “We knew that we could play any one of four teams. And that was the biggest issue. I needed to get all the other three watched whilst we played against Peterhead.

“That’s how tight the league is and that’s testament to ourselves, Spartans and Peterhead and how equally matched we’ve been.

“We’re unbeaten in 25 games - and it’s been another good campaign. There’s been a real consistency. That’s testament to the squad, they’ve been up there all season.”

Key to Sons’ chances could be utility man Carlo Pignatiello, named in this season’s PFA League Two Team of the Year.

The boss added: “Carlo should’ve been in the running for Player of the Year. I’m very surprised he wasn’t.

“But we know we have quality right throughout the squad.”

Kick off at The Rock tonight (Tuesday) is 7.45pm.