The 2016/17 season saw Forfar Boys lift four top flight trophies, while Dundee West won the lower league title and cup. Ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 campaign, YFS looks at some of the teams that will be in the hunt for silverware, and those plying their trade in the top flight for the first time.
D S Rennie League
The Reigning Champions – Forfar Boys
Coming off the back of a historical quadruple winning season, there is a sense that the only way is down for Forfar Boys. While winning four trophies may be a bridge too far this season, they will certainly be at the top end of the league table and are more than capable of defending their domestic cups. The fact is that these boys have already created history, and anything they do in the coming seasons will only add to their status.
A Point to Prove – Celtic Boys and Fairmuir
Celtic Boys and Fairmuir finished second and third last season, and both will be looking to knock Forfar off their perch this year.
Celtic reached the semi-finals of both local cup competitions last year, and despite coming up short on both occasions, the big game experience will benefit for the upcoming campaign. If they can learn from their experiences last season, then there is no reason they can’t go and lift silverware this year.
As for Fairmuir, they were the top team this age group had to offer at seven-a-side, but couldn’t transfer their dominance to the 11-a-side pitch. While a third-place finish is nothing to be scoffed at, they have the players in their squad to go and mount a title challenge and reach the latter rounds of the cup competitions. Whether they can fulfil their potential is yet to be seen.
The New Boys – Dundee West, ACSC and Brechin
Dundee West, ACSC and Brechin made up the top three in last season’s second tier, and they will all experience top flight football for the first time.
Of all the three promoted clubs, Dundee West look most likely to thrive in the top league. Having completed a league and cup double, it’s clear they know how to win games and will fancy themselves to beat most teams in the D S Rennie League. While the league title may be a step to far this season, they will believe they have a real chance of lifting one of the cups this year.
ACSC were runners up to Dundee West and had a fine season in 2016/17. They certainly have the players to compete in the top league, and will cause problems for all the sides they face this season.
As for Brechin, last season saw them finish third in the league and reach the final of the Brown Cup. They had one of the best defensive records in the J Clenaghan League last year, and will need to continue that form if they are to beat the drop this season.
The Dark Horses – Kirrie Thistle
Kirrie finished fourth in the league last year, but were 11 points behind Fairmuir in third when the season ended. They caused problems for every team they faced last year and will certainly play a role in deciding where the league title resides come the seasons end.
Watson McInally League
Dropping Down and Stepping Up – Dryburgh Athletic and St Andrews Colts
Both Dryburgh and St Andrews Colts were relegated to the Watson McInally League this season after finishing bottom and second bottom last season.
Dryburgh won just once in the league last season, and generally had a miserable time in the top flight. However, the drop down may prove to be a blessing for them, as they come up against a lower quality of opponent. If they can pick up the winning habit, then a quickfire return to the top flight may be on the cards.
St Andrews Colts can count themselves quite unfortunate to have been relegated. The Ross Ballantine Cup finalists were relegated on goal difference, finishing with a goal difference two worse than eighth place Ferry Athletic. Despite this, they have some talented players at their disposal, and will certainly be in contention for the league title and the Mac Brown Cup.
The Title Contenders – Riverside CSC
Riverside finished in fourth place last year, and look capable of mounting another title challenge this year. If they can turn a few of their five defeats from last season into wins, then there’s a good chance that this will be their year.
The New Boys – St Murdochs
The newest team in the 2004 age group is St Murdochs. They are very much an unknown quantity, but of course they will be aiming to finish as high in the league as possible. Based on the form of older St Murdochs teams, they will certainly pose a threat in this league.
The Dark Horses – Maryfield
Maryfield started the 2016/17 season brightly, and looked like mounting a promotion push in the opening weeks of the season. In the end, they finished the season mid table, but if they can keep a little more consistency this season, they should finish higher in the league this time around.