THAT’S it! Another close season has come and gone and Forfar Athletic are about to embark on another adventure (writes Alan Ducat).
The first match of the 2011-2012 season takes place at Station Park this coming Saturday, when Highland League champions Buckie Thistle visit town for the opening round of the Ramsdens Cup.
The game is the first of five home Saturdays out of six for the Loons, with a Scottish Communities League Cup first round match at home to Peterhead the following Saturday (July 30) and then three out of the opening four league matches - against Cowdenbeath, Stenhousemuir and Airdrie United - also at Station Park.
Getting a few of the league matches played on a Saturday so early in the season will hearten the directors - especially after the past season when so many weekend games were knocked out by the wintry conditions.
And, the home draws in the cups simply adds to the value of a season ticket.
Forfar Athletic have yet win any of their pre-season friendly matches, but it’s something manager Dick Campbell is not too perturbed about.
The Forfar boss is focused on priming his players for the games that really matter - and there are definite signs of improvement as the new players begin to fit in at the club.
True, the Loons didn’t play all that well at home to Spartans last midweek, when they created very few clear-cut chances and lost to the only goal of the game scored by Omar Kadik in the 58th minute.
However, there was a much better display in the three-nil home reverse to a very strong Aberdeen side on Saturday, with Chris Hegarty, in particular, catching the eye in midfield.
The Dons took the lead courtesy of a rather soft penalty award in the first half, Scott Vernon netting after Mark McCulloch was judged to have impeded Mitch Megginson in the box, although many will argue the centre-back won the ball cleanly.
Forfar more than matched their full-time opponents for the remainder of the first period and well into the second period, before two more Dons goals, a Ryan Jack headed effort and a Robert Milson strike after getting the break of the ball in a race for possession with the Loons keeper, made it more comfortable for the Dons.
Forfar were due to take on first division Dundee this midweek, but the Dens Parkers have called off the game, and instead Forfar were preparing to take on Arbroath in a closed-doors match on Tuesday evening, just as the Dispatch and Herald was going to press.
The match will give Dick Campbell another opportunity to fine tune things ahead of the Ramsdens Cup challenge at home to Buckie Thistle.
The manager has signed former Raith Rovers defender Craig Wilson on a one-year deal, taking his squad to 17 - although others may come in before Saturday.