gallagher sm

EVERY summer, inevitably, brings a number of new signings with the excitement of possibly new heroes for the home fans.

Of course, there are occasions when players coming through the door have familiar faces, and Stranraer brought back three last week - with 515 appearances between them.

Grant Gallagher, Ryan Thomson and Scott Robertson are not the first players to return to Stair Park for a second spell, and we take a look back at five recent examples of those who enjoyed a second spell in the home dressing room.

Armand Oné

First spell: 61 appearances – 30 goals
Second spell: 17 appearances – 1 goal
Total: 78 appearances – 31 goals

armand one 6

THE striker was a hugely popular figure in both of his spells at Stair Park.

His record in that first spell – 61 appearances and 30 goals very much speaks for itself.

No stranger to Scottish football, having played with Livingston, Partick Thistle, Raith Rovers and Cowdenbeath, he returned north of the border in January 2010 having played with Gateshead.

It only took him four minutes to find the net against Montrose and he would go on to score another in the match, which finished 4-5 at Links Park.

Eight goals in the second half of the season was decent but it would be his second season where he really impressed. Hat-tricks against East Stirlingshire and St Cuthbert Wanderers helped him on his way to 27 goals before a move to Alloa.

However, things did not really work out there, with just a single goal.

The frontman made a surprise return under Stevie Aitken, with the Blues languishing towards the bottom of the table in October 2012. He returned for Aitken’s first game in charge, with Forfar the opponents and Stranraer would win 4-1.

Oné came off a bench which was made up of Dean Agnew, Robert Love, Max Wright and Russell Cadwell. He did not start a game until Alloa’s visit in the middle of December and was brought off for Michael Moore with 25 minutes to play.

Oné failed to hit the heights of his first time with the club but his experience proved vital in the run in. His one goal came away to Brechin City in a 2-2 draw with his strike partner Craig Malcolm also finding the net.

Oné’s final appearance in a Stranraer shirt was in the closing stages of the last game of the season, with Malcolm’s double helping Stranraer to victory – and safety.

Stephen Stirling

First spell: 33 appearances – 12 goals
Second spell: 53 appearances – 6 goals
Total: 86 appearances – 18 goals

steph stirling

CREATIVE midfielder joined the Blues in September 2011 in time for Elgin City’s trip to Stranraer.

Stirling would come off the bench for the final 32 minutes, replacing Danny Mitchell, as the hosts won 1-0, thanks to Nathan Shepherd’s strike.

It would prove a fruitful spell for Stirling, who joined the club after leaving Rangers.

December 2011 proved particularly successful with six goals in as many games, including a double in a 6-0 win over East Stirlingshire and a late, late winner against Peterhead. Twelve goals in 33 games caught the attention of other clubs and he would move on to Greenock Morton.

An injury disrupted his time at Cappielow and he rejoined the Blues at the end of January 2014. Stirling, who is now 29, would find the net for the first time in his second spell with the second goal in a 2-0 win over East Fife.

He never matched the dozen goals he scored in his first spell but he certainly proved a key component of Stevie Aitken’s side.

Perhaps one of the most memorable moments came against Brechin in August 2014. The Blues had trailed 2-0 at half time but bounced back with a double substitution. Adam Forde scored his first Stair Park goal before Stirling scored direct from a corner.

The midfielder would move on at the end of the campaign and join Stenhousemuir.

Martin Grehan

First spell: 34 appearances – 9 goals
Second spell: 48 appearances – 19 goals
Total: 82 appearances – 28 goals

Grehan 1

SIGNED for the Blues at the same time as Stephen Stirling and had a similarly impressive impact.

Played the final seven minutes against Elgin City after moving from Partick Thistle. Grabbed his first goals for Stranraer when he netted a double in the 9-0 win at Trammondford Park – where Sean Winter scored a treble.

Found the net five times in the league before notching up goals in the play-off semi-final with Queen’s Park and the play-off final with Albion Rovers. The Cliftonhill side would triumph on penalties and Grehan decided to move onto Alloa Athletic.

Nine goals for the Wasps was a decent return, but Grehan would soon be looking down the A77 as he returned after just a season away. The striker, now with BSC Glasgow, enjoyed, arguably, the season of his life.

A goal on his ‘second debut’ helped the Blues come from behind against Dumbarton to secure a 4-2 win. Four goals in four games at the end of August included the winner in a memorable triumph over Ross County.

Double over Ayr in the first game of 2014 was a big reason Stranraer won 4-0, with Sean Winter and Andy Stirling, who also had two spells with the Blues, also finding the target. Scored in 2-2 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup and hit a hat-trick away to Brechin City.

Finished the season with 19 goals before opting to move to Stenhousemuir.

Frank McKeown

franko sm

First spell: 172 appearances – 16 goals
Second spell: 18 appearances – 2 goals
Total: 190 appearances – 18 goals

POPULAR defender and captain made the step up from junior side Arthurlie to join Stranraer in the summer of 2011.

Missed the season’s opener – an 8-0 defeat to Greenock Morton – before coming into the team at Palmerston Park, where the hosts won 2-1 despite a goal from Grant Gallagher.

Became a mainstay in the Stair Park defence, making 41 appearances and missing just three other games. First season in senior football also included four goals, including in the first leg of the play-off final against Albion Rovers. Continued to be a vital part of the Stranraer defence but played what looked to have been his final game for the Blues in May 2015 as they lost to Forfar Athletic in more play-off heartache.

Like Stephen Stirling, his move to Greenock Morton was wrecked by injury but he returned to Stair Park under Brian Reid in the summer of 2016.

Was one of three big signings for the campaign – alongside Christian Nadé and Scott Agnew – and scored alongside Nadé in victory over Annan Athletic on the opening day of the new season. Followed that up with goal against East Stirlingshire in the very next game.

Unfortunately, things did not work out for McKeown, who made his final appearance for the club in a 2-1 win over Airdrie on Christmas Eve.

Moved on to Alloa Athletic before leaving the Wasps in 2018.

Craig Malcolm

First spell: 125 appearances – 60 goals
Second spell: 125 appearances – 44 goals
Total: 250 appearances – 104 goals

Malky 1

STRANRAER’S second top goalscorer of all time, like McKeown, made the step up from Arthurlie.

Enjoyed a dream start to his league career with the Blues, with goals in five consecutive games. Also demonstrated fine form in the Scottish Cup with a treble against St Cuthbert Wanderers followed by a double against Girvan and a goal against Stenhousemuir.

Fifteen goals in his debut season was a sign of what was to come and Malcolm would bag 60 goals in 125 games, including a double against Stenhousemuir at the end of the 2012/13 season, which secured League One safety.

A single season at Ayr United saw a return of nine goals, including a hat-trick against East Fife, but he was brought ‘home’ by Stevie Aitken.

Scored a late winner over East Fife in the League Cup to get the first goal of his second spell at the club. Formed a memorable partnership with Jamie Longworth, with the two frontmen scoring 26 goals between them, as the Blues finished second in League One.

Continued to be a reliable source of goals under both Brian Reid and Stevie Farrell and notched up his 100th for the club in a 2-0 victory over Brechin City. Finished his time at the club with a goal in a 2-1 win over East Fife on the final day of the season

A spell at Alloa Athletic followed, and he is now at East Kilbride, where he reformed his partnership with Longworth to lift the Lowland League title.

Squad 2020/21

Ayrton Sonkur (DEF, Annan), Jamie Walker (GK, Kilmarnock), Thomas Orr (STR, BSC Glasgow), Kieran Millar (MID, Airdrieonians), Ruari Paton (STR, East Kilbride), Darryl Duffy (STR, Stirling Albion), Greg Fleming (GK, Peterhead)

RETURNING: Adam Cummins (DEF), Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID), Grant Gallagher (MID), Scott Robertson (DEF), Cameron Elliott (MID/STR), Connor McManus (MID), James Hilton (MID), Lewis McIntyre (DEF)

OUT: Ryan Thomson (Darvel), Max Currie (Airdrieonians), Dale Burgess (Beith), Jordan Allan (Darvel), Lee Hamilton, David Smith.

LOAN ENDED: Denny Johnstone, Carlo Pignatiello, Joao Victoria