FFF Firsts WSTEVIE Farrell takes charge of his first game as Stranraer manager tomorrow (Saturday) when the Blues head to East Fife. Obviously, all Stranraer fans are hoping Farrell gets off to a good start.

We look at how the last five managers have got on when they have taken charge of the Blues for the first time.
Chris Aitken
v Aberdeen (21/1/17) Aberdeen 4 (Rooney x2 and McGinn x2) Stranraer 0

IT seems like just last week that Chris Aitken was taking charge of his first game as Stranraer boss...

The assistant manager became caretaker boss for one game following the departure of Brian Reid and Aitken could not have asked for a much harder tie than a trip to Pittodrie. Stranraer's visit to the Granite City was their first in more than 20 years and only the fifth ever meeting between the two teams.

Aberdeen had emerged victorious in all four previous games without conceding a goal and they kept up their 100 per cent record.

The Blues held out until half an hour was played before Adam Rooney fired home but Niall McGinn quickly doubled the advantage five minutes later. Stranraer's chances of causing an upset were looking slim and they were fully extinguished five minutes after the restart when Rooney netted his second, this time from the penalty spot.

McGinn put the icing on the cake four minutes later, but it was goalkeeper Cameron Belford who drew plenty of admiring glances after a number of top quality saves.

Stranraer: Belford, Barron (Turner 57), Dick, Neill, Robertson, Bell, Thomson (Morena 73), Agnew, Gibson, McGuigan (Wilson 64), Malcolm.  Not used: Whittaker, Maley and Currie.
Brian Reid
v Queen of the South (25/7/15)  Queen of the South 2 (Lyle and Conroy) Stranraer 0

BRIAN Reid returned to his old club on the opening day of last season in the first round of the League Challenge Cup.

There were debuts for five players with Conor Brennan, Dale Keenan, Ryan Thomson, Paul Cairney and Mark McGuigan all featuring from the kick-off. On the bench, there were also new faces in player/assistant manager Lee Mair and Max Currie, as well as two trialists.

Stranraer had shouts for a penalty early doors when Jordan Marshall brought down Craig Malcolm but referee Bobby Madden ruled the offence had taken place just outside the box. Instead, it would be the Doonhamers who opened the scoring after 20 minutes when Derek Lyle nodded home from close range.

That was all that separated the two sides until injury time though. The game was wrapped up when Ryan Conroy curled home a free-kick from just outside the box after he had been hauled down by Scott Rumsby.

Stranraer: Brennan, Pettigrew, Rumsby, Robertson, Keenan, Thomson, Bell, Cairney (Longworth 53), Stirling, McGuigan, Malcolm (A Trialist 79).  Not used: Mair, Aitken, McCloskey, B Trialist and Currie.
Stevie Aitken
v Forfar Athletic (27/10/12)  Stranraer 4 (Malcolm x2, C Aitken and McKeown) Forfar Athletic 1 (Denholm)

THE Blues came into the game on the back of a five-match losing run, which saw them take the decision to replace Keith Knox.

Stevie Aitken was handed the perfect start when Craig Malcolm scored with just four minutes on the clock. The frontman and Ryan Borris were initially denied by Derek Soutar but Malcolm was on hand to fire home at the second attempt.

It was far from plain sailing though with Forfar awarded a penalty just minutes later after Michael Dunlop brought down Omar Kader. David Mitchell saved Iain Campbell's spot kick but Danny Denholm fired in before the half hour mark to bring the scores level.

The turning point came five minutes before the break when Malcolm turned provider for Chris Aitken, who smashed home from inside the box. The game was put to bed with 20 minutes left when Malcolm capitalised on some desperate defending and Frank McKeown's stoppage time strike wrapped up an impressive win.

Stranraer: Mitchell, Staunton, Kinnaird, McKeown, Dunlop, Gallagher, Winter (Love 89), Aitken, Moore (One 78), Malcolm, Borris (Wright 14).  Not used: Agnew and Cadwell.
Keith Knox
v Queen's Park (31/1/09)  Queen's Park 1 (Douglas) Stranraer 1 (Frizzell)

UNSURPRISINGLY, Keith Knox made a number of changes in his first game as Stranraer manager.

The Blues had come into the game without a win since October and on the back of an 8-2 thumping by Stirling Albion, who featured future Blues in Paul Murphy, David McKenna and Martin Grehan, the latter of whom scored a hat-trick.

Knox brought in Scott Black, Kevin Nicoll, Craig Frizzell and Stuart McColm and it was Frizzell who gave the new manager a dream start when he headed home James McKinstry's cross after just quarter of an hour.

Stephen McConalogue could have doubled the lead but there was to be no dream debut for the new manager as the Spiders, featuring Paul Cairney, pulled level in the last minute. Barry Douglas, who is likely one of the few Scottish players to have won the Polish League and Cup, scored late on.

Stranraer: Black, McKinstry, Kane, Nicoll, Noble, Mitchell, McColm (Mutch 20), Gibson (Cooksley 77), McBride, Frizzell (Connolly 64), McConalogue.  Not used: Warner.
Derek Ferguson
v Forfar Athletic (2/2/08)  Stranraer 2 (Tade and Gibson) Forfar Athletic 1 (Duell)

GERRY Britton may not have been universally loved by the Stranraer fans but it was still a bit of a shock when he left for Partick Thistle early in 2008.

He had recently won the Manager of the Month award and had strengthened his squad as they attempted to bounce back to the Second Division. Ian Dobbins and Steven Noble had only recently joined the club, and Dobbins made his debut under Ferguson at home to Forfar.

Gregory Tade opened the scoring against his former club after less than quarter of an hour before Andy Gibson doubled the advantage with 13 minutes left. Bryan Duell immediately reduced the deficit but Ferguson was off to a winning start.

The Blues would only taste defeat in three of Ferguson's 16 league games in charge that season but would lose out in the play-off final before being promoted following the demise of Gretna.

Stranraer: Black, McLauchlan, McKinstry, Dobbins, Bonar (Kane 68), White, Mitchell, Gibson, Tade, Mullen (Gribben 76), Cashmore (McConalogue 62).  Not used: Noble and A Ferguson.

31 East Fife FB

League table

1 Albion Rovers 0 0
2 Annan Athletic 0 0
3 Brechin City 0 0
4 Cowdenbeath 0 0
5 Edinburgh City 0 0
6 Elgin City 0 0
7 Queen's Park 0 0
8 Stenhousemuir 0 0
9 Stirling Albion 0 0
10 Stranraer 0 0

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), Sean Burns (DEF, Stenhousemuir)

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), Joao Victoria (MID/STR), Andy Stirling (MID)

OUT: Ryan Thomson (Darvel), Max Currie (Airdrieonians), Dale Burgess (Beith), Jordan Allan (Darvel), Lee Hamilton (Edinburgh City), David Smith, Denny Johnstone (loan ended), Carlo Pignatiello (loan ended), Ryan Stevenson

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