New Dundas Park marks the venue where it appeared Luke Scullion’s season was over.
The goalkeeper suffered a broken collarbone on Stranraer’s visit to face Bonnyrigg Rose two days before Christmas last year.
Initial reports suggested he would not feature again this season but the 21-year-old made a welcome return to the bench away to Annan Athletic last weekend.
He said: “It has been a very long three months.
“To be honest, I thought it was going to be longer.
“It did not look right but that is how it is going to be.
“It is not the same being on the sidelines.
“You still want the boys to do well though, even when you are not in the team.”
Scullion had been a virtual ever-present in Jamie Hamill’s side until his injury in Midlothian on December 23.
The injury, which is the third serious injury in Scullion’s fledgling career, came during the second half.
Stranraer’s defence could only put a loose ball into the air, which saw Scullion race from his goal in a bid to beat Kieran Mitchell to the ball.
The two players would collide and Scullion admitted he knew straight away something was broken.
The former Partick Thistle shotstopper was lying on the turf for a lengthy period of time before being stretchered off the park.
George O’Connor came on to face the resultant penalty while his team-mate was initially presented with the choice of whether to head straight to hospital or head home and then on for treatment.
However, he said: “A paramedic said I would not make it home on the bus without medication.
“So, I went to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
“My mum had to come through from Paisley to get me.
“Any Christmas night out was cancelled there and then for me!”
Now, back involved with the squad, Scullion is hoping to help the club finish the season strongly.
Stranraer retain an outside chance of timing their sprint finish perfectly as they look to reach the promotion play-offs.
Six games of the season remain but the goalkeeper insisted the squad was not looking beyond a trip to south of the capital.
He said: “It has got to be one game at a time.”
Stranraer 0-1 Bonnyrigg Rose
A late strike from Alieu Faye gave Bonnyrigg Rose all three points in a basement battle at Stair Park.
Dylan Forrest was booked for a challenge in the opening stages and that would come back to haunt the midfielder after the break.
The visitors were given the chance to break the deadlock from the penalty spot after Kyle Girvan was ruled to have committed a foul on Kieran Mitchell. The Midlothian side had scored from the spot in the previous two meetings but Matty Connelly – the third goalkeeper to face a penalty in the games between the two sides – was equal to Neil Martyniuk’s effort.
Stranraer started the second half better but were then reduced to 10 men when Forrest picked up his second yellow card.
It looked as if the Blues would hold on for a point but Connelly failed to deal with a looping effort and Faye blasted home from barely a couple of yards.
Stranraer: M Connelly, Girvan, Ross, Ecrepont, McIntosh, Robertson (Brady 85), Gallagher, Grant, Walker (Watt 78), Forrest, Duffy (Malcolm 67).
Not used: Ellis, Dunn, Eze and O’Connor.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Martin, Young, Horne, Grigor, Brett, Martyniuk, Stewart (Faye 81), Arnott (R Gray 74), C Connelly, Murray (Smith 74), Mitchell.
Not used: McGale, Doan, S Gray, Barrett and Andrews.
- Stranraer 0 Bonnyrigg Rose 1 (Faye) at Stair Park on February 11, 2023
- Bonnyrigg Rose 3 Stranraer 2 (R Gray, Mitchell and Martyniuk (Pen); Walker and Watt) at New Dundas Park on December 23, 2022
- Stranraer 2 Bonnyrigg Rose 2 (Own goal and Walker; Smith and Currie (Pen)) at Stair Park on August 13, 2022
Last five games
- DRAW v Annan Athletic (A): 0-0
- WIN v Albion Rovers (A): 0-1 (Ngandu)
- DRAW v Stirling Albion (H): 1-1 (Robertson)
- LOSS v Dumbarton (H): 0-2
- WIN v East Fife (H): 2-0 (Grant and Hilton)
- WIN v Albion Rovers (A): 0-1 (Mitchell)
- DRAW v East Fife (H): 1-1 (Connelly)
- LOSS v Stirling Albion (A): 2-1 (Connelly)
- WIN v Elgin City (A): 0-1 (Young)
- DRAW v Forfar Athletic (H): 1-1 (McGachie)
Last time out
Annan Athletic v Stranraer: O’Connor, Girvan, Ecrepont, Watt, McIntosh, Robertson, Gallagher, Brown (Hilton 67), Grant, Walker (Malcolm 89), Forrest (Ngandu 67).
Not used: Brady, Duffy and Scullion.
Albion Rovers v Bonnyrigg Rose: Martin, Young, Horne, Grigor, Brett, Currie, R Gray (Arnott 76), Rodden (Martyniuk 84), Connelly, McGachie (Murray 84), Mitchell (Faye 89).
Not used: Kane, Stewart, McGale, S Gray and Andrews.
1. Recently-appointed Kilwinning Rangers manager and former Stranraer favourite Chris Aitken celebrates his 42nd birthday. Brother of fellow Stranraer midfielder Stevie, Chris made his debut against former club Greenock Morton, with the Cappielow side winning 8-0. Thankfully, things would improve and ‘Tiff’ would go on to make 151 appearances and score 33 goals. His final appearance was a last minute cameo against Cowdenbeath in April 2016, before spending four years as assistant manager at Stair Park.
2. Avoiding defeat at New Dundas Park would take Stranraer’s unbeaten run to four games. That would be the club’s best run of form since November 2020 to January 2021. Then, Stevie Farrell’s side went 11 games unbeaten, with defeats to Queen’s Park bookending the run.
3. James Hilton made his return from injury last weekend against Annan Athletic. He is the club’s top scorer with eight this season. He needs one more goal to become the top scorer under Jamie Hamill’s management. Hilton scored three last term after returning from Edinburgh City, while Paul Woods scored five last term and six this season leaving both players on 11 goals.
4. It is 17 years since Stranraer last travelled away from home on April Fools Day. On that occasion, a Jason Scotland hat-trick helped St Johnstone to a 3-2 win. Future Blue Ryan Stevenson stepped off the bench for the Perth side while Willie Martin and David Hamilton scored for Stranraer. The visiting team to McDiarmid Park was: Corr, Wingate, Keddie, Swift, Payne, Henderson, Hamilton, McPhee (Gilfillan 50), Aitken, Harty, Martin (Maisano 62). Not used: Sharp and Morrison.
5. Bonnyrigg Rose represent the only team in League Two Stranraer have not defeated this season.
Photos: Bill McCandlish