Midfielder Paul Woods believes Stranraer will be stronger with a year’s experience.
Jamie Hamill’s first season in the managerial hot seat at Stair Park was met with plenty of challenges.
Much of the youthful looking squad has followed the manager into a second season at the club, along with the expected new faces.
Woods, who was one of the standouts last term, felt the club was heading in the right direction ahead of the first game of the season with Queen’s Park.
He said: “The gaffer managed to keep a good few of us.
“We have got a year under our belts and are looking to push on again.
“The league is going to be so tight, it looks as if it is going to be tight again, but we are pretty confident.
“We have been playing some good stuff in pre-season and we will be looking to take that into the cup games and get a good start in the league.
“We have got a good group of boys and that always helps when you are looking to achieve something.”
The manager would be the first to admit the squad is still a work in progress.
Work is still going on behind the scenes in a bid to identify and secure the players to build on last season, which saw the Blues finish just outside the play-offs.
Saturday’s opponents are also looking to strengthen as they look to kick-off the new season in style.
Woods is no stranger to the club having spent three seasons with Queen’s Park before moving to Stranraer in 2017.
Plenty has changed for the Hampden Park side in the five years since his departure.
He said: “I loved Queen’s Park.
“Gus MacPherson signed a lot of Junior players, people going into their first year in senior football.
“We did really well under Gus and we had a really good group of boys.
“We were, obviously, on expenses and amateur contracts and it has changed quite bit in the way they are going.
“A lot of people that were there, even guys like the kitman, have changed.
“It has obviously changed quite a lot but that happens given where they are looking to get to.
“I would not change it for the time I had though.”
Queen’s Park 0-1 Stranraer
A goal from Matty Yates gave Stranraer a deserved victory at The Falkirk Stadium.
Ruari Paton struck the post in the opening six minutes with a shot from outside the box.
Then, an impressive save from Queen’s Park goalkeeper Ryan Mullen denied Joao Victoria after a great bit of play involving James Hilton and Yates.
The third time would be the charm though as Yates seized on a loose back pass. He beat replacement goalkeeper Jacques Hegarty to the ball, skipped round him and his shot had just enough to beat the two retreating defenders.
Queen’s Park: Mullen (Hegarty 25), Robson, Kilday, Morrison, Doyle, Galt (Connell 65), Lyon, Biggar (MacLean 65), Carroll (McHugh 78), Longridge, Baynham (Kouider-Aisser 65).
Not used: Paterson, Gillies and Gillespie.
Stranraer: Fleming, Robertson, Sonkur, Hamill, McManus, Hilton (Stirling 77), Gallagher (Devitt 46), Millar, Victoria, Paton (Elliott 89), Yates (Orr 76).
Not used: Taylor, Duffy, Josh Walker and Jamie Walker.
Last five meetings
- Queen’s Park 0 Stranraer 1 (Yates) at The Falkirk Stadium on April 23, 2021
- Queen’s Park 3 Stranraer 0 (Doyle, Kilday and McHugh (Pen)) at Hampden Park on March 20, 2021
- Stranraer 0 Queen’s Park 1 (MacLean) at Stair Park on October 31, 2020
- Stranraer 2 Queen’s Park 3 (Robertson and Agnew (Pen); Keena x2 and Burns) at Stair Park on March 17, 2018
- Queen’s Park 2 Stranraer 2 (Donnelly and Cummins (Pen); Beith and Turner) at Hampden Park on January 6, 2018
Last five games
- WIN v Elgin City (H): 2-0 (Yates and Ellis (Pen))
- WIN v Stenhousemuir (A): 1-3 (Ross and Hilton x2)
- LOSS v Kelty Hearts (H): 0-3
- WIN v Albion Rovers (A): 0-5 (Yates, Muir, Sonkur, Ross and Woods)
- LOSS v Forfar Athletic (H): 0-2
- WIN v Airdrieonians (A): 1-2 (Smith and Murray (Pen))
- DRAW v Airdrieonians (H): 1-1 (Murray)
- WIN v Dunfermline Athletic (A): 0-1 (Murray)
- DRAW v Dunfermline Athletic (H): 0-0
- DRAW v Falkirk (H): 1-1 (Quitongo)
Last time out
Stranraer v Elgin City: Scullion, Robertson (Woods 60), Burns, Sonkur, Ross (Ellis 69), McIntosh, Brady (Smith 74), Gallagher, Hilton (Hawkshaw 73), Walker (Muir 60), Yates.
Not used: Mullen and Watson.
Airdrieonians v Queen’s Park: Ferrie, Robson, Grant (Kilday 98), Fox, Doyle, Lyon (Thomson 78), Brown, Smith, Connell (Quitongo 89), Longridge (McHugh 68), Murray.
Not used: Davidson, Longstaff, McBride, Darcy and Hegarty.
1. Since Stranraer last played Queen’s Park a lot has changed. Both teams have changed manager with Owen Coyle replacing Laurie Ellis in charge of the Spiders while Jamie Hamill stepped up after Stevie Farrell’s departure. Even the ‘home’ venue for Queen’s Park has changed, with the last contest at The Falkirk Stadium and this season’s home encounters at Ochilview.
2. The last cup encounter between the two sides came in the Scottish Cup in 2012. The first game finished 1-1 at Stair Park with Craig Malcolm cancelling out David Anderson’s opener. The replay was a much more one-sided affair as Sean Winter scored a hat-trick and Chris Aitken found the net in a 4-0 win. The Hampden hosts included future Scotland internationals Andy Robertson and Lawrence Shankland.
3. That victory was not Stranraer’s biggest at Hampden Park since the turn of the millennium, though. They were 5-2 winners at the national stadium in February 2010. The Blues led 3-1 at the break thanks to goals from Stuart McColm, Scott Agnew and Armand One. Danny Mitchell scored after the break and Agnew added his second in the closing stages. Martin McBride and Michael Daly scored for the home team.
4. Queen’s Park have lost just one out of five of their last visits to Stair Park. The one home win came courtesy of goals from Grant Anderson, Steven Bell and Ryan Wallace in November 2017. The visiting team contained a few familiar faces with Adam Cummins, Sean Burns, Luke Donnelly, Anton Brady and Tom Orr all featuring.
5. Brady is yet to score for the Blues at Stair Park but did score for the Hampden club at the Wigtownshire ground in 2016. His goal came from the centre circle when he scored past Cameron Belford. The Stranraer team that day was: Belford, Robertson, Dick, McKeown (Morena 55), Watt, Bell, Agnew, Turner, C Thomson, R Thomson (McGuigan 77), Malcolm. Not used: Ewing, Sherry, Nadé and Currie.