Brora Rangers pushed Highland League champions Cove Rangers all the way last season and Cattachs boss Steven Mackay is confident his side have what it takes launch a title charge this term.
The Dudgeon Park outfit scored 99 league goals last term, only one less than Cove, while both clubs conceded a miserly 12 goals but it was Cove who went on to claim the title by an eight point margin.
Mackay said: “Prior to last season, we were looking to finish as high as possible and improve on our sixth place the previous season.
“By changing our culture and our mentality, we did get close to Cove last term. Although we pushed them there was always a pretty comfortable gap between them and ourselves.
“Cove always had games in hand and we really needed to win the head-to-head games to put the pressure on them which we didn’t do, as both ended in goal-less draws.
“But to go from sixth to second was really pleasing and gives us a massive foundation to build on.”
Among the new arrivals at Dudgeon Park this season is former Ross County striker Greg Morrison and Mackay has high hopes for the 21-year-old.
He said: “I had kept tabs on Greg for a number of years. He picked up good experience in loan spells at Dumbarton and Elgin City.
“He will add great physicality and pace in attack and will give us a different dynamic.
“One of the most pleasing factors from last season was that we only conceded 12 goals in 34 matches. We defended superbly, from front to back.”
- Ground: Dudgeon Park
- Colours: Red and white
- Honours: Scottish Qualifying Cup 1979-80; North of Scotland Cup 1980-81, 1990-91, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-2017, 2017-2018; Inverness Cup 1994-95; Highland League champions 2013-14, 2014-15; Highland League Cup 2015-16
- Manager: Steven Mackay
- Season 18-19: Finished second
Brora striker Paul Brindle sees no reason why his side can’t go one better than last season’s second place.
The Cattachs will start among the favourites for the title after last season’s champions Cove won promotion to League 2.
Brindle, 26, said: “Cove Rangers deserved to go into the SPFL last term. Some may say that has given everyone else a chance but I felt we pretty much matched them in most departments.
“We got as close as anyone to them over the course of the last two seasons. We drew with them home and away and it was points we dropped earlier in the season which cost us dearly.
“I wouldn’t have been too upset if Cove had stayed in the Highland League but the fact they will be playing in League 2 this season opens it up for everyone else.
“We conceded only 12 goals and scored 99 times last season. In most seasons that would probably have won us the title but ultimately Cove were marginally better.
“We were rock solid at the back and impressive going forward, so if we carry that form into the new season I would really fancy our chances.”