Scottish Championship 2019/20 Preview: The battle of Dundee?
Dundee boss James McPake will be aiming for promotion this season. Source: Gettyimages/David Young

Alloa Athletic

It is set to be a very tough campaign for Alloa

In the 2018/19 season, The Wasps finished in 8th place. This was a tremendous achievement for the only part-time side in the league and as a result, boss Jim Goodwin was rewarded with the offer of becoming St Mirren boss - which he accepted.

Peter Grant has been named as Goodwin's successor at the Indodrill Stadium and his aim for the season will be to avoid that dreaded 12th spot.

It may be easier to avoid automatic relegation this season thanks to the addition of another part-time team, Arbroath, to the league. However, it will be very difficult for Grant's men to avoid the heroics of last season and it looks likely that they will finish in the relegation playoff spot. 

Grant secured victories over Arbroath and Stirling in the Betfred Cup, but the Wasps also lost to Hibs and Elgin in the same competition.

Robert Thomson and Andy Stirling both appear to be solid additions on paper but the part-timers' squad appears too thin to really try and push for a mid-table finish.

Avoiding the bottom two places would be a job well done by Grant in his first season.

Arbroath

Abroath shocked everyone in Scotland when they absolutely romped League 1 last season.

Dick Campbell's men shrugged full-timers Raith Rovers aside and won the title and as a result, secured promotion to the Championship.

However, the chances of repeating the feat this season are pretty much non-existent.

That isn't being disrespectful to the Red Lichties, it is merely a statement based on the resources they have available compared to the other sides in the division.

Their main focus for this season will be survival and they will be aiming to try and finish above fellow part-time side Alloa. 

It would not be a surprise to see Campbell's men finish as the best part-time team in the division but it would require an incredible level of consistency.

Bobby Linn will be hoping he can continue the form that won him the League 1 Player of The Year Award last season and if he can then the Red Lichties may manage to stay in the division. 

Ayr United

Ayr United looked as though they were going to win the title at a point last season. However, a collapse in January saw them settle for a playoff place. 

Ian McCall would be delighted if they could clinch a playoff place this time around given the fact they have lost key players in Lawrence Shankland and Declan McDaid

Robbie Crawford and Michael Rose have also departed the Honest Men and they played a crucial part in their great performances in the 18/19 season.

It will be a big challenge to secure a playoff place this season but McCall will be hoping that new signing Kris Doolan can help fire the Somerset Park side to success. 

A mid-table finish would be acceptable, however, any lower than 8th will be viewed as a major disappointment. 

Dundee

Championship new boys Dundee will be aiming to bounce back up at the first time of asking under the guidance of new boss James McPake.

McPake may be a rookie in management but he can rely on the help of ex-Celtic and Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, who has been appointed in a technical role.

The Dens Park side appear to have recruited well on paper. Shaun Byrne will add steel to the middle of the park and Jordon Forster and Jordan McGhee should provide a solid defensive base. 

Danny Johnson will get goals at this level as demonstrated with a goal on his debut versus Inverness in the Betfred Cup. 

There is no doubt that Dundee will be aiming to win the title this season and their main challenge will come in the form of their rivals and neighbours Dundee United, however, the Dens Park side will pip the Arabs to the title in my opinion.

A playoff place would be okay provided they go on and get promoted via this route but failure to get promoted this season will be a huge disappointment for the Dee.

Dundee United

There is no way to hide from the fact that Dundee United have spent far too long in the Championship.

Robbie Neilson's men nearly ended a three-year absence from the top flight last season but they narrowly lost out due to a defeat on penalties in the playoff final against St Mirren. 

A whole host of players such as Fraser Fyvie, Billy King, Christopher Rabitsch, Callum Booth and Aidan Nesbitt have departed Tannadice.

These departures have allowed Neilson to stretch the budget to sign quality players such as Lawrence Shankland. 

Shankland will be key to any success the Arabs will have this season and fans will be hoping he can show the form that he showed with fellow Championship side Ayr in the 18/19 season.

On paper, city rivals Dundee do have a stronger looking squad than United and as a result, they may just edge it in the battle for the title. However, Neilson's men will not go down without a fight and it is set to be a terrific battle for that top spot. 

Dunfermline

Dunfermline finished the 2018/19 season in seventh place and they will be hoping to finish slightly higher this time around. However, it appears unlikely that they will be troubling anyone for a playoff place or higher. 

Stevie Crawford's side has a new look about it this season. The Pars have snatched prolific striker Kevin Nisbett from Fife rivals Raith Rovers and if the youngster can perform the way he did in Kirkcaldy then the Pars have won a watch. 

Aaron Comrie, Paul Paton, and Ryan Dow have also joined the East End Park side and all three bring crucial experience, having played in the Scottish Premiership. 

Kyle Turner may also prove to be a big player for the Pars this season after joining from League 1 side Stranraer. The young midfielder regularly caught the eye during his time at Stair Park and is one to keep an eye on.

Overall, a mid-table finish would be deemed acceptable for the Pars this season and it looks likely. 

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Inverness may have an outside chance of winning the title this season, however, a playoff place looks much more likely.

John Robertson has lost several important players including Liam Polworth and Joe Chalmers. However, the signings of James Keatings and Nikolai Todorov will provide added firepower to the Caley squad alongside Jordan White.

The return of Scottish Cup-winning hero James Vincent is also welcome and Robertson will hope that he can help put his experience to good use.

Caley could prove to be the 'best of the rest' this season and may challenge for second if they can remain consistent. Last season they proved they were a hard side to beat but they failed to win too many games.

If they can transform draws into wins this season then they will be a threat at the top end of the table.

Greenock Morton  

Morton fans were largely disappointed by their 2018/19 season and rightfully so.

The side were a bit of a shambles and until the arrival of Greg Kiltie on loan from Kilmarnock in January, the Cappielow side looked in danger of going down.

Despite a poor season, they still managed to finish 5th and Ton fans will be hoping that new boss David Hopkin can help push them on this season and potentially secure a playoff spot. 

It has been a wild pre-season in Greenock. 12 players have departed and 14 players have arrived. 

One arrival that may prove to be an important player is midfielder Kyle Jacobs. Jacobs, who's brother Keighan plays for Livingston, has joined the Ton from Queen of The South where he was regarded as one of the better midfielders in the Championship.

He has Premiership experience with Kilmarnock and Hopkin will be hoping he can add drive and energy to the midfield. 

A mid-table finish seems the most likely outcome for Morton this season, however, if the new signings can click together quickly then they may have a chance of snatching a playoff spot. 

Partick Thistle 

Partick Thistle left it very late to secure Championship survival in the 18/19 campaign and Gary Caldwell's men will be aiming for a much better season this time around.

There has been a raft of departures and additions at Firhill over the summer. 

Christie Elliot and Chris Doolan both ended long associations with the club, much to the disappointment of many fans whilst promising youngster Aidan Fitzpatrick left to join Norwich

Blair Spittal and Souley Coulibaly also left the Jags and they have been replaced by veteran striker Kenny Miller and ex-Ross County and Livingston winger Rafa De Vita.

Caldwell's men have enjoyed a good Betfred Cup campaign so far and have defeated Airdrieonians, Queens Park and Clyde, whilst they held Premiership side Hamilton to a draw. 

Jags fans will be hoping the side is absolutely nowhere near the relegation zone this season and instead, will be hoping the side can consolidate their position and perhaps snatch a playoff spot if everything goes well. 

Queen of The South 

Allan Johnston will be hoping he can live up to his nickname and work some magic at Queen of The South this campaign or else it may be a long season for the Doonhamers.

The Palmerston Park side survived by the skin of their teeth last season. They defeated Raith Rovers in the playoffs to retain their Championship status but it looks like they may face a battle at the bottom again this season. 

Key players such as Lyndon Dykes, Kyle Jacobs, Jordan Marshall and Josh Todd have all departed the Doonhamers and whilst they have brought in replacements in the form of Michael Paton, Gary Oliver, Andrew McCarthy, Kevin Holt, and Dan Pybus, it just appears to be a slight step down in quality.

Of course, there is one quality player in the squad - Stephen Dobbie. The man needs no introduction. 

Dobbie can do his best to single-handedly keep Queens away from the bottom of the table with his goals but he is another year older and is missing his striking partner in Dykes so it may be a tough ask.

The Doonhamers should avoid the bottom two spots but finishing any higher than 7th is very unlikely.

Final Table Prediction

Dundee

Dundee United

Inverness

Partick Thistle 

Morton

Dunfermline

Ayr

Queen of The South

Alloa 

Arbroath.

 

 

 

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