If you wanted excitement in 2015-16, Ladbrokes League 1 was the place to be. It produced the first champions in senior football anywhere in Britain, as Dunfermline Athletic wrapped the title up in March. While at the other end, the battle to avoid relegation went down to the final day.
There were tons of goals, with no team scoring fewer than 40, and we saw a host of immense talents on show, not least Peterhead’s prolific Rory McAllister. So here are the eleven who made the cut, and the reasons why.
GK: Sean Murdoch (Dunfermline Athletic)
The Pars finished this Ladbrokes League 1 campaign with a +53 goal difference, but while the Dunfermline strike-force took most of the plaudits, their superb keeper helped the side secure the division’s best defensive record. With 15 clean sheets in his 34 outings, one could argue Murdoch was the side’s most important performer.
CB: Mick Dunlop (Albion Rovers)
Promoted Rovers managed the division’s second-best defensive record, and tough-tackling veteran Dunlop was one of their key performers, playing every minute of every game. His partnership with the next man in the team of the season has also been a major factor in Darren Young’s side’s success.
CB: Ross Dunlop (Albion Rovers)
They’re close on and off the field, so it seemed wrong to split up the Wee Rovers’ brotherly bond – especially given Ross’ performances in 2015-16. A talented and versatile player who has looked comfortable in his side’s rearguard, and further up the pitch in midfield.
CB: Scott Robertson (Stranraer)
A combative, fearless competitor, Robertson has added steel to the Blues’ defence over the past three seasons, and the 28-year-old was a major part of this season’s promotion push at Stair Park. Also chipped in with a couple of goals along the way.
RM: Andy Geggen (Dunfermline Athletic)
Both a robust presence and a provider to Pars’ goal-machine Faissal El Bakhtaoui this season, Geggen also netted several of his own, including an impressive double at Stenhousemuir. Making 29 starts, the experienced campaigner was involved in almost all of the club’s crucial victories en route to that early title crown.
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CM: Jamie Adams (Ayr United)
One of the division’s toughest midfielders to handle, Adams may have missed much of the season through injury, but his performances when fit were enough to earn him a place in this illustrious XI. Scored a pair of crucial goals during Ayr’s fantastic November run, and performed just as well in those crunch play-off wins over Peterhead and Stranraer.
CM: Ross Docherty (Ayr United)
The former Livingston man picked the perfect time to score his first goal for the Honest Men, with a stunning 95th-minute volley to snatch a dramatic draw in the first leg of the Ladbrokes Championship Play-off final with Stranraer. And the tidy, unfussy midfielder deserved his moment in the limelight after a season of doing an unglamorous job superbly well.
LM: Joe Cardle (Dunfermline Athletic)
It was something of a coup for Allan Johnston to secure the signature of a man who spent 2014-15 playing regular top-flight football for Ross County. And the boy from Blackpool has certainly lit up Ladbrokes League 1 during his first season at this level, with 14 goals in 29 games from midfield, as well as 12 assists. A sensational record.
CF: Greig Spence (Cowdenbeath)
The Blue Brazil may have eventually succumbed to relegation, but their star striker still produced a number of moments for the Central Park faithful to enjoy. Notching up 17 strikes, including an incredible run of nine strikes in eight games at the end of 2015, the 23-year-old narrowly failed to make Cowden safe, and has now rejoined Alloa for his third spell.
CF: Rory McAllister (Peterhead)
A truly gifted forward with a swaggering confidence, the former Brechin City man enjoyed another sensational goalscoring season in the 2015-16 Ladbrokes League 1 campaign. His impressive hat-trick against City in February’s 4-1 hammering is arguably the most memorable of those scoring feats and helped the Blue Toon reach the promotion play-offs.
CF: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dunfermline Athletic)
The division’s top scorer with 22 goals, the final spot could only go to the new hero at East End Park. Beginning the campaign with 12 goals from eight games in all competitions, the Moroccan barely let up tormenting opposition defences. His hat-trick against Brechin saw the Pars clinch the title – a perfect moment for club and player.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.