Stirling Albion 1 - 1 Arbroath: Red Lichties take the trophy

It does not happen too often but just for a while yesterday the irrepressible Dick Campbell was lost for words.

Arbroath manger Dick Campbell is all smiles after his side picked up the League Two trophy.  Photograph: Kenny Smith/SNS
Arbroath manger Dick Campbell is all smiles after his side picked up the League Two trophy. Photograph: Kenny Smith/SNS

Not surprising really given the enormity of what the 63-year-old had just achieved as manager of Arbroath.

The Red Lichties had just won the League Two title thanks to a 1-1 draw at sunny Forthbank despite finding themselves 11 points adrift of long-time leaders Forfar during the course of what has been a rollercoaster season.

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With the destiny of the championship still in the balance going into the Stirling Albion encounter, Forfar’s defeat at home to Annan meant the helicopter containing the prized silverware would be touching down in Stirling.

Campbell, who has achieved so much in the game, said: “My feelings right now are I’m speechless. The game was never going to be a classic but the fact that Forfar got beat made it easier for us.

“I did not think we played particularly well but I’m not bothered my backside about that because we have made history.

“I came in here last March with my brother Ian, John Ritchie and John Young – the oldest management team in history.

“From day one we just have got better and better. We have the best away record in the league, the best defensive record in the league and the best goalscorers in the league.

“It’s a dream to win this championship but it’s not about me. It’s the people I have around me, these players and our fans.

“We have a good football club and good players and to bring 1,500 people here today is testament to our football club. The players have been absolutely magnificent.

“Maybe other people had us written off during the season but I would never write my players off. The fact that we were so far behind, this has got to be up there with the best.”

It took just five minutes for the Arbroath fans’ prayers to be answered as Martin Scott headed in Bobby Linn’s cross, giving Binos goalkeeper Chris Smith no chance.

For Arbroath the goal provided an enormous lift although Stirling battled back as Darren Smith bore in on goal only to be stopped in his tracks by a terrific Colin Hamilton challenge.

Mark Whatley came within a whisker of making it 2-0 when he zipped in a left-foot drive from 
20 yards which looked destined for the back of the net until Smith tipped the ball over the crossbar.

The Arbroath brigade were now only too well aware that Forfar were losing and it almost got better for them when referee Kevin Graham awarded the visitors a penalty.

Andy Black, subsequently booked, brought down Linn and up stepped former Stirling striker Steven Doris to take the penalty only for the ball to crack off the post.

Stirling’s persistence was rewarded when Blair Henderson made it 1-1 from the spot after Arbroath sub Omar Kader fouled Willie Robertson.

Substitute Callumn Morrison almost made it 2-1 for Stirling but his shot hit the post.

Stirling manager Dave Mackay said: “I had my first senior game of football when Dick took me on loan to Brechin from Dundee.

“He is a top guy and this is a great achievement.”