CARDROSS youngster Finlay Gray was back among the goals at the weekend as Dumbarton ended their pre-season preparations on a winning note.

The 20-year-old netted the winner in a 3-2 friendly victory away to Irvine Meadow – underlining his impressive start to life in a Sons jersey after his goal in the win away to Peterhead seven days earlier.

All eyes now turn to this Saturday’s League 2 opener against Stirling Albion at the Rock – Dumbarton’s first fixture in the bottom tier of Scottish football since May 2009.

It’s also the first time the two sides have met on league business since 2011-12, when Sons won three of the four league meetings between the sides on their way to securing promotion to the Championship via the play-offs, while Albion were relegated to the bottom tier.

Sons are out to avenge their 2-1 loss at the hands of Darren Young’s men on July 9, and boss Stevie Farrell believes his troops have already come a long way since that match.

He said: “I’ve tried different things during the Premier Sports Cup and popped people in different areas.

“It’s been a decent League Cup section from us, apart from the second-half against Stirling Albion. After that I’ve been pleased with every part of the cup.

“We took the cup very serious, and wanted to do really well, but we also wanted to make sure that come the league season that everyone is ready.

“During the course of the pre-season games and the Premier Sports Cup I’ve seen that progression, both in and out of possession.

“I think our shape is getting better out of possession and we’re looking a threat once we turn it over on the transition.”

“We’re not going to play against Aberdeen or Raith Rovers in League 2 every week, so if we can defend properly like we did against Raith then we’ll give ourselves a chance of winning games of football.”

Sons came from behind to win at Irvine on Saturday thanks to goals from Declan Byrne, Ally Love and Finlay Gray and Farrell was pleased with the reaction after trailing at the break.

He said: “We did not think the first half was good enough but to be fair to the players, they took our reaction like men and responded to it. We were far better in the second half.

“It wasn’t about the result, but it keeps the momentum going.”

More Sons news on page 39