ALLOA ended their pre-season on a high last night, with a 3-0 win over Cumbernauld Colts at the Indodrill.

This comfortable win concluded a wholly positive campaign for Alloa, with many standing out and looking for their chance to impress.

Overall, Alloa had a 2-1 defeat to Livingston, 3-1 victory over Clyde, 1-0 loss to Greenock Morton, a 2-2 draw with Falkirk and a 3-0 win over Cumbernauld to round it off.

All of Alloa’s players looked ready to take the season on, but a few truly stood out during these pre-season tests.

Firstly, Luke Rankin has been electric since returning from his loan spell at East Stirlingshire.

The youngster grabbed four goals in the four friendlies he featured in and was rested after picking up a slight knock against Falkirk.

His boost in physicality and goal return has been praised by teammates and fans, and the manager was no different.

Andy Graham said: “There’s been a lot of players who have shown up really well in pre-season and it is testament to them and the condition that they’ve come back in.

“I look at that game tonight and the most pleasing thing for me is how many and how quickly we got back defending when Cumbernauld Colts got through the press or got a break of the ball.

“The reaction to get the ball back or get back into a defensive position is the most pleasing thing for me.

“I know we’ve still got players to come back, we’ve a lot missing tonight due to holidays and knocks.

“Luke Rankin’s picked up a slight wee thing in his hamstring and we’re not taking any risks because he’s had such a strong pre-season.

“It’s not something I’ve been shocked by because I’ve always known Luke has the talent and it’s about him now showcasing that on a regular basis and looking for that consistency.

“We’re there to coach that out of him and hopefully we can do that.”

Another highlight has been Cammy O’Donnell who has been utilised across three different roles throughout pre-season.

Calum Waters’ return to Alloa signalled a change for O’Donnell, who had been played at left back for the past two seasons.

Despite putting in a solid turn in defence, Graham made clear that his plan for O’Donnell was to push him further up the pitch and allow him to show off what he can do.

This led to a man of the match performance against Cumbernauld Colts, assisting Morgyn Neill’s opener with a brilliant corner delivery before a cheeky back heel finish at the near post doubled Alloa’s lead not long after.

After being played on both the left and right wings, it will be interesting to see what the season holds for O’Donnell.

“He’s done himself no harm,” Graham continued. “We know that Cammy can be deployed anywhere behind the striker and he does it well.

“You ask Cammy to do a job and he will do it to the best of his ability. We know he’s not a left back and ideally, we’re hoping with Calum Waters coming in that we won’t be needing Cammy at left back.

“That’ll take a bit of weight off his shoulders because I want to see him go express himself. Tonight for the first goal, his delivery is excellent.

“His delivery from set plays is something to be admired and it’s something he works hard on. It’s a great header from Neill but without that ball, you’re never going to have a chance of scoring.

“He’s shown that throughout pre-season, I’ve asked him to play right, left, centre and he’s given everything he’s got and that’s all I can ask for.”

Reece Mullen, from the Academy, has also been a bright spark, with the manager hailing the youngster as “the best midfielder on the park” against Greenock.

Mullen is somebody who has flirted around being in the first team, having been on the bench several times during last season under Graham.

He added: ““Reece has come in and he’s been excellent,” Graham said. “He’s been nothing short of fantastic with his attitude he’s shown.

“At Cappielow against Morton, I thought he didn’t look out of place at all, he was probably the best midfielder on the park in the first half.”

With many performances impressing throughout pre-season, the manager will be left with some decisions to make ahead of the first League Cup game against East Fife on Tuesday.

Who will lead the line and who will round out the attack around them will both be questions on Andy Graham’s mind.

Several trialists have come in and also impressed, with it remaining to be seen who, if any, will be offered contracts with the club.

“That’s what pre-season is for,” Graham added. “I told them it’s to make my job difficult and they certainly have done that.

“There’s been a lot of good performances there as a team, not just as individuals and that is what will take us as far as we can hopefully go this year.

“It’s that team ethic and everybody pulling in together – someone’s not having the best game, the guy next to him helps him out.

“We’ve shown that in pre-season, we’ve got a group that’s got togetherness and has been together last season.

“Keeping the majority of players from last season is something I was keen to do. We aim to add a few wee bits and we’ll do that over the coming weeks.

“We’ve still got one or two to come in but we need to be patient with that as well.”