'Stewart Petrie,” is the name that very quickly falls from the lips of every Montrose supporter when asked about what’s behind the club’s recent rise.

Whenever the subject of promotion – achieved last season after 22 long years in the basement of Scottish football – is raised, the Mo’ fan can’t wait to gush enthusiastically about the achievements of their manager.

Petrie was appointed to the role in December 2016, shortly after a change of chairman, with the club propping up League Two.

A year and a half earlier the club had survived a health scare when they left it late to turnaround a two-goal aggregate deficit against Highland League outfit Brora Rangers in the League Two play-off. In the interim period, the club continued to struggle to rise from its sick bed until rejuvenation came in the form of Petrie.

The recovery under his guidance has been nothing short of miraculous. Results improved instantly and by the end of the season the club had jumped six places into the promotion play-offs.

That momentum carried into the title-winning season that followed. Much of that success was built upon defensive solidity, with Sean Dillon the stand-out. The former Dundee United captain was a real coup for the club and the title win owed much to the backline built around eventual League Two Player of the Year – despite finishing top of the pack, second-placed Peterhead, outscored Montrose by 19 goals.

Many of the reservations among supporters going into the start of this season was the lack of activity in strengthening the attacking positions after Chris Templeman retired on a high and Lewis Milne was snapped up by Raith Rovers – the two scored 22 goals between them during the title-winning campaign.

However, while they haven’t been the most prolific side in League One so far this season, the backline has not been as tight. Going into Saturday’s match, Montrose sat fifth, closer on points to second place than bottom, yet had conceded more than anyone else in the top seven.

For Saturday’ victory over Forfar – the form side in League One – that defensive solidity made a welcome return, with Dillon predictably at the heart of it. After taking the lead midway through the first half, Petrie – who mostly favours a back three – reverted to a 5-4-0 formation without the ball, frustrating their Angus rivals until the interval.

The second half, which descended into a gritty battle, saw another change of shape – this time to a back four – and a masterclass in counter-attacking which eventually brought about a second.

Petrie said post-match that survival remains to be the aim for the season but Saturday’s win takes them to within three points of fourth and five points of second-placed Raith.

Survival at this point seems assured, and while securing promotion is unlikely the Montrose support will be delighted if Petrie is the man leading them into another season outside the bottom tier.

Scrappy victory a timely one for Pars manager

WHEN you’ve failed to win any of your last five matches in all competitions – including a humiliating cup exit to one of your rivals – and you can see the sides below you slowly creeping up from the relegation zone, any old win will do.

That’s exactly what Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford, who was only in charge for three of those games, witnessed as his side defeated Inverness courtesy of a goalkeeping error.

It was timely win for the Pars, who have seen Falkirk and Partick Thistle close in on them since the turn of the year.

The National:

Joe Thomson grabbed the winner but it was Bruce Anderson (pictured, right) who again stood out. The Aberdeen loanee impressed on his debut, forcing Ross County into a half-time defensive change and he continued that form into this match. Anderson is a constant nuisance, as effective at playing on the last shoulder of the defender as he is at holding the ball up, proving himself more than a match for six-foot-plus defenders despite his size. He already got off the mark in his debut but more goals are needed to get a goal-shy Dunfermline out of the woods.

Crawford admitted post-match that there wasn’t a lot of football played at times but even scrappy victories at this point are welcome. Even though it was his first home win as manager, they have now lost just one of their last five at home – form that may just be enough to get them over the line.

McHardy's brother the latest to jump to defence of a family member

LAST week, Darryl McHardy’s brother became the latest relative of an SPFL footballer to weigh in and defend a family member. He follows in the footsteps of Jack Ruddy’s brother, who took issue with a clip poking fun at one of his errors, and, more recently, the father of former Partick Thistle midfielder Jack Storer, who quit Twitter after getting into a fight with, what he thought, was a genuine Gary Caldwell account.

The latest episode spat came off the back of McHardy scoring all three of his side’s goals in their victory over Albion Rovers a week past Saturday, which lead to being nominated as the SPFL’s star man in their Team of the Week, and to some taking issue with his inclusion. The response of McHardy’s brother Ross is not safe for this column, neither though is some of the content found on the Elgin City defender’s own Twitter account.

The National:

Elgin carried that form into Saturday’s match, recording a mightily impressive victory over Stirling, inflicting the first defeat in eight on Kevin Rutkiewicz’s side.

It is the third match in a row that the Borough Briggs side have scored three goals in a match, after equalising in the last minute with Edinburgh City at the end of January.