This week Arbroath make their fifth appearance in the playoffs out of the 7 seasons it was first introduced (in 2005-06),
Before that, the top two in each of the lower leagues were promoted and bottom two relegated - maybe a bit too many teams turning over in the tiny 10 team leagues that prevail.
The Dumbarton ties will be our 13th and 14th playoff game
Our first two seasons saw us depart at the semi-final stage first to Alloa (1-2 on aggregate) then to Queens Parl (1-4 on aggregate)
Just when we thought this arrangement wasn't for us, we had a great campaign in 2007-08, with a late Roddy Black goal at Central Park taking the tie to extra time then Robbie Raeside taking us through 3-2 on aggregate). Up against a decent Stranraer side, we won the first leg 2-0 then held on grimly at Stair Park to take the tie 2-1 on aggregate. Cue celebratiions. Mind you, Stranraer were also elevated to fill the gap left by Gretna's demise.
Our first no show in 2008-09 then we particpated for the first time as relegation drop-outs from Division 2, coasting past Queens Park 6-2 on aggregate before a lame showing to go out 0-2 to Forfar after a goalless first leg at Gayfield
What does this history tell us about the upcoming playoffs - not much. The two-legged ties mean we have to keep things alive for phase /
Is it a lottery? Not entirely but maybe it's more about showing that extra drive, energy and motivation and plenty fo stamin after the regular season. A bit of luck, including propers officating also helsp