Thursday, October 19, 2017

An out of contract XI

We're beginning to see a few new contracts being ironed out, particularly with up and coming youngsters. With pre-contracts signable from January, expect more action in the coming months. Here, for your amusement is a starting XI with one out of contract player from each Premiership club (bar one, of course). Each of the eleven players is one who I think is reasonably likely, for one reason or another, to move on at the end of the current campaign. See what you think...

GOALKEEPER: Scott Bain (Dundee)
Coming up for 26, it seems likely that this will be Bain's fourth and final season at Dens Park; he's been coy about his future, which is surely a sign that he's considering his options. If he's to get himself back in the Scotland squad, he probably needs to move to either a bigger Scottish club or to England.

Other Dundee players out of contract: Jesse Curran, Julen Etxabeguren, Kostadin Gadzhalov, Kevin Holt, Nicky Low, Paul McGowan, Josh Meekings, Mark O'Hara, Elliot Parish, Lewis Spence

RIGHT BACK: Marcus Fraser (Ross County)
Fraser has been a bit of a conundrum for County - a very decent defender who is not quite athletic enough to be the type of right-back they want, nor quite physical enough to be the type of centre-back they want. Deploying him alongside strongman Andrew Davies sounds good in theory but hasn't worked in practice. Fraser signed a one year deal last year to keep his options open; unless Owen Coyle can get the best out of him he might be on his way.

Other Ross County players out of contract: Craig Curran, Russell Dingwall, Dylan Dykes, Michael Gardyne, Davis Keillor-Dunn, Blair Malcolm, Aaron McCarey, Christopher Routis, Alex Schalk, Reghan Tumilty, Kenny Van Der Weg

CENTRE BACK: Liam Fontaine (Hibernian)
When fit, Fontaine seems to be in the team most weeks for Hibs, but an ankle injury has sidelined him until around Christmas and he's probably down the pecking order now Paul Hanlon is fully fit again. 32 in January, Neil Lennon probably sees him as a squad player in the long-run - whether that is enough to satisfy the player or not remains to be seen.

Other Hibernian players out of contract: Lewis Allan, Andrew Blake, Callum Crane, Dylan McGeouch, Innes Murray, Sam Stanton

CENTRE BACK: Danny Wilson (Rangers)
Injuries haven't helped, but Wilson is now firmly a backup at Ibrox. 26 in December, it feels like aeons since Liverpool paid £2million for him...perhaps because it is. Thought to be one of the higher earners at the club, he's not good enough value for money right now to hang on to.

Other Rangers players out of contract: Jamie Barjonas, David Bates, Myles Beerman, Kyle Bradley, Liam Burt, Ryan Hardie, Niko Kranjcar, Kenny Miller, Jordan Thompson

LEFT BACK: Callum Booth (Partick Thistle)
Booth really broke through last season, only to injure his knee in August. Thistle can't get him back quickly enough given their current woes. If Booth gets back to last year's form, he might fancy his chances of a move to a bigger club. If - god forbid - Thistle go down, he'll definitely justify an offer from another Premiership side.

Other Partick Thistle players out of contract: Stuart Bannigan, Daniel Devine, Mustapha Dumbuya, Ross Fleming, Mark Lamont, Steven Lawless, Paul McGinn, Neil McLaughlin, Kevin Nisbet, Milan Nitriansky, Abdul Osman, James Penrice, Ryan Scully

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock)
Now they have a decent coach, maybe Killie will be organized enough to cope with Dicker's longstanding stomach injury. Up till now his absence has been glaring, both in terms of leadership qualities and ability to break up the play and protect the back four. His future is in flux until he gets back to fitness and we find out if Steve Clarke fancies him.

Other Kilmarnock players out of contract: Kris Boyd, Scott Boyd, Chris Burke, Gordon Greer, Dean Hawkshaw, Greg Kiltie, Jamie MacDonald, Rory McKenzie, Alex Samizadeh, Steven Smith, Brad Spencer

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Kenny McLean (Aberdeen)
McLean is apparently coveted by Rangers, which isn't surprising. Changes to the Dons' tactics this season have perhaps reduced his influence a little but he remains a real talent at this level. Can Aberdeen pin him down to a new deal, or will he leave in search of new challenges (and a bigger pay packet) in Glasgow or elsewhere?

Other Aberdeen players out of contract: Kari Arnason, Daniel Harvie, Nicky Maynard, Connor McLennan, Anthony O'Connor, Danny Rogers, Frank Ross, Craig Storie

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Liam Henderson (Celtic)
Might Henderson move as soon as January? His progress at Celtic seems have stalled considerably over the last year and a half, which is a shame given how well other youngsters have done under Brendan Rodgers. Still only 21, there is real potential and talent here and hopefully it can be realised...but it'll have to be away from Celtic Park.

Other Celtic players out of contract: Dorus De Vries, Jamie Lindsay, Jamie McCart, Joe Thomson

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: Jamie Walker (Hearts)
Walker's head was seemingly turned by Rangers' advances in the summer transfer window, along with disillusionment at his role under Ian Cathro. His focus seems to have returned since Craig Levein returned to the dugout. Unplayable on his day, the question remains whether he is consistent enough to star at a higher level, or whether he would be too much of a luxury?

Other Hearts players out of contract: Angus Beith, Jamie Brandon, Prince Buaben, Euan Henderson, Aaron Hughes, Jon McLaughlin, Callumn Morrison, Viktor Noring, Krystian Nowak

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: Ali Crawford (Hamilton Accies)
It seems like we've been expecting Crawford to ascend to the next level for about three years...and it still ain't happened. At 26, surely the time has come for him to try his luck elsewhere, because he isn't getting any better at Hamilton.

Other Hamilton Accies players out of contract: Rakish Bingham, Michael Devlin, Grant Gillespie, Alex Gogic, Dougie Imrie, Darren Jamieson, Louis Longridge, Darren Lyon, Jordan McGregor, Danny Redmond, Georgios Sarris, Ioannis Skondras, David Templeton, Xavier Tomas, Shaun Want

STRIKER: Louis MOULT (Motherwell)
It would be a shock if Moult remained at Fir Park beyond next summer; he was clearly receptive to Aberdeen's summer overtures even if his current employers weren't. Reassuringly for 'Well, he has got his head down and continued doing what he does best - scoring goals. That attitude will further endear him to the long list of likely suitors.

Other Motherwell players out of contract: Ryan Bowman, Liam Brown, Charles Dunne, Shea Gordon, Russell Griffiths, Liam Grimshaw, Stevie Hammell, Adam Livingstone, Louis Moult, Deimantas Petravicius, Andy Rose, Luke Watt

Oh, and there's St. Johnstone.  But none of their out of contract players quite fitted into this as well as the eleven I selected. 

The list, for what it's worth: Blair Alston, Steven Anderson, Graham Cummins, Murray Davidson, Ally Gilchrist, Callum Hendry, Greg Hurst, Alan Mannus, Kyle McClean, Steven MacLean, Chris Millar, Paul Paton, Scott Tanser, Craig Thomson, Keith Watson.

Lawrie Spence (LS) has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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