Monday, April 16, 2018

Worst signings of the 2017/18 Premiership season (part 2)

Where were we? Ah yes. In Part 1 we counted down from 25 to 11, and I upset a lot of St. Johnstone fans by being apparently quite ignorant of David McMillan's circumstances. Oh well, life goes on.

Here is the top - or bottom - ten. This year there was no runaway winner, but I felt that one candidate surpassed the others in terms of being proper value for money, in the same way that the old pound coin now is. But at least the latter can still be exchanged for legal tender, unlike the names on this list.

Now I've exhausted that particularly mediocre analogy, on with the list...

Image result for randy wolters dundee
Neil McCann claimed only last week that the Dutch winger has a future at Dens Park, in response to this Evening Telegraph piece which seems to have been copy and pasted into Google Translate and then not proof-read. Since Wolters hasn't got on the pitch since October, rehabilitation seems unlikely even though he has a year left on his contract. Wolters' biggest achievement of the season so far is recording a Christmas song in his native Holland. No, really.

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"Call him Kozo for short" quipped the Accies' Twitter account. Martin Canning had actually tried to get him last summer, but had to wait till the January window to snap up the Greek midfielder on an 18 month deal. He did caution that Kozoronis might need to "adjust to Scottish football and Scottish culture", though. Apparently he didn't; Kozoronis left after just two months, having been an unused sub once. It turns out that Scrabble points don't count in a relegation battle.

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In his third game, Stockton missed a late sitter which would have won a League Cup game with Dunfermline and maybe delayed Ian Cathro's departure. So Hearts fans can at least be grateful for that. On the other hand, they could have done without him blacking up in order to impersonate Mr T at the club's Christmas fancy dress party. After 15 appearances and no goals, nobody was unhappy to see him move to Carlisle in January. He has managed to score once in England's League Two. Stockton apparently complained about not getting enough gametime for Hearts, though Craig Levein apparently had to watch him for longer than the rest of us to know that he wasn't the answer up front.

Image result for milan nitriansky partick
For much of the season, Partick Thistle have been so beset by injury problems that they were on the brink of putting members of Belle & Sebastian on their bench. Yet Alan Archibald, struggling to field even four fit defenders, still left the Czech right-back on the bench. That may be because they conceded a goal for every 40 minutes he spent on the pitch. It was no surprise that he was released from his contract six months early.

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Signed on a three year deal for more than £1m, Cardoso and Bruno Alves were supposed to be the centre-back foundation that Pedro Caixinha could build his team around. Alves wasn't exactly great, but he looked like Franco Baresi in comparison to Cardoso; pitched in straight away, he struggled immediately with the physicality of opposing forwards, and so opponents kept targeting him with the biggest and strongest strikers they had. Mostly sidelined by Graeme Murty, injuries forced Rangers to bring on Cardoso as a sub against Celtic recently, and boy did he struggle. There's no sign of him bulking up or getting stuck in, so his future in Scottish football looks rather bleak.

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Given Matulevicius has more than 30 caps for Lithuania, one might have expected him to have more impact at Easter Road. Instead he quickly dropped behind Oli Shaw in the pecking order and couldn't get a game even when Anthony Stokes finally wound up Neil Lennon one time too many. His only first team goal came in a League Cup thumping of Ayr United (one for the 'under 20s' team - he is 29 - in the Challenge Cup does not count) and he was told he was surplus to requirements before the January window even opened. The remainder of his two year deal was ripped up soon after and he has now pitched up in Finland.

Image result for rafal grzelak hearts
"My good features are that I am a strong player, who likes to tackle, and I prepare myself well for the physical side of the game. But I am also very calm on the ball. "I can play in defence, both in the centre and on the left, and I can also play in the centre of midfield." So said the Pole on arriving at Tynecastle. Well, wherever Hearts put him, he was consistently terrible. And yet, whilst he was signed by Ian Cathro, Craig Levein gave him multiple opportunities to impress as he searched desperately for his best starting eleven. Grzelak also said "I play for the fans. When I hear the noise and cheering from the supporters, it motivates me". He left in January, presumably demotivated. 

Image result for dalcio rangers
The young Portuguese player was brought in on loan from Benfica (actually it was really Benfica B, but that wouldn't have sounded so impressive) in June. The fact that still no-one can agree on what position he plays - some say he's a central midfielder, others a winger - says a lot. He made a start and a sub appearance in the two legs of the Progres Niederkorn debacle, then in September he was an 89th minute sub at Hamilton Accies...his third and final sighting in a Rangers shirt. And yet he's still at Ibrox, occupying the number seven shirt until they can finally get rid of him in the summer.

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Let me put it this way: since Inih Effiong was subbed at half-time in his third and final appearance for Ross County, teammate Alex Schalk has scored eight goals. And yet Owen Coyle thought Effiong, signed from Woking, was a better option up front for County's relegation battle - so much so that he convinced the club to pay a fee to get the player signed on an 18 month contract. The team didn't score a single goal whilst the big striker was lumbering around the pitch. He left shortly after Coyle did, having allegedly recording the embarrassing footage of teammate Michael Gardyne performing a rather naughty gesture in the dressing room that ended up on Snapchat and caused a wee bit of a stir on the Black Isle.

Image result for eduardo herrera rangers
Rangers apparently spent £1.5m on the Mexican international striker, who at least arrived in better shape than compatriot Carlos Pena but managed even less impact. There has been a solitary goal - in Dingwall at the end of a 3-1 win in August - and a grand total of two starts. The sub appearances dried up too - he hasn't got on the pitch since the winter break - as has any hope of a recall from his country for the World Cup. Rangers will be desperate to find a way of ripping up the remaining two years of his contract, or at least to get him away and loan. Oh, and just to wind me up even more, he's another one who the SFA recommended should get an 'Exceptional Talent Visa'. Get. In. The. Bin.

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