The Terrace Podcast team single out ten pointless signings from Scottish Premiership sides so far this season
This is pretty straight forward so we don’t need to give you much of an introduction. All we want to say is that this list is not necessarily the worst signings of the 2013-14 season. That award will come later in the year when we host our annual “End of Season Awards” podcast. The distinction between the two is that a really bad signing might not have been pointless. For example, Aberdeen needed a striker this year and thought they had their man with Calvin Zola put pen to paper, only for the decision to later be regretted. The signing was bad, but the intentions made sense. They needed a target man and thought he filled the void. He’d scored plenty of goals in England’s League Two, a level Billy Mckay once struggled in, and Derek McInnes felt he would add something to the team. He was wrong, but you can’t get them all right in football. The same goes for St Mirren taking David Cornell on loan from Swansea City, Hibs taking a gamble on Fraser Mullen and Ross County signing half the players from the Dutch regional leagues. This list is full of players that the club either didn’t need or seemed completely unaware of the overriding evidence that they would not be up to scratch.
10. Nicky Weaver (Aberdeen)
We weren’t really sure about this transfer at the time and though he’s not been a distraction, Weaver has not added much to the squad. At best he was going to cause a goalkeeping controversy with long-time number one Jamie Langfield, at worst he was going to be an overpaid back-up sitting on the bench. He’s made one start, had a poor error in that match and has been among the substitutes ever since. Every team wants a dependable back-up, but in these precarious financial times Aberdeen could have used the wage budget money elsewhere.
9. Gwion Edwards (St Johnstone)
Tommy Wright would have saw him everyday in training last year so there must have been something to convince the St Johnstone boss to extend the loan of the Welsh winger despite him doing absolutely nothing of note in the first half of 2013. Whatever that talent was he didn’t show it this campaign either and the player decided against warming the bench for another six months. He’s higher up the list because it’s difficult to argue with Wright’s reasoning when he would have already been working with him. What we don’t understand is why you would persevere with a young player, in the hope he suddenly blossoms, who doesn’t belong to the club. It was too much of a gamble for such a little return.
8. David Silva (Kilmarnock)
This list could almost entirely be made up of Kilmarnock players. Instead, we’ve managed to keep it to three and this is the most forgiveable to make the list. Allan Johnston said when he signed the Portuguese winger that he had been on trial for a couple of weeks and added something to their squad that they didn’t already have. Fair enough. What Kilmarnock fans questioned was why they’d brought back a player who’d already failed with the club before, in a better team and under a better manager. He played three games before getting injured and being released in January.
7. Jake Caprice (St Mirren)
Who? Yeah, unless you’re a St Mirren fan you’re probably unaware of the Blackpool winger who arrived late in the summer window on a short-term loan deal. Basically, a problem with St Mirren’s start to the season was that they had no pace in the team and this had ramifications on their attacking approach, particularly passing the ball in midfield since opponents would just push up and deny them space. They needed someone to stretch the field. They needed someone quick. In Jake Caprice they got speed, but they got bugger all else. He’d previously been on loan at League Two clubs, where he hadn’t starred, and had never played for Blackpool. A desperation move from the beginning and it so it panned out.
6. Mark Kerr (Partick Thistle)
Thistle started this season by doing a disconcertingly good impression of Dundee this time last year as they snapped up as many free agents they could get their hands on who had previous experience playing in the top flight. They got first sight of their “talents” in pre-season and by the opening day they had decided that none of them were good enough, choosing instead to start a full eleven who’d never played at the level before. Paul Gallacher has gone on to be a useful signing. The same cannot be said for John Baird or Mark Kerr. Alan Archibald quickly learned the fact that just because someone has featured at a certain level before it doesn’t mean that he’ll still be good enough for it.
5. Paul Lawson (Motherwell)
We never envisioned this signing appearing on a list such as this at the beginning of the season. Lawson had been excellent after finally forcing his way into the Ross County starting eleven halfway through the 2012-13 campaign. It made sense that a bigger club wanted to snap him up and bring him back to Scotland’s central belt. What has dumbfounded us since is how Motherwell have used him. Lawson is a deep-lying playmaker who plays the game in a cultured manner in complete contrast with the energetic style of the Motherwell central midfield. He’s at his best in a 4-5-1 variation, a formation Stuart McCall has started with only a handful of times this year. If this was his plan all along then why was it Lawson he went after? Unsurprisingly he’s been in and out of the Fir Park line-up and has yet to impress the new support.
4. Antonio Reguero (Kilmarnock)
The last act of Kenny Shiels’s Kilmarnock legacy was the bizarre move to go out and spend a sizeable amount of his budget on two top class Premiership goalkeepers. Neither Reguero nor Craig Samson, having left other top flight clubs to go to Rugby Park, will have come cheap. As we’ve already stated with the Weaver selection, it makes no sense to have two players of such quality, and cost, battling it out for a position which will likely see only one of them playing. The reason Reguero is much higher is because Kilmarnock’s budget is far tighter than Aberdeen’s and the Spaniard hasn’t played a minute of football this season.
3. Steven Mouyokolo (Celtic)
We’re all used to Celtic taking flyers in the transfer market, but this signing took it to a ridiculous level. The centre back was once very highly thought of when with Wolves, but he’d barely played football in three years after a series of terrible injury problems. Assuming any other outcome would occur once he arrived in Glasgow was naïve and August wasn’t even over before he was ruled out for another nine months. The presence of an already solid centre back partnership in Efe Ambrose and Virgil van Dijk, along with a perfectly capable back-up in Charlie Mulgrew, further added to the pointlessness.
2. Mark Stewart (Kilmarnock)
The third and final Killie player to appear in this list and by far the worst decision in a series of perplexing choices by Allan Johnston since he took charge. Below average at Falkirk in their last stint in the Premier League, poor at Dundee last season, Kilmarnock fans were hostile to the signing almost immediately. The player then didn’t help his case with a handful of hopeless performances before even Johnston realised he’d brought in a dud. Why he didn’t come to that conclusion two seconds after first conjuring the name is anyone’s guess.
1. Rory Fallon (St Johnstone)
You could argue Rory Fallon is a better player than Mark Stewart, but the New Zealander still tops the list. Why Fallon gets the ignominy of being named the Scottish Premiership’s most pointless signing is because Stewart was bought as a panic buy to replace a departing Paul Heffernan and provide reserve for Kris Boyd. Fallon was secured during the summer months when there were still plenty of free agents around and St Johnstone already had Stevie May and Steven MacLean, with Nigel Hasselbaink and Chris Kane capable of providing cover. Fallon made eight appearances, one start and was released shortly after being sent off against former club Aberdeen less than a minute after coming on as sub.
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