CRAIG Samson has rejected the chance to play Europa League football with Motherwell next season in order to return to his roots with Kilmarnock.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper, who has turned down the offer of a new contract at St Mirren, had been offered the chance to replace Darren Randolph – who has agreed to join Birmingham City – but told the Steelmen yesterday that he won’t be coming.
Samson would have been Motherwell’s No 1 next season but he now faces a battle with Antonio Reguero, who also snubbed the opportunity to play in Europe with Inverness to sign a pre-contract agreement with Kenny Shiels’ side.
Killie are expecting to lose first-choice Cammy Bell to Rangers, while No 2 Kyle Letheren trained with St Mirren last week and Finland keeper Anssi Jaakkola is out of contract.
Samson began his career with Kilmarnock in 2001 and won six Scotland under-21 caps during his time there. However, it was only after joining St Mirren in 2010 that he finally established himself as a regular in the SPL, earning two call-ups to the Scotland squad.
Motherwell will go with Randolph’s understudy, Lee Hollis, next season.
Meanwhile, Dundee manager John Brown admits he will lose keeper Steve Simonsen – unless his budget increases.
Former England under-21 international Simonsen has been a standout since signing on a short-term deal back in March to replace Rab Douglas, who is leaving the club along with young keeper Alex Baird. Now Brown knows he must look out for another No 1 with only youngster John Gibson left at the club.
He said: “The budget is crucial to whether we can keep Steve. If it doesn’t increase, then no
“John Gibson has come back from loan at Montrose but I would be looking for another experienced keeper.”
Dundee’s budget will remain tight unless league reconstruction and the subsequent financial redistribution is pushed through, so Brown is anticipating going with a tight squad for life in the First Division next season as he prepares to offload some fringe first team players.