DCSIMG

St Mirren are Gregg Wylde’s fifth club in two years

Gregg Wylde, left, could make his debut for St Mirren on Saturday.  Picture: Jane Barlow

Gregg Wylde, left, could make his debut for St Mirren on Saturday. Picture: Jane Barlow

  • by CRAIG FOWLER
 

Gregg Wylde joined his fifth club in the past two years after agreeing to sign for St Mirren following his release from Aberdeen yesterday.

The winger put pen to paper on a one-and-a-half year deal and will be in contention to make his debut when St Mirren travel to Hibs on Saturday. Rumours regarding a loan deal were mooted earlier in the week, but it became evident that a permanent deal was the more likely outcome once the news broke that Aberdeen had released the player just six-and-a-half months into a three-year deal.

Expected to battle Johnny Hayes for the left-midfield spot in Aberdeen’s 4-1-4-1 system, Wylde has made only four starts in ten appearances and hasn’t played at all since being subbed off in his side’s 1-0 win over Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup at the start of September; failing to impress both the new management team and the home support since his arrival.

St Mirren have been without a natural wide man since Gary Teale was injured earlier this campaign and Wylde will be expected to provide pace and ­directness on the flanks.

The Paisley side are the latest club to take a chance on a player of enormous promise but who has failed to realise his potential since his initial breakthrough at Rangers.

Wylde’s introduction to the Scottish football consciousness was a gradual one as he made just two first-team appearances (both from the substitutes’ bench) in his debut season at Ibrox. The following campaign promised much of the same in the opening months, but he slowly he worked his way into the match-day squad, occasionally coming on for Vladimir Weiss before eventually taking his place when the on-loan Slovakian was injured in a February win over St Johnstone.

Wylde’s first ever start came in the Europa League last 16 clash with PSV Eindhoven at Ibrox. Rangers lost the game and the tie 1-0, but Wylde had shown enough to merit his inclusion in the starting line-up and he retained his place for the League Cup final clash with Celtic three days later. It was here that Wylde introduced himself as one of Scottish football’s hottest prospects, playing all 120 minutes and excelling as Rangers upset the odds to defeat Celtic 2-1 after extra time. Keeping his place for the rest of the season, he also aided Rangers in pipping their rivals to the title.

After much haggling over a new contract at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, Wylde eventually put pen to paper on a new five-year deal.

However, the club’s financial black hole was catching up with them and when they went into administration in February, Wylde was the first to offer his resignation, citing “a lack of sleep” over his concern for the non-playing staff at the club. Rangers accepted the offer and Bolton moved quickly to snap up the player they’d been ­interested in since the previous ­summer.

Little has gone right for the player since. Unable to feature in their unsuccessful battle against relegation at the tail end of that season thanks to a delay in Fifa granting international clearance, Wylde then found himself on the outside looking in when the team started life in the Championship. A short-term loan deal to Bury granted him some playing time, but when he returned to Bolton he found that Owen Coyle – the manager who had signed him – had been dismissed and replaced with Dougie Freedman. The winger did not feature once under Freedman and was free to leave at the end of this season.

Hibernian were interested, but Aberdeen won his signature, agreeing the deal that was terminated yesterday.

 

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