12 Premiership stars on expiring deals who should interest other clubs

Danny Wilson is out of contract at the end of the campaign. Picture: John Devlin
Danny Wilson is out of contract at the end of the campaign. Picture: John Devlin
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Joel Sked looks through the list of players on expiring deals and picks out one from each team who should have a host of suitors between now and the summer.

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Aberdeen - Kenny McLean

During his time in the north east, McLean has performed in patches. At times he has been excellent, dominating games and constantly probing. At other times he appears too passive.

In the last two seasons he has played more passes than anyone in the league who doesn’t play for Celtic or is called James Tavernier. An issue for the player is his best position and the balance of the team around him. He is less of a scoring option and primarily a creator. He’d be a good player to help build play in midfield.

Other notable out of contract players: Danny Rogers, Kari Arnason, Frank Ross, Anthony O’Connor.

Celtic - Liam Henderson

Since completing his loan deal at Hibs with that corner, he has played 574 minutes of first-team football. He will only turn 22 towards the end of this season and he has already packed his footballing CV with a fair bit of experience, even winning a Norwegian title with Rosenborg. But he’s at an age where he should be playing regularly.

Technically excellent, Henderson can spot gaps in defences, thread through passes, use his quick feet to evade challenges and excite fans. There would be no surprise if he returned to Hibs but there will be a number of clubs interested if, as expected, he doesn’t have a future at Celtic Park.

Dundee - Mark O’Hara

The move from Kilmarnock to Dundee was crucial in O’Hara’s development. Paul Hartley earmarked O’Hara for a midfield role at Dens Park. Neil McCann also saw the benefits of the 22-year-old in the area, whether it is through the middle or as a wing-back. His powerful running with and without the ball is a weapon for Dundee on the counter-attack.

His explosive shooting and physicality makes him a danger around the box as well as a useful player for pressing. McCann has spoken about his professionalism and that the club have made him a deal, but it would be a surprise if the league’s bigger clubs don’t show an interest.

Other notable out of contract players: Scott Bain, Josh Meekings, Paul McGowan

Hamilton Academical - David Templeton

One of the stories of last year in the Scottish Premiership has been the return of David Templeton. Having been pushed out of Hearts, the playmaker landed on his feet at Rangers but it soon turned into a nightmare as the player picked up an injury which wasn’t properly diagnosed, leading to a long spell on the sidelines.

However, come 2017, Templeton was handed a deal by Martin Canning. He then helped Accies stay in the division before kicking on to become one of the most exciting and dangerous forwards in the league. Given the freedom to find pockets between midfield and defence where he can receive the ball and twist and turn.

Other notable out of contract players: Ali Crawford, Michael Devlin, Giannis Skondras

Heart of Midlothian - Jon McLaughlin

The experienced goalkeeper has helped Hearts fans forget about last season’s goalkeeping issues with a number of steady displays. Barring a blunder against Partick Thistle the 30-year-old has been Mr Consistent between the sticks.

The Scotsman uses his presence and confidence to bring a level of calm to the Hearts backline. He is adept at plucking crosses from the sky under pressure, while he has produced a number of important saves playing a key role in a club record run of six clean sheets in a row.

Other notable out of contract players: Aaron Hughes and Prince Buaben

Hibernian - Dylan McGeouch

It would be highly surprising if Hibs were to hold on to John McGinn come the summer. His departure would add greater importance to keeping McGeouch.

McGinn is a visceral talent, more noticeable through his unique running style, his ability to use opposition players to propel him forwards where he then has the vision to pick out runners from different directions. McGeouch, meanwhile, is a cerebral footballer, stealthily building play, scanning the pitch to provide assistance.

McGeouch is the type of midfielder you can trust with possession in tight areas. He may not produce the game changing moments like McGinn but it can be argued he is as, if not more, talented. His injury history is a concern but it would be a calculated risk to sign him.

Other notable out of contract players: Liam Fontaine

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Kilmarnock - Jamie MacDonald

The best performing goalkeeper in the league, continuing to produce match-winning and game-changing displays behind the Killie defence.

There is a dearth of outstanding goalkeepers in the league. Instead a clutch of solid and relatively dependable ones. The 31-year-old will be sure to be in demand if he does leave having improved in recent years. He has excellent reflexes and agility, excelling in one-on-one situations where he has only conceded four goals from 34 such situations.

Other notable out of contract players: Kris Boyd, Gary Dicker, Greg Kiltie, Gordon Greer, Youssouf Mulumbu

Motherwell - Ryan Bowman

Having lost Louis Moult to Preston North End, Stephen Robinson may feel that the summer presents an opportunity to completely rejig his attacking line-up. Yet, Bowman has done enough to prove himself worthy at this level.

He had started the season down the pecking order, but a host of fine displays in the Betfred Cup saw him become a first-team player, creating a formidable partnership with Moult, hitting 21 goals between them. He provided the focal point and took the hits (as well as giving a number out in return) to allow Moult to operate in deeper and wider positions.

Other notable out of contract players: Charles Dunne, Andy Rose

Partick Thistle - Abdul Osman

After each passing week Osman’s importance to Thistle grows. He has been a huge miss in midfield with the club slipping to the bottom of the league on occasions. He provides a number of intangibles, such as leadership, commitment and experience. More than anything, however, he offers balance and a game intelligence which allows him to protect the underperforming Thistle defence.

In possession he is safe and efficient, offering a platform for the forwards in the squad. He would be smart addition for anyone looking to add stability.

Other notable out of contract players: Callum Booth, Steven Lawless, Stuart Bannigan

Rangers - Danny Wilson

Whoever is in charge of the club next season could probably do with a dozen out-of-contract in the summer. There is every chance he could look at Danny Wilson, shrug and let his contract run down.

Yet, the centre-back will be of interest to a number of clubs. He has his critics and foibles. He can give away possession too easily or be bullied, but the fact he hasn’t hit the heights expected of him when he first broke through at Rangers is held against him. He is, however, a good Scottish Premiership defender. He is average in the air, winning under 60 per cent of his aerial duels, but reads the game well.

Other notable out of contract players: Kenny Miller, Niko Kranjcar

Ross County - Marcus Fraser

If any clubs are looking for versatility in defence, look no further than Fraser. Equally capable at right-back as he is at centre-back, the 23-year-old has developed into a dependable defender in his time in Dingwall.

Such is the quality and consistency of Jason Naismith, Fraser is now seen primarily as a centre-back where he provides a compatible partner to Andrew Davies. While the County captain wins almost everything in the air, Fraser offers pace for threats in behind as well as being proactive with the most interceptions in the league.

Other notable out of contract players: Craig Curran, Michael Gardyne, Christopher Routis

​St Johnstone - Murray Davidson

The shaggy-haired (and faced) midfielder hasn’t fulfilled his potential which saw him linked with a number of moves down south earlier in his career. Injuries have cost him nearly 100 games.

Now 29-year-old he has probably missed his shot at a big move. Yet, that is not to say he wouldn’t be a smart signing for many clubs. His qualities are suited to the rough and tumble of midfield battles in the Scottish Premiership or in the Football League in England.

Davidson has changed his game as he has got older, more akin to sitting deeper in midfield than bursting forward. Still, he remains a goal threat such is his aerial ability. But more than anything a team would be getting a combative midfielder.

Other notable out of contract players: Steven Anderson, Steven MacLean, Paul Paton, Scott Tanser

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