The duo would do well to learn from mistakes of the past, mainly the club’s signing policy over the last four years which was, to put it mildly, a little scattergun.
By exhausting every internet research there is or ever has been, we’ve managed to pull together what we believe (i.e. hope) to be the full and comprehensive list of all first-team players signed under previous boss Martin Canning. Then we’ve arranged them into each of their own sub groups to separate the good from the bad.
A punt was taken on the ex-Hearts and Rangers attacker in the closing weeks of the 2016/17 season and what a gamble it turned out to be. Not only did Templeton help the club survive with a play-off final victory over Dundee United shortly after joining, he was their standout player the following season and a huge reason Accies were able to finish the campaign in tenth. Along with the signing, Canning can also take credit for using Templeton as a No.10 after his previous clubs had utilised him almost exclusively as a winger. The move reinvigorated the player’s career and his former boss should take a lot of credit for that.
Lucas Tagliapetra, Alex D’Acol, Remi Matthews, Giannis Skondras, Massimo Donati, Gary Woods, Ziggy Gordon (second time), Matthew Kilgallon, Mickel Miller, Aaron McGowan
They all had their poor moments but undeniably contributed over Canning’s time in charge. Woods and Matthews produced a number of eye-catching saves, Donati brought experience and allowed tactical flexibility by playing in defence and midfield, and big Lucas was an absolute mountain at the back.
D’Acol’s scoring record wasn’t great, but he possessed great ability as a play-it-into-feet target man and this worked well in Accies’ system with the likes of Greg Docherty and Ali Crawford breaking in behind. They’ve not had a striker who could do that role to that standard since he left.
An inclusion in this group is perhaps a little kind on Mickel Miller, but there’s little doubt the attacker has immense potential and was quite the find after being snapped up from Carshalton Athletic.
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
Jason Scotland (second time), Gramoz Kurtaj, Carlton Morris, Alex Gogic, Georgios Sarris, Lennard Sowah (first time), Antonio Rojano, Delphin Tshiembe, Marios Ogkmpoe
These guys had their moments — so couldn’t be counted as “misses” — but didn’t do it consistently enough to get into the “hits” category. (You could also call this section, ‘Craig, you’re just sitting on the fence here, aren’t you?’ And yes, you’d be right.)
Scotland was re-signed about three weeks after he left. While he only netted three goals from the end of January to the summer in 2015, he did net each of them in two games where Accies won and another where they drew.
Sarris could be hilariously bad on occasion and he did fall out with Canning in spectacular fashion, but when his head was screwed on right he was a physically dominant centre-back.
Rojano didn’t have a great scoring record but did a lot of dirty work in attack, which last season is exactly what his manager wanted from him, while Ogkmpoe has been injured for the most part but doesn’t look too bad when he plays.
Few were as precarious as Kurtaj, who was either excellent or anonymous, and Alex Gogic won over supporters when he stopped playing at centre-back (where he was poor) and moved into midfield (where he was not quite as poor).
THE JURY’S OUT
Jacob Marsden, Anthony Andreu (second time), Steve Davies, Lennard Sowah (second time), Scott Martin
Two of those - Andreu and Davies - have only been signed this month and Marsden is a back-up goalkeeper who has barely played (though looks decent enough when he has).
Sowah didn’t get much of a chance until the winter months. He’s been OK, but it’s come at a time when Accies have been dreadful. Martin, meanwhile, has looked good in parts and has potential, but he’s perhaps suffering from being a battling midfielder in a squad full of them.
Nigel Hasselbaink, Antons Kurakins, Christian Nade, Chris Turner, Alan Martin, Jamie Sendles-White, Danny Seaborne, Rakish Bingham, Darren Jamieson, Jordan McGregor, Robbie Thomson, Sean McKirdy, Xavier Tomas, Ryan Fulton, Botti Biabi, Alex Penny, Aaron Smith, Sam Kelly, Ján Mucha, Keiran Monlouis, Tom Taiwo, James Keatings (second time), Kemy Agustien, Oumar Diaby, Mason Bloomfield, Fredrik Brustad, Kenny van der Weg
Wow. That’s... that’s quite a list.
Is it harsh on Bingham? He was a punt who stuck around for two-and-a-half seasons, after all. Typically this writer would at least move such a player into the ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ category, but seeing as Hamilton fans hate him with a passion typically reserved in society for criminals, he has to be included here.
Tomas had some decent games but cost an actual transfer fee, had too many bombscare moments and was the weakest of the terrifying Sarris-Tomas partnership.
Kurakins, Mucha, Agustien and Brustad belong in the ‘he should be good... oh wait, no he isn’t’ category.
Keatings will have the opportunity to come good under a new boss. He’s brought an attacking spark on occasion, but he’s also missed too many sitters and has netted only once since rejoining.
One thing that must be noted before moving on... how many goalkeepers are there? In the above category there’s Martin, Jamieson, Thomson and Mucha. That’s along with Marsden, Woods and Matthews. Seven goalkeepers signed in four years?!
THE... WAIT, WHO?
Nico Sumsky, Blair Adams, Jack Breslin, Alex Garcia, Christopher Mandiangu, Charlie Scott, Chrysovalantis Kozoronis, Adam Phillips
At least two of these guys - Scott, Phillips - are surely Football Manager re-gens. Kozoronis was in Lanarkshire for two months, didn’t play a single appearance and only made the bench once. Similar can be said of 18-year-old Spaniard Alex Garcia, who was oddly absent from the first-team squad despite training with them prior to winning a deal.
Incredibly, none of these names are made up.
THE MY GOD, WHY?
If we’re handing out a Razzie to the worst signing of the Canning era, it has to go to the Trinidad and Tobago striker. Signed from Defence Force (great name for a team) he made just two appearances and tallied 21 minutes of playing time. Despite this he made quite the impression on the New Douglas Park support, who couldn’t believe this man had been recruited. He lasted just five months before leaving. His next destination was to Broughty Athletic in the juniors and he since appears to have given up on football. Just a reminder: this is a Scottish Premiership club we’re talking about here.
• Thanks to Narey’s Toepoker for assisting with the uncovering of some of the more obscure players on this list. The website is a tremendous resource for Scottish football fanatics and can be viewed here.