How every new signing fared on their Ladbrokes Premiership debut

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Joel Sked gives his take on the performances of every summer signing in the Ladbrokes Premiership this past weekend and rates them out of ten.

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Hearts' league debutants Steven MacLean and Peter Haring impressed. Picture: SNS

Hearts' league debutants Steven MacLean and Peter Haring impressed. Picture: SNS

Players who re-signed for clubs they played for last campaign have not been included, such as Jamie Maclaren at Hibs, Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and Dominic Ball for Aberdeen. Any debutants who played only a small number of minutes at the weekend have also been discarded.


Lewis Ferguson - 6

One of few Aberdeen players who just about emerged with pass marks. When Graeme Shinnie moved to left-back his forward bursts were key to a pedestrian midfield. Nearly scored with a header.

Stephen Gleeson - 5

A neat and tidy midfielder. He was keen to try ambitious longer passes over the Rangers defence but not so keen on the physical side of the midfield role and failed to leave his mark on proceedings.

Chris Forrester - 5

As above.


Jack Hamilton - 3

Flapped at an early cross and bailed out by the referee’s whistle for a foul away from the play. Looked a bit shaky but made a couple of strong saves. His late howler, where he showed the grace of a newborn deer, cost his team the game.

Elton Ngwatala - 7

Scored Dundee’s equaliser with a terrific finish from just outside the area. Has good technique but may need a little time to properly get up to speed with the game.

Kharl Madianga - 7

Looked a bit more assured of himself, though a little quiet compared to his fellow league debutant on the opposite side of the midfield diamond. These two should improve Dundee’s gameplan, which revolves around dominating possession.

Jean Mendy - 6

Lively. Got himself into dangerous areas around the final third. However, he showed no signs of being the answer to Dundee’s issues converting chances.


Alex Penny - 3

Not a strong debut from the 21-year-old. Was unsure how to deal with Uche Ikpeazu, booked for a scuffle with Steven MacLean and brought a big cheer when he wiped out his own player Dougie Imrie. The latter incident arrived due to his indecision when Steven Naismith was chasing a loose ball. He conceded a penalty with a really poor attempt of a tackle.

Ziggy Gordon - 4

Gordon will be looking to forget his league return for Hamilton. The first-half saw him grapple and battle with Ucke Ikpeazu, while he was tasked with marking Peter Haring who netted twice from set pieces. Failed to track Steven MacLean for Hearts’ fourth.

Sam Kelly - 4

Tasked with supporting the front two, Kelly did nothing of note. He did display a tenacious side.

Tom Taiwo - 6

More involved than Kelly or Darren Lyon, whom he replaced, as he put his foot on the ball and tried to give Accies a bit of control.


Zdenek Zlamal - 7

Aside from the goal, where he was faultless, he wasn’t called into action in terms of shots on target. A calming presence with regards to crosses.

Ben Garuccio - 6

Offered support down the left without getting into positions where he could utilise his crossing ability. Composed on the ball and clipped in the cross which led to the side’s third goal.

Peter Haring - 9

Excellent performance in the heart of the midfield. Showed to be a real threat in the box during Betfred Cup action and carried that into his league debut with two fine finishes. Combative in midfield and read the game well to pick up on any loose balls. Provided one of the moments of the match with a nutmeg on former Hibs midfielder Taiwo.

Olly Lee - 7

An understated performance. He backed up play well, while making sure to keep the ball with sharp and accurate passing. His corners were put into dangerous areas with Christophe Berra nearly scoring from one.

Steven MacLean - 9

Continues to dispel the notion that he can’t play on artificial surfaces. Other than Haring he was Hearts’ star performer. Is building a good relationship with Steven Naismith as he links play but there is more to his game than simply being a striker to ‘hit’. He made runs in behind which brought one goal and nearly a second.

Uche Ikpeazu - 8

A battering ram of a forward. Was left frustrated at times by referee Andrew Dallas who penalised him for shirt pulling when the away support thought it was the other way round. Grew as the game went on and Hamilton defenders began to back off. Provided a wonderful assist for MacLean’s goal.

Bobby Burns - 7

Slotted in well at left-back. What he lacks in pace he makes up for in his use of the ball.

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Adam Bogdan - 7

Beginning to win fans around after a shaky start in a Hibs jersey. Wasn’t as busy as in previous games but produced a good stop from a Chris Cadden shot. But what was more impressive was the way he pushed the ball into a safe area to prevent Curtis Main from having a tap-in. Failed to hold onto a stinging effort in the second-half but wasn’t punished for it.

Stephen Mallan - 8

The midfielder will pay back the fee Hibs paid for his services - and that’s just from his set-piece quality alone. He opened the scoring with a great free-kick, albeit aided by some questionable goalkeeping. Was very lively before Hibs eased off Motherwell, epitomised by his alertness to win the ball in the build-up for Martin Boyle’s goal.


Mikael Ndjoli - 8

Was on the park for barely 20 minutes but left a lasting impression. He added pace to the Killie attack and was very positive when in possession. Topped off with a fabulous strike to secure the win.


Liam Kelly - 6

Could do little about the three Celtic goals. Made a recovery stop from Leigh Griffiths after finding himself in an awkward position. Denied Callum McGregor in the first-half due to positivity in coming off his line.

Steven Saunders - 6

Was fortunate not to concede a penalty on Odsonne Edouard in the opening minutes and may feel he could have done more to make it difficult for Tom Rogic to score the opening goal. Set up Scott Robinson’s consolation but was not as good as his fellow centre-backs Craig Halkett and Declan Gallagher.

James Brown - 5

Did a decent enough job considering he signed only two days before the match. Being thrown in against Celtic at Celtic Park for your debut is daunting but he didn’t sink. Although Livi looked better when he was replaced with Jack McMillan.

Kenny Miller - 6

Committed the first foul after 30 seconds and was booked for a challenge on Mikael Lustig before half-time. Tired to set the standard for his side’s work-rate. Headed off the line in the second half.

Egli Kaja - 7

An encouraging debut from the Albanian loanee on the left. Provided Livingston with an option to relieve pressure with his ability to carry the ball and set up Lee Miller for the away side’s best chance.

Steven Lawless - 6

On with 30 minutes to go but with Livi already trailing 3-0 had little option to influence the game.

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Liam Donnelly - 6

Not the easiest of debuts when faced with the pace of Martin Boyle and made to look slow. But was far from Motherwell’s worst performer especially when compared to centre-back partner Peter Hartley. Should develop into dependable defender.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair - 5

Motherwell didn’t get the best out of their new recruit by starting with back four. He showed his ability to get forward and stretch the game in the first-half but was caught out by Oli Shaw for Hibs’ second goal.

Conor Sammon - 5

Could have been forgiven for forgetting he was on the pitch in the first-half. Well marshalled by the Hibs defence throughout but managed to win a flick-on which played in Danny Johnson who should have scored. Headed a rebound wide much to the delight of the Hibs support but was offside.

Danny Johnson - 7

In one sense the former Gateshead forward was excellent. He showed great strength, awareness and control around the box to fashion chances for himself. But he missed two gilt-edge chances, while he had a goal ruled out somewhat harshly.


Allan McGregor - 6

Back for his second spell at Ibrox, the Scotland goalkeeper will unlikely have a quieter game this season. It took until stoppage time for Aberdeen to get a shot on target and unfortunately for McGregor they scored from it as Bruce Anderson steered the ball into the bottom corner. Only other moment of note was pushing a cross behind for a corner as he took a safety-first approach.

Connor Goldson - 7

The Englishman was imperious throughout standing up to Aberdeen’s aerial assault while covering any forward advances from James Tavernier. However, loses a mark for his bizarre attempt at trying to block Aberdeen’s equalising goal, seemingly jumping away from the ball.

Nikola Katic - 9

The best performer behind Ryan Jack for Rangers. The Croatian clearly loves defending as he headed, blocked and tackled everything. Aside from the defensive qualities both he and Goldson will be a threat at set-pieces.

Jon Flanagan - 8

A fine league debut in which he faced a lot of stick from the Aberdeen fans. He appeared unfazed and will have to get use to such attention at Scottish away grounds. Kept Niall McGinn quiet throughout, defended the back post really well and it was his lung-bursting run which opened up Aberdeen in the build-up to the penalty.

Lassana Coulibaly - 7

With the Malian in the midfield Rangers won’t be bullied. He put himself about and will likely pick up his fair share of yellow cards but exactly the type of physical asset teams need in their midfield. Combines his combativeness with powerful running which helped get Rangers up the pitch and composure on the ball.

Scott Arfield - 7

Another who thrived when Rangers went down to ten men taking on a de facto attacking role with no striker. Having played under Sean Dyche at Burnley it is unsurprising that he was diligent and followed instructions. His forward running which created chaos in the Aberdeen area for the penalty.

Ryan Kent - 6

Rangers had dropped deep by the time the on loan Liverpool winger had entered the field. Happy to run with the ball and take players on.

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Matty Kennedy - 5

Showed moments which suggested he could trouble defences with his pace but in St Johnstone’s system he was getting the ball in really deep areas where there was little change of causing danger. With little movement in front and only Tony Watt as striker he played the ball backwards too often while failing to deliver a cross.

Drey Wright - 4

Another played affected by the formation. Most of his actions were in the defensive phase, while he was erratic with his passing. Unlike Kennedy he managed a cross, only it was blocked out for a corner.

Tony Watt - 6

Due to the 5-4-1 formation the striker was isolated for most of the game. He did as well as could have been hoped when he got the ball, trying to hold it up against two physical defenders. When he had the ball at his feet he carried it well.


Paul McGinn - 7

Was a useful attacking outlet down the right hand side as seen with the cross he provided for Danny Mullen’s opener. Will be disappointed with his clearing header which set up Elton Ngwatala for Dundee’s equaliser.

Cole Kpekawa - 5

Not a particularly strong day for the St Mirren defence as Dundee created a number of chances. Miscommunication with Craig Samson saw the goalkeeper conceded a penalty. Still to develop an understanding with Jack Baird.

Hayden Coulson - 6

Aggressive in the tackle, likes to get forward and very confident on the ball. A solid debut to build on.

Matty Willock - 7

Capable of driving play forward from midfield and got himself into the box on a couple of occasions to attack deliveries. Only moment of worry was when he miscued a clearance into the path of Jean Mendy. A midfield four of Stephen McGinn, Willock, Kyle Magennis and Cammy Smith should give the Buddies a solid foundation this season.

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