As Scottish Premiership clubs enter the January transfer window, Craig Fowler looks back upon their business so far this season and ranks every signing out of ten.
Luke Hendrie - 7
Killie initially struggled to find a starting right-back but finally bagged their man when the Burnley defender arrived on loan in August. Solid in pretty much every game, Hendrie is particularly impressive in one-on-one situations with opposing wingers and gets up the park well to support the front players. He’s talked up the club and stated his desire to stay longer, which has endeared himself to the fans.
Dapo Kayode - 1
Signed in August on a year’s contract and has not played a single game due to injury.
Scott Boyd - 7
The experienced defender has never been the most dominant of defenders, but his reading of the game and positioning have enabled him to enjoy a sustained top flight career. His arrival on loan from Ross County was exactly what Kilmarnock needed in defence, especially with the mounting injury issues and young centre-backs left to cover the void. He’s been by far the most reliable defender and Killie could do a lot worse than to try and sign him permanently at the end of the campaign.
Will Boyle - 5
The no-nonsense defender had a decent spell at Rugby Park after arriving on loan from Huddersfield. He was badly exposed in the recent defeat against Hearts, but then he did have the burden of being the most experienced centre-back at the grand old age of 21 as Killie’s injury woes mounted. It would prove to be his last game as he returned to Huddersfield earlier this week. This wasn’t welcomed news for fans who bought Kilmarnock’s official 2017 calendar, as Boyle was one of three players featured in January.
Jonathan Burn - 6
Another young centre-back signed on loan who would perform pretty well over the piece. Burn was building a solid centre-back partnership with Scott Boyd before an injury set-back in October halted his run in the team. He played only once since and returned to Middlesbrough.
Martin Smith - 4
Signed on a one-year deal, the midfielder has shown glimpses of real ability, including the season opener against Motherwell when his introduction swung the match back in Kilmarnock’s favour as the hosts almost battled back from 2-0 down to almost earn a point. Otherwise, he’s been pretty quiet and doesn’t look too comfortable in Lee Clark’s system.
Charlee Adams - 4
Another loanee, this one from Birmingham, Adams is someone who battles hard in the centre of the park but has so far lacked the ability or awareness of how to impact the game going forward. He was initially expected to return this January, but seeing as he started against Partick Thistle in Kilmarnock’s last match, boss Lee Clark may look to try and keep him until the end of the season.
George Green - 2
Started two games and was subbed early in both. This was followed by a pair of substitute appearances, including the 1-1 draw with Rangers, before he was sent back to parent club Burnley less than two months after he arrived.
Jordan Jones - 6
The winger has excited and frustrated in equal measure. Capable of getting the crowd on their feet as an old school winger who is capable of beating his marker through either skill or pace, he can also drift out of games completely. A lack of defensive nous has also led to omission from the side on occasion. His deal expires at the end of this season. Even if he doesn’t improve his consistency, at 22 he’d still be worth another one-year deal.
Callum McFadzean - 3
Unlike many of the other signings, McFadzean arrived with a decent amount of experience having played for several lower league English sides and represented Scotland at under-21 level. And, unlike many of the other signings, he was given a long-term deal. Unfortunately, he’s been a disappointment so far. Most of that is to do with injury, but he’s not shown much in his five appearances to have the fans pining for his return.
Flo Bojaj - 3
Showed some flashes in the Betfred Cup and was brought in for a surprise start against Celtic in the 1-0 defeat at Rugby Park... and that was about it. Fans who saw him light up Development League games wanted him to get a run in the first-team, but it never materialised. He rejoined parent club Huddesfield earlier this week.
Souleymane Coulibaly - 8
By far the biggest success story from the summer window. Not only has Coulibaly been an important first-team player, including 11 goals across all competitions, he’s also young and tied down to a long-term deal, meaning Kilmarnock could potentially get a decent transfer fee out of this investment. As for what he’s done on the park, while he’s been a success, there’s a feeling more is still to come as Clark tries to figure out how best to utilise his talents. He’s often been shunted out to the wing as his small stature means he struggles to play as a lone striker, while his positioning and decision making are sometimes erratic. That being said, he’s a danger to score from anywhere inside 40 yards, as he’s shown on numerous spectacular occasions. Also, the fans love him.
Nathan Tyson - 5
With Kris Boyd’s legs on the wane, Tyson was brought in as a striker who could occupy the minds of defenders, open up space and bring others into play. For the most part he’s performed his role admirably, showing remarkable stamina for a 34-year-old. He is deducted a few points, however, for the fact he is yet to score. He is a striker, after all.
Jamie Cobain, Oliver Davies, Mark Waddington and Joshua Webb - 1
Davies and Waddington arrived on loan from Swansea City. They each played twice before swiftly having their loans cancelled. The other two were signed to permanent deals, albeit one-year contracts. They could have been granted “not applicable” ratings, as I’ve done for youngsters signed on other Premiership sides, but I don’t believe the intention was to sign them for the Development League. Besides, they’re both over 20 and it’s a fairly young squad.