10 Best SPFL signings this season

By Cameron Christie

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10. Clint Hill – Initially laughed at by myself and many others, Clint Hill is the only one of the “old guard” Mark Warburton brought into the squad at Rangers who has actually added to the team positively. The 38 year old may lack the speed and fitness required to compete at this level every week now but when he is playing in the Rangers back line, they are much stronger as a result. Hill has provided a short term solution to Rangers centre half problems but will need to look for a younger set of legs in the summer.

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9. Brad McKay – Another surprise entry on this list is former Hearts and St Johnstone centre half Brad McKay. The Perth side released him from his contract in August and Inverness took the gamble on a man who many thought was not cut out for playing at the top level in Scotland. Inverness have converted McKay from a very basic, and a bit of a bomb scare of a centre half to a flying wing back. His defensive ability still leaves much to be desired but McKay has accumulated a number of assists this season and even chipped in with a goal for the Caley Jags. With Raven being out of favour, McKay has been a good signing in amongst a lot of mediocre ones from Richie Foran this year.

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8. Ricky Foster – This pains me to admit it but Foster has been a hit for the Saints. His move from Ross County was a strange one as he was a regular starter for the Staggies. County’s loss was the Perth sides gain as he has filled the void left by now retired Saints cup winning captain Dave McKay. Again, like Brad McKay, not the greatest of defensive players but Foster has added pace and width to a St Johnstone side severely lacking it. He provides an attacking outlet for St J creating a goal and scoring a screamer up at Inverness.

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7. Adam Barton -Seeing the name Barton on a list of best signings seems strange, but unlike his namesake, Adam Barton has been great this season putting in performances you’d have expected Joey to make. Versatile player who can play in either central of defence or the middle of midfield he’s been a key player for Thistle this season in the absence of Stuart Bannigan. Signed on a big 3 year contract from Portsmouth on deadline day he’s been a solid addition to the Jags team and will be in it for a few years to come.

6- Moussa Dembele – Now hear me out on this, this seems low for a man who’s been valued at around £30m, which he isn’t worth, but there are reasons for it. Undoubtedly a great addition to Celtic but his signing wasn’t a necessity. Celtic already have a 30 goal a season striker in Leigh Griffiths, but when he got injured Dembele stepped up to the plate by scoring a hat-trick against Rangers. A flurry of goals followed including 2 against Manchester City and a late semi final winner against Rangers. His form took a dip between November and mid December, latterly being replaced by Leigh Griffiths but a few goals before the New Year, including yet another one against Rangers wasn’t quite enough to make it into the top 5. Take nothing away from Dembele who has been a fantastic addition, the following 5 players have been much bigger for their sides.

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5- Marcus Haber – This is a bit of cheating as he wasn’t signed until October but Haber has added a whole new dimension to the Dundee attack. Initially seen as a panic buy, the former St Johnstone striker and Canadian International hasn’t quite filled the void of Kane Hemmings but he has been the closest to it, especially compared to Yordi Teijsee. Doesn’t have the goals of Hemmings but his hold up and link up play has attributed in Dundee scoring a lot more goals since he came to the club. Directly contributing to 5 goals in 11 games for a player initially lacking match fitness isn’t bad going and Dundee will hope he continues in that vain for the rest of the campaign.

4 – Souleymane Coulibaly – The former Spurs trainee has already become a cult hero with the Killie fans and possibly a bit of a cult hero in Scottish football in general. A walking highlight reel Coulibaly has already scored 11 goals in 25 games at Kilmarnock, 4 or 5 being goal of the season contenders, the man is a joy to watch especially with his acrobatic celebration. One of the few genuinely good Kilmarnock signings of the summer makes him stand out in the crowd of mostly dross. Already subject to bids elsewhere, Coulibaly is signed on at Killie till 2019 meaning it will take a sizeable fee to allow the Ivorian star to leave Rugby Park

3- Scott Sinclair – What a revelation he has been. Signed for £3 million from Aston Villa in the summer, he was a man who needed to get his career back on track following a spell of spiralling downwards into obscurity following his move to Manchester City. Sinclair made an instant impact, scoring the winner on his debut against Hearts, he followed that up with scoring in the following 5 league games. He’s added an attacking threat that just wasn’t there at Celtic last season. Despite missing the cup final and another few games through injury, he’s still second top goal scorer in the league this season with the last being the winner against Rangers on Hogmanay.

2- Joe Lewis- When Danny Ward was called back to Liverpool in January of last year, Aberdeen has a goalkeeping crisis. Scott Brown or Adam Collin was not the answer as they both departed in the summer meaning Aberdeen had to find two new keepers. They certainly pulled one out the bag signing former Cardiff and Fulham keeper Joe Lewis. The Englishman has been outstanding for the Dons who have the best defence in the league behind Celtic. A calm and ensuring goalkeeper who is good with his feet and his hands. At 6″6, the man is a giant, claiming everything that comes in the box, something Aberdeen fans haven’t seen in years other than with Danny Ward. Joe Lewis is the best playing signing of the season but the number 1 award goes to….

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1- Brendan Rodgers – The Brodge is undoubtedly the best signing of the summer. He has completely transformed Celtic and brought the fear factor back to Parkhead as the champions are unbeaten in the league so far and have already won the League Cup. The players look fitter and mentally stronger than they have the last few years. His signings have been a bit hit and miss but it’s what he’s done with the players he has that is the most impressive thing. Brown has significantly improved on last season, Forrest has kicked on but the main success story is Stuart Armstrong who is playing like a completely new player this season. Rodgers also got Celtic to the Champions League Group Stages which was a huge goal for him this season and it’s just one of the reasons he goes down as the best signing of the summer.

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Author: pintsandpens

Pints and Penalties is a weekly Scottish Football Podcast where we discuss all the goings on within the Scottish game. If going to the pub and having a good 'blether' about the 'fitba' with your mates is your thing then this podcast is the one for you.

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