The regular starter who should be replaced in the summer

By Cameron Christie (@CammyChristie97)

Aberdeen – Ash Taylor

Taylor can play as a very competent, aerial dominant centre half, there is always a mistake in the big man. Signed initially as a back-up centre half in 2014, he was thrown in the first team earlier than many expected due to an injury to fan favourite Russell Anderson. He took a few months to adjust to life in Scotland, games at home to Dundee United and away to Hamilton Accies stand out. After them, he began to show signs of improvement and consistency. Despite this and his fairly decent recent form, Taylor always has a mistake in his game. The game against Celtic is the most recent example where he was miles off Dedryk Boyata as he scored what turned out to be the winner. Whilst Ash Taylor isn’t a bad player, Aberdeen could certainly do better.

Celtic – Mikael Lustig

Whilst Lustig is a solid, dependable full-back, he is not good enough for Celtic to take themselves to the next level. Lustig was one of Celtic’s weakest players in the Champions League group stages this season. Lustig has also provided cover at centre half this season due to fitness concerns for Kolo Toure and Jozo Simunovic, Brendan Rodgers not trusting Boyata at that stage of the season, and Efe Ambrose’s sheer incompetency, the Swede is fairly versatile. While I’m not saying Celtic should be getting rid of Lustig, far from it, he is now 30 and is susceptible to an injury, Celtic should look at bringing in a younger and better right back for next season.

Dundee – Kevin Holt

Holt has never really been good enough for Dundee. Brought in at the start of 2015/16 season following a good campaign with Queen of the South who made the play-offs that year, he has really struggled to make the step up. Whilst he has notched the odd goal, he has made a number of mistakes, the cup game at Ibrox was littered with from about 8 seconds in. A lack of competition doesn’t help either. He had none at all last year and this year, his only competition is Danny Williams who is not a natural left back. Dundee need a number of improvements in the summer, with the exception of signing some wingers, a left back should be their priority.

Hamilton Accies – Alex D’Acol

Again, whilst not been a disastrous player for Hamilton, the Brazilian really isn’t good enough for this level. Signed from AEK Athens at the beginning of last season, he failed to score the whole of the campaign. This season he does have 7 goals in 26 games which isn’t bad but in a struggling side, they need to find someone who can put the ball in the back of the net on a more regular basis. Since D’Acol’s injury a few weeks ago, the partnership of Brophy and Bingham has looked promising but since Mikael Antoine Currier left the club, Accies have struggled for a reliable front man.

Hearts – Jack Hamilton

This is one I kind of feel bad about for putting on this list as Hamilton is still a young promising goalkeeper, but not without his flaws. Brought into the starting XI late last season as a replacement for Neil Alexander, Hamilton is in a similar mould to his mentor. He’s not the biggest keeper, meaning he isn’t so great in the air as has been shown in the last few weeks against Rangers and Motherwell. A loan spell elsewhere with Hearts bringing in an experienced goalkeeper on a short term basis could do both parties good.

Inverness CT – Owain Fon Williams

Fon Williams is the worst goalkeeper in the league, he’s so inconsistent, and for a goalkeeper that is certainly not what you want. One week he pulls of sublime save after sublime save, then he goes and fumbles one into his net the next. The most ridiculous thing is after an error prone year last season, Caley offered him a 3 year deal. Madness! He’s made countless errors for the Caley Jags and it’s a position they really should look to improve in the summer.

Kilmarnock – Freddy Woodman

One of 45 players signed during Lee Clark’s 44 games in charge of Kilmarnock, the on loan Newcastle keepers recent inclusion in the starting XI seems bizarre to everyone. Clark has left the club for Bury so it remains to be seen if Lee McCulloch will stick by the Welshman or if he will bring Jamie MacDonald back into the side. This is the one inclusion on this list that can be rectified with replacing the player with someone already at the club.

Motherwell – Craig Samson

Onto the second worst goalkeeper in the division now. Samson has somehow carved out a decent career for himself despite not being very good. The former Kilmarnock and St Mirren keeper played second fiddle to on-loan Middlesbrough youngster Connor Ripley last season and for whatever reason, Samson managed to get himself promoted to the number 1 slot at Fir Park. Well did sign Dean Brill, ex Caley Thistle keeper, but McGhee elected to go with Samson this season. I’m not claiming the Brill is an amazing keeper but he’s certainly better than Samson and that’s why he takes his place on this list.

Partick Thistle – Ade Azeez

Azeez is another one in the long line of poor strikers at Partick Thistle. He’s this year’s replacement of Mathias Pogba. He’s a big physical striker with very limited ability and doesn’t score goals. I think we are now at the point where Kris Doolan is no longer the alternative. Whilst Doolan is a sold 10/11/12 goals a season forward, Thistle need more if they are to improve and finally break into the top 6.

Rangers – Andy Halliday

Ah, the man who has supported Rangers since he was a boy. This made him a fan favourite last season, he cemented that with a fantastic performance up against Scott Brown in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final. This season, along with Rangers other stars from last year (Waghorn and Tavernier) have struggled on their step up to the top flight. Halliday has been a mainstay in the team without justification. He makes very little positive impact for Rangers, with only one goal from open play and no assists. He’s also been recently bullied around by opposition midfield which isn’t what you want from your main man in midfield. There are many areas Rangers need to address in the summer but sticking by Andy Halliday because of feelings towards the club would be the wrong move

Ross County – Jay McEvely

Mostly everyone thought that this was a good bit of buisness from the staggies but how wrong could they be? McEvely has been a disaster for County this season making many costly mistakes. Thanks to Aberdeen’s 7-2 thrashing of Motherwell and Inverness generally being terrible, Ross County no longer have the worst defence in the league at the time of writing but that is no achievement for the former Scotland international. Supposed to be able to play both centre half and left back. Looks way out his depth in the middle unless it’s a part of a back three and is far too slow to play against quick and tricky wingers. If Ross County want a versatile defender at the club, McEvely is not that guy.

St Johnstone – Liam Craig

This was by far the hardest one to come up with. Like Lustig, I don’t think St J should bin Craig but he should be reduced to a squad player instead of a regular starter. Craig is a dependable and versatile midfielder, playing out wide or through the middle. Lacks pace to play out-wide and isn’t creative enough for St Johnstone through the middle. Barring a dreadful year at Hibs, he has been a fairly solid player in the top flight but now in his 30’s, if St Johnstone want to remain a guaranteed top 6 side, they have to bring someone else.


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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