Football Season Guide

Aberdeen

In


Funso Ojo (mid) Scunthorpe United; Ash Taylor (def) Northampton Town; Greg Leigh (def) NAC Breda - on loan; Ryan Hedges (mid) Barnsley; Curtis Main (att) Motherwell; Craig Bryson (mid) Derby County; James Wilson (att) Manchester United; Jon Gallagher (mid) Atlanta United - on loan

Out


Graeme Shinnie (k)(mid) Derby County; Mark Reynolds (sp)(def) Dundee United; Gary Mackay-Steven (r)(mid) New York City; Greg Halford (sp)(mid) free; Max Lowe (r)(def) Derby County

Reality caught up with Aberdeen last season as Rangers and Kilmarnock lept above them to drag them down to a fourth-placed finish, after a year of real inconsistency. Over the course of the summer, it looks as though the Dons have been weakened further with some major losses to their squad. Long-term captain Graeme Shinnie has departed for Derby County, whilst left-wing maestro Gary Mackay-Steven left for the MLS. Fortunately for Aberdeen, they managed to lure experienced Championship midfielder Craig Bryson to Pittodrie to fill in Shinnie's role. Bryson has proven a real success in England, and his experience and ball-winning skills should see him replace Shinnie successfully enough. It also looks as though McInnes has reacted to Mackay-Steven's departure with success too. Jon Gallagher has been brought in from Atlanta to play down the left, whilst Ryan Hedges will challenge Niall McGinn down the right flank. Both men look energetic to say the least, but big question marks still persist over their consistency levels. A return to the club for Ash Taylor to replace the outgoing Mark Reynolds looks shrewd on paper, but his injury in Europe is a blow. Once again, expect Mikey Devlin and Scott McKenna to dominate that centre-back area, with Shay Logan and either Andrew Considine or Greg Leigh down either flank, Aberdeen still look there to be got at in the centre of midfield, however. Too often last season they failed to boss games enough from the engine room and, judging by their early European displays, that continues to be the case heading into the new season.

Target


Regaining their "best of the rest" status will be on Derek McInnes' mind. 3rd place and another European spot would do nicely.

Celtic

In


Christopher Jullien (def) Toulouse; Luca Connell (mid) Bolton Wanderers; Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (def) Rapid Vienna; Hatem Abd Elhamed (def) Hapoel Be'er Sheva; Marian Shved (mid) Karpaty Lviv

Out


Scott Allan (sp)(mid) Hibernian; Cristian Gamboa (sp)(def) free; Marvin Compper (sp)(def) Duisburg; Dedryck Boyata (r)(def) Hertha Berlin; Mikael Lustig (r)(def) KAA Gent; Emilio Izaguirre (sp)(def) free; Youssouf Mulumbu (sp)(mid) free; Dorus de Vries (sp)(gk) retired; Filip Benkovic (sp)(def) Leicester City - end of loan; Jeremy Toljan (sp)(def) Borussia Dortmund - end of loan; Oliver Burke (sp)(mid) West Bromwich Albion - end of loan

Last season saw Celtic reach incredible heights in the face of adversity, as they managed their third consecutive treble despite Brendan Rodgers leaving surprisingly and being replaced by Neil Lennon. This summer has seen a massive revamp of the defence. Key big hitters such as Dedryck Boyata, Filip Benkovic and Mikael Lustig have departed. Lennon has made the defence his priority, but Christopher Jullian, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo are all unknown quantities at the moment. There remains work to be done there too. Celtic also welcome back Leigh Griffiths, who is already on fire with seven goals in competitive and pre-season action so far. He'll add some much needed firepower to help share the load with Odsonne Edouard, who was tasked with too much individually last summer. Celtic still appear weak in the right-back area, and are yet to have a settled defence in place. It's all change in that regard, and that's where supporters will still have big concerns heading into the new season. Lennon, however, has been getting the best out of Celtic's forward-thinking midfielders. Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor have looked a lot more of a goal threat this summer. That could be a surprising source of strength for the Hoops this year. It's fair to say that all of Celtic's new signings will jump straight into the team for the start of the domestic campaign outside of Connell. But, as it stands, their defence remains a worrying concern ahead of a new campaign.

Target


Another Premiership title to take them to nine-in-a-row is what fans crave. A cup to go with it would be a bonus, but another treble isn't the main focus this season.

Hamilton Academical

In


Markus Fjortoft (def) Southern United; Blair Alston (mid) St Johnstone; Brian Easton (def) St Johnstone; Kyle Gourlay (gk) Dundee; Ciaran McKenna (def) Falkirk; Owain fon Williams (gk) Inverness Caledonian Thistle; Johnny Hunt (def) Stevenage; Will Collar (mid) Brighton; Korede Adedoyin (mid) Everton; David Moyo (att) free

Out


Gary Woods (r)(gk) Oldham Athletic; Ziggy Gordon (r)(def) Central Coast Mariners; Matthew Kilgallon (r)(def) free; Alex Penny (sp)(def) free; Jacob Marsden (sp)(gk) free; Delphine Tshiembe (sp)(def) free; Dougie Imrie (r)(mid) retired; Lennard Sowah (sp)(def) free; Tom Taiwo (sp)(mid) retired; David McMillan (sp)(att) St Johnstone - end of loan

Brian Rice's arrival after the sacking of Martin Canning last January led to a revival in results and a change in footballing philosophy. Hamilton ended up avoiding the relegation playoffs, and the appointment proved a success. But, once again, it's been a summer of trying to shop in the bargain basement for Accies. So far they've yet to spend any money, with eight free transfers coming into the club as well as a loan deal. Rice is having to form a new centre-back partnership that could include both Ciaran McKenna and Markus Fjortoft this year. Both remain unknown quantities. In addition to that, however, the Accies boss has done well to bring in real Premiership experience. This was something that was lacking last season, but the additions of Blair Alston, Brian Easton and new number one Owain fon Williams could prove golden this season. Rice has done well to get rid of plenty of the deadwood that was already at New Douglas Park. Delphine Tshiembe, Alex Penny and Matthew Kilgallon failed to provide the steel Accies would've hoped, and have all gone. So it will be a totally new back-line this year for the Lanarkshire side. Their strengths and weaknesses continue to be unknown such is the revamped nature of their squad, but they scored the least amount of goals last season. Accies have scored seven goals in four League Cup group stage matches, but they could still do with more firepower to help George Oakley and Steven Davies.

Target


Avoiding relegation will always be Accies' primary goal. Making sure they avoid the playoffs again must be the target.

Hearts

In


Craig Halkett (def) Livingston; Jamie Walker (mid) Wigan Athletic; Conor Washington (att) Sheffield United; Aidy White (def) free, Steven Naismith (att) Norwich City

Out


Arnaud Djoum (r)(mid) Al-Raed; David Vanecek (sp)(att) Puskas AFC; Marcus Godinho (sp)(def) FSV Zwickau; Connor Sammon (sp)(att) Falkirk; Ryan Edwards (sp)(mid) Burton Albion; Aaron Hughes (sp)(def) retired; Malaury Martin (sp)(mid) free, Steven Naismith (k)(att) Norwich City - end of loan; Conor Shaughnessy (sp)(def) Leed United - end of loan; Demetri Mitchell (r)(mid) Manchester United - end of loan;

Hearts suffered yet another unspectacular season under the stewardship of Craig Levein last year, finishing sixth in a campaign of poor football. The Jambos have moved to make some big summer-signings this summer. Still, however, fan discontent is at an all-time high as Hearts struggled in making it out of their Betfred Cup group. The most exciting of the lot is Jamie Walker, who will immediately come in and add some quality to either left-wing or the number 10 position. It gives Levein some flexibility now, with a lack of a real natural number 10 evident last season. Another big addition is that of Craig Halkett, who wowed so many at Livingston last season and adds real quality in depth to the defensive ranks. Both Christophe Berra and John Souttar can now be rotated with, hopefully, no drop in quality at centre-back. But the football continues to be too route one for many Hearts supporters. The problem Hearts have is they don't have sufficient quality up top to play that game at the moment. They have re-signed Steven Naismith, this time permanently, and he'll now be hoping to take up the striking mantle that nobody else has. Ryan Edwards, Arnaud Djoum and Connor Sammon have also left, reducing the quality Hearts now have in going forward. They'll hope that Conor Washington can prove to be a source of inspiration up front, but he could need to battle with Uche Ikpeazu for the striking role, as Levein continues to persist with a one-striker formation. Hearts still look a soft touch going forward heading into the new campaign, but expect them to be as resolute as ever at the back with Halkett's signing.

Target


Craig Levein has plenty to prove to the Hearts support. Finishing above their Edinburgh rivals will be on many supporters' minds, but Hearts will want to challenge Aberdeen and Kilmarnock for third this season.

Hibernian

In


Christian Doidge (att) Forest Green Rovers; Joe Newell (att) Rotherham; Adam Jackson (def) Barnsley; Josh Vela (mid) Bolton Wanderers; Scott Allan (mid) Celtic; Tom James (def) Yeovil Town; Chris Maxwell (gk) Preston North End;

Out


Marvin Bartley (sp)(mid) Livingston; Mark Milligan (r)(mid) Southend United; Ross Laidlaw (sp)(gk) Ross County; Miquel Nelom (sp)(def) free; Gael Bigirimana (sp)(mid) free; Jonathan Spector (sp)(def) free, Marc McNulty (sp)(att) Reading - end of loan; Thomas Agyepong (sp)(mid) Manchester City - end of loan; Adam Bogdan (sp)(gk)(Liverpool); Ryan Gauld (sp)(mid) Sporting Lisbon - end of loan; Darnell Johnson (sp)(def) Liecester City - end of loan

Paul Heckingbottom did tremendously well to haul Hibernian up to a fifth-place finish and ahead of Edinburgh rivals Hearts last season. This came after Neil Lennon's early-season struggles had them as low as eighth before departing unceremoniously in January. Heckingbottom will look to cement his style heading into the new season. He's wasted no time in adding two impressive-looking striking options in Joe Newell and Christian Doidge respectively. The loss of Jamie MacLaren hasn't been too big a miss and, with Florian Kamberi still at the club, Hibs look fierce going forward this term. Marvin Bartley and Mark Milligan's departures were eye-catching, but Scott Allan's arrival from Celtic provides Hibs with real cutting edge in the midfield. A partnership between himself and new signing Josh Vela could be one to watch. Heckingbottom, however, is well stocked for options in the midfield heading into the new season too. One big weakness for Hibs continues to be their full-back areas. Too often last season they were caught out by cross-balls, with the likes of Lewis Stevenson and David Gray struggling for pace against the league's better wingers. Tom James has been brought in from Yeovil to rival Gray, whilst Sean Mackie will continue to provide cover for Stevenson. But Hibs once again look a real force going forward ahead of the new season. Their strikers are firing nicely ahead of the domestic action, whilst Allan has settled right into his old number 10 role. Even this early, it looks like a real exciting season for Heckingbottom's side.

Target


Hibs will want to claim a European spot next season. Rivaling Kilmarnock and Aberdeen for a third-placed finish is the next target for Heckingbottom's side this year.

Kilmarnock

In


Laurentiu Branescu (gk) Juventus; Mohamed El Makrini (mid) Roda JC; Alex Bruce (def) free)

Out


Jordan Jones (k)(mid) Rangers; Daniel Higgins (sp)(def) Cove Rangers; Scott Boyd (sp)(def) free; Kris Boyd (sp)(att) free, Daniel Bachmann (r)(gk) Watford - end of loan; Aaron Tshibola (r)(mid) Aston Villa - end of loan; Liam Millar (r)(att) Liverpool - end of loan

Kilmarnock yet again secured history last year as Steve Clarke guided them to European football for the first time in 18 years. He was then hired by Scotland, and has now been replaced by Italian legend Angelo Alessio. Unfortunately, Alessio is right up against it without a domestic ball having been kicked. After Killie's hard work and long wait to qualify for Europe, the new manager fell to Welsh minnows Connahs Quay Nomads in the first qualifying round. Supporters are furious with the Italian. That pressure, combined with failing to replace both Jordan Jones and Kris Boyd, is a major source of frustration. Boyd may have been in and out of the team, but Jones was essential to Killie's success. So far, just two signings have come in the Rugby Park door. Laurentiu Branescu has arrived on a season-long loan from Juventus. In addition to that, Mohamed El Makrini provides some competition for Alan Power and Gary Dicker in the centre of midfield. Eamonn Brophy will be the man to lead the line once again, but Killie don't have an out-and-out replacement for Jones at the moment. One big positive is how strong Killie's defence now looks heading into the new campaign. They've managed to fend off wolves for the likes of Stuart Findlay, Greg Taylor and Stephen O'Donnell. With Kirk Broadfoot also available, the backline of the Ayrshire side proves they'll be stubborn this year once again. But heading into the new campaign, Killie don't offer a lot going forward as it stands, and need to add more to the striking position as well as down the left flank. Fans are already baying for blood even this early on.

Target


With so much change at Kilmarnock, a similar season like last seems impossible. A top-six place and Angelo Alessio can be pleased with himself.

Livingston

In


Ibrahima Savane (def) Beziers; Nicky Devlin (def) Walsall; Marvin Bartley (mid) Hibernian; Robbie Crawford (gk) Ayr United; Aymen Souda (mid) D. Calarasi; Cece Pepe (def) free; Matija Sarkic (gk) Aston Villa

Out


Craig Halkett (k)(def) Hearts; Callum Crane (sp)(def) Edinburgh City; Nicky Cadden (sp)(mid) Greenock Morton; Matthew Knox (sp)(att) Brechin City; Declan Gallagher (r)(def) Motherwell; Liam Kelly (k)(gk) QPR; Dolly Menga (r)(att) Petro Luanda; Shaun Byrne (r)(mid) Dundee; Rafaelle de Vita (sp)(mid) Partick Thistle - on loan

It was a season of two halves for Gary Holt's Livingston last year. For the first half, they were an injection of freshness, and managed to get into the top six and potentially looking at the European places. But performance levels dipped and the rest of the division got used to Livi's tough-tackling approach, and they ended the campaign in ninth. For Livi's first year back, it was a terrific position to finish up in. But now Holt will have his eyes on bigger things this term, and will have to deal with some disappointing departures this summer. Livi have lost plenty of their steel, with Craig Halkett, Declan Gallagher, Shaun Byrne and number one Liam Kelly all leaving. Their number one striker, Dolly Menga, has also departed. Menga has worryingly yet to be replaced, with Ryan Hardie also leaving for Blackpool. It leaves Livi without an out-and-out striker outside of Lyndon Dykes. More is required this summer up top for Livi to reach the same heights of last season. Moves have been made to sort out the defensive departures. Cece Pepe and Nicky Devlin have been brought in to replace Gallagher and Halkett, but Livi have signed Marija Sarkic to battle reserve goalkeeper Ross Stewart for the number one spot. The highlight for Livi is the addition of Marvin Bartley to their midfield. With Keaghan Jacobs and Scott Pittman still at the club, this continues to be the strongest area of their squad. Expect a similar aggressive approach from Livi this season, but with a touch of added flair to their football.

Target


A top-six finish remains too ambitious for now. Livi's next step should be finishing in a solid lower-half position - preferably above ninth.

Motherwell

In


Jake Carroll (def) Cambridge United; Chris Long (att) Blackpool; Christy Manzinga (att) RSC Chatelet; Liam Polworth (mid) Inverness Caledonian Thistle; Casper Sloth (mid) Silkeborg IF; Christian Ilic (mid) TSV Hartberg; Declan Gallagher (def) Livingston; Jermaine Hylton (mid) Solihull Moors; Sherwin Seedorf (mid) Wolverhampton Wanderers; Devante Cole (att) Wigan Athletic - on loan

Out


Jake Hastie (r)(mid) Rangers; Carl McHugh (sp)(mid) ATK; Curtis Main (r)(att) Aberdeen; Alex Rodriguez Gorrin (sp)(mid) Oxford United; Danny Johnson (sp)(att) Dundee; Rohan Ferguson (sp)(gk) Linfield - on loan; Chris Cadden (r)(mid) Columbus Crew; George Newell (sp)(att) free; Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (sp)(def) free; Elliott Frear (sp)(mid) free; Christian Mbulu (sp)(def) free

It proved a tough campaign for Motherwell under Steve Robinson last season, as they failed to make the top six then ultimately failed to pip St Johnstone to seventh. But now it's all change regarding the squad. 10 players in and 11 players out marks the annual summer revamp at Fir Park. The notable departures were the likes of Curtis Main, Jake Hastie, Chris Cadden and Carl McHugh respectively. Outside of the quartet, the rest were deadwood that Robinson will have been pleased to get off the wage bill. Already, however, it looks as though Motherwell have recruited wisely. Their Betfred Cup performances have seen Christian Ilic, Jermaine Hylton and young youth product James Scott all shine. Despite the 10 that have come in, however, Motherwell's team may remain fairly recognisable this season. They've managed to hold onto some of their best young talent in David Turnbull and Allan Campbell respectively, whilst recognisable Premiership faces in Declan Gallagher and Liam Polworth will add depth to the defence and midfield too. Turnbull, of course, will be out for the first several months of the season. Many of the new Steelmen signings are yet to make an impact and, as of yet, only Robinson will know who he plans on starting regularly from them. But Ilic, Hylton and Polworth certainly look like regulars. Motherwell look a lot stronger going forward, and have created a plethora of chances in each of their Betfred Cup games so far. They've yet to show any real signs of weakness, but an out-and-out replacement at right-mid still hasn't been found.

Target


Missing out on the top six was a real frustration for Motherwell last season. They'll be looking to right those wrongs this term and secure a place in the top half.

Rangers

In


Filip Helander (def) Bologna; George Edmundson (def) Oldham Athletic; Joe Aribo (mid) Charlton Athletic; Steven Davis (mid) Southampton; Jake Hastie (mid) Motherwell; Jordan Jones (mid) Kilmarnock; Greg Stewart (mid) Birmingham City; Sheyi Ojo (mid) Liverpool - on loan

Out


Daniel Candeias (r)(mid) Genclerbirligi; Lee Hodson (sp)(def) Gillingham; Lee Wallace (sp)(def) QPR; Ross McCrorie (sp)(mid) Portsmouth - on loan; Ryan Hardie (sp)(att) Blackpool; Eduardo Herrera (sp)(att) Necaxa - on loan; Jak Alnwick (sp)(gk) Blackpool - on loan; Jordan Rossiter (sp)(mid) Fleetwood Town - on loan; Kyle Lafferty (sp)(att) free; Gareth McAuley (sp)(def) free

It was a promising debut season for Steven Gerrard at Rangers last year. Performances improved so much that they became the top scorers in Scotland, but defensive woes meant that they once again fell to Celtic in the race for the title. Gerrard has once again ordered a mass clearout of the Ibrox deadwood this summer, however. In terms of improving the back-line, Rangers have signed Swedish veteran Filip Helander and young Englishman George Edmundson, who they will hope will strike up partnerships with each other as well as Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic. Keeping a hold of 30-goal man Alfredo Morelos has been another important piece of business so far, and he will battle it out with Jermaine Defoe for the striking role at Ibrox. But it's down the flanks that Gerrard has seriously bulked up this summer. Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo have come in to add some directness, and they both look like regular starters. But strength in depth has been sorted, with the likes of Jordan Jones, Greg Stewart and Jake Hastie all looing like improving Rangers' quality on the bench. Their man weakness last term was the goals conceded. Rangers have made big moves to sort that out, and it remains to be seen whether it continues to be an issue this term. Their main strength is the pace they now have in wide areas, combined with the goalscoring prowess up front. Don't put it past Rangers outscoring everyone else once again, as they look much stronger this season than they did at this stage last year.

Target


Nothing less than the Premiership title will do for Gerrard and Rangers fans. Failure to do so with the money spent will bring serious questions upon the Rangers manager.

Ross County

In


Ross Laidlaw (gk) Hibernian; Joe Chalmers (def) Inverness Caledonian Thistle; Blair Spittal (mid) Partick Thistle; Jack Ruddy (gk) Wolverhampton Wanderers; Lee Erwin (att) Tractor Sazi; Nathan Baxter (gk) Chelsea - on loan; Simon Power (mid) Norwich City - on loan;

Out


Greg Morrison (sp)(att) Brora Rangers; Callum Semple (sp)(def) Queen of the South; Scott Fix (r)(gk) Partick Thistle; Russell Dingwall (sp)(mid) Elgin City; Jamie Lindsay (r)(mid) Rotherham; Ross Munro (sp)(gk) Raith Rovers - on loan; Declan McManus (sp)(att) Falkirk - on loan;

Ross County immediately bounced back into the Premiership with a storming Championship campaign under the unique management duo of Stuart Kettlewell and Steve Ferguson. Already this summer, big moves have been made to be competitive in the Premiership. County have looked to add Premiership experience to their ranks, and it's fair to say they've done so. Joe Chalmers, Blair Spittal, Ross Laidlaw and Lee Erwin all come into the mix having played regular Premiership football in the past. Their experience could be invaluable this year. 17-goal Billy McKay will be expected to lead the line once again, with Erwin providing a potentially fruitful partnership there. With the experienced Brian Graham and youthful Ross Stewart also available up top, County have a good mix there heading into the new season. The departure of Jamie Lindsay is perhaps the biggest blow of the summer, but County are looking to Norwich youngster Simon Power to take up his role. Ian Vigurs, Harry Paton and Ross Draper will all be used in the midfield too. County, already, look well stacked in that area as it stands. Spittal provides a freshness to their troublesome left-wing spot. With Davis Keillor-Dunn in reserve and Michael Gardyne down the right, County aren't bereft of pace down the wide areas. They don't look to have a notable weakness in their squad at the moment. However, the inexperience of Laidlaw is worth keeping an eye on if he continues as County's number one.

Target


Consolidating their place in the Premiership must be the main goal this season for County.

St Johnstone

In


Wallace Duffy (def) Celtic; Elliot Parish (gk) Dundee; Madis Vihmann (def) Flora - on loan

Out


Tony Watt (r)(att) CSKA Sofia; Aaron Comrie (sp)(mid) Dunfermline Athletic; Blair Alston (sp)(mid) Hamilton Academical; Brian Easton (sp)(def) Hamilton Academical; Joe Shaughnessy (r)(def) free; Callum Hendry (sp)(att) free; Mark Hurst (sp)(gk) free; Sean Goss (sp)(mid) QPR - end of loan; Niall Keown (sp)(def) free

Another consistently solid performance from Tommy Wright's St Johnstone had them finish just outside the bottom six, but with more points than sixth-placed Hearts. Once again there was nothing spectacular about Saints, but they had enough experience to remain competitive. Wright has done tremendously well to hang onto many of those experienced campaigners this summer too. The likes of Liam Craig, Murray Davidson and Ricky Foster will continue to provide that core of experience in the side. But there have been some worrying departures. Tony Watt left for CSKA Sofia, and Wright has yet to replace him. With Callum Hendry being released over the summer too, finding some firepower to boost their top-six chances has been a real problem. Despite having the pace of Matthew Kennedy and Drey Wright on board for another season, Saints need to focus on finding a clinical striker to make the most of their service. Wallace Duffy and Madis Vihmann have been added to the back-line to accommodate the departures of Brian Easton and Joe Shaughnessy repsectively. Both, however, are stabs in the dark as Wallace has yet to play one senior game of football whilst Vihmann is an unknown quantity. Recruitment, overall, has been disappointing this summer from Saints. But they continue to have kept their star-men from last season, and that would suggest another season of consistently competitive performances from Saints once more. A top-six place looks a little out of their each, however, unless more is added going forward.

Target


The top six will always be Tommy Wright's target after tasting it on several occasions in the past. But it looks like being a big ask this year. A solid bottom-half finish wouldn't be a disaster.

St Mirren

In


Oan Djorkaeff (mid) FC Nantes; Tony Andreu (mid) Coventry City; Dean Lyness (gk) Raith Rovers; Ilkay Durmus (mid) Wacker Innsbruck; Sean McLoughlin (def) Hull City - on loan, Sam Foley (mid) free

Out


Mateo Muzek (sp)(def) Sheriff; Adam Eckersley (sp)(def) Airdrieonians; Anton Ferdinand (sp)(def) free; Simeon Jackson (r)(att) free; Laurentiu Corbu (sp)(def) Dinamo Bucaresti, Mihai Popescu (r)(def) Dinamo Bucaresti; Anderes Dreyer (r)(mid) Brighton - end of loan; Brad Lyons (r)(mid) Blackburn Rovers - end of loan; Danny Rogers (sp)(gk) Aberdeen - end of loan; Jordan Holmes (sp)(gk) Bournemouth - end of loan; Kyle McAllister (r)(mid) Derby County - end of loan

A hugely disappointing season has ultimately seen St Mirren come good as they managed to stay up under Oran Kearney via the playoffs. However, after being far too fragile at the back, that doesn't look like changing this season after Kearney's departure and Jim Goodwin's arrival. St Mirren haven't made enough strides to replace Mihai Popescu or Mateo Muzek respectively. Anton Ferdinand has also left the club, and that's left Saints hugely short at the back heading into the new campaign. The current centre-back partnership of Jack Baird and Paul McGinn hasn't impressed in pre-season. Goodwin's main arrivals so far have been Tony Andreu, who should play just in behind the strikers this season as a number 10. Combine that with the potential of Oan Djorkaeff, and it does look as though there's been an injection of freshness to the midfield. Unfortunately, goals continue to be hard to come by, with more needing done to sort out Saints' lack of goals too. They've scored just three goals in four League Cup matches against lower-side opposition. They've also won just one of them after 90 minutes. Uncertainty surrounds the club, and Goodwin desperately needs more signings at the back and in the final third. At the moment, Saints look seriously lacking up front. They can't afford another campaign with the same lack of goals as Kearney's St Mirren team provided. That must be the main concern heading into the new campaign, with no solution in sight.

Target


Avoiding relegation without needing the playoffs must be the target this season. Anything above looks hugely ambitious at this stage.